Links & Contents I Liked 241

Hi all,

Despite the lack of sun in Sweden, this post still counts as a ‘summer post’… 

Development news: The war in South Sudan; failing to learn from Biafra in Nigeria; Aga Khan’s 60 year of slow development; Rwanda really wants to ban second-hand clothing; a closer look at peacekeeping cuts in DRC; Liberia after Ebola; Cash transfers in Kenya; Madonna in Malawi; Beyonce and Burundi, Ashton Kutcher and US gender quality-the special celebrity section! World Bank & ILO whitewash in Uzbekistan; Philip Morris lobbies in India to undermine global governance; coming to a Bollywood theatre near you: Toilet: A Love Story.
Disaster of the week: Brookings Think Tanker runs aground off Crimea… 

Our digital lives: Use facebook groups! Check out an archive of 700 Oxfam campaign posters! Start a revolution!

Women of color and gendered harassment in science; are women paying a higher price for UN careers? Your advisor’s gender can determine academic success; refugees & voting; Google News & filter bubbles

Academia: Lessons from being a PI; social media, open access & book chapters.


New from aidnography

Can we transform the repetition of virtual development debates into something bigger? And do we have to?

So my first question from the headline remains frustratingly unanswered: Can we transform the repetition of virtual development debates into something bigger? I have yet to find evidence.
Be generous, be the anti-troll you want to see online and be gentle with those who reach out and make an effort to better understand the complexities of development.
I am grateful for all the critical discussions and engagements I can enjoy through our digital community and the latest link review I am finishing now is one regular proof that a lot of good, albeit not always new, stuff is happening all around us!
Development news
The war in Equatoria

When South Sudan’s civil war broke out in 2013, much of Equatoria – the country’s breadbasket ­– managed to stay out of the conflict. But that respite was short lived. As the government army began purging the region of perceived opponents last year, it triggered the world’s fastest-growing refugee crisis, with the United Nations warning of a potential genocide.
Jason Patinkin and Simona Foltyn for IRIN with a sad, great piece of contemporary multi-media conflict reporting from South Sudan and Uganda.

Fifty years later, Nigeria has failed to learn from its horrific civil war

Nigerian authorities have mastered the habit of ignoring the cries of marginalized groups or subtly fueling the maltreatment of their members, giving rise to public sympathy for demagogues who ultimately resort to violence to gain optimum attention for their grievances.
Eromo Egbejule for the Washington Post with a reminder of how the past matters for Nigeria's future and beyond.

Aga Khan 60th Anniversary Jubilee Puts Spotlight on Long-View for Development
Longer-term programming enables community-driven development to take place in practice, not simply in theory.
“What I find appealing about the Aga Khan Foundation is we are working farther upstream and we are working towards root causes of poverty and social tension and try to do something about it before something happens – whether it is the provision of health services or education,” Kocher said. “Many of these problems are not simple issues and are not able to be fixed in the course of a short-term grant cycle.”
The work may be secular, but the religious roots of AKDN provide a kind of organizational stability that enables AKDN to invest using time horizons that are rare in international development.
Tom Murphy for Dawns Digest with a portrait of one of the biggest 'anti-philanthrocapitalists' perhaps who has been 'doing development differently' for 60 years?

Rwanda will proceed with the ban on used clothes despite threats by the United States
Rwanda’s President Paul Kagame has insisted that Rwanda will proceed with its plan to phase-out importation of second-hand clothes despite threats from the U.S. that the move could lead to a review of his country’s eligibility for duty-free access to the American market. President Kagame recently made the remarks while addressing a news conference moments after submitting his nomination papers to the National Electoral Commission (NEC).
Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, Tanzania and South Sudan decided to fully ban imported second-hand clothes and shoes by 2019, arguing it would help member countries boost domestic clothes manufacturing.
Kylie Kiunguyu for This is Africa with an update on the used closing ban some African countries are considering.

The Dynamics of Peacekeeping Budget Cuts: The Case of MONUSCO

The DRC’s precarious political and security situation is not solely or even primarily due to UN failures, but it does not reflect well on MONUSCO or its predecessor mission, MONUC, which have cost UN member states almost $18 billion since 1999.
The challenge in financing negotiations is to find a balance between national political priorities and the operational imperatives in peacekeeping missions, given the mandates set by the Security Council and the strategic realities facing the missions. For MONUSCO, at least, this year’s negotiations tipped perilously toward cost-cutting as an end in itself, rather than reflecting a clear vision for a more effective mission, or a more peaceful DRC.
Katharina P. Coleman for the IPI Global Observatory with a detailed assessment of budget cuts for peacekeeping in DRC.

Liberia after Ebola: 'The human suffering changed me'

Now in Philadelphia, Sumo is still grappling with the psychological impact of the time she spent working with the burial team. Zio says that he'll often find her alone on the couch, curled up into a ball and crying. But Sumo isn't an American citizen, and he hasn't been able to find affordable insurance for her to see a specialist.
She says that her worst moments come when she thinks about the orphaned children she saw, crying alone in the homes where their parents lay dead, with neighbours too afraid to take them in or bring them food.
At one point, while interviewing Foday Gallah, he made a comment that resonated deeply with my own experience. "It felt like my identity couldn't be anything other than a survivor. I was just a survivor," he said. In some ways the attention the illness brought me was more overwhelming than the disease itself, something I try to remember every time I've interviewed someone since then.
Ashoka Mukpo for Al-Jazeera with plenty of local and personal reflections on life as a Ebola survivor in Liberia.

A heartwarming story in Kenya that will challenge your ideas on aid with a new experiment that hands out out cold hard cash – and what the villagers do with it, is up to them.
Madonna in Malawi to open children's hospital ward
Four of Madonna's six children have been adopted from Malawi. The hospital ward is named after her 11-year-old adopted daughter, Mercy James.
She described her legal battles to adopt Mercy, comparing them to her fortitude in pushing for the hospital to be built.
"I fought for Mercy and I won. So I am here to say, 'never give up on your dream.' Love conquers. If you do things with love in your heart, you will conquer."
Deutsche Welle on Madonna's latest trip to Malawi that, strangely enough, seems to be as much about her struggles and her children as it is about helping Malawi...

Beyoncé Has A Plan To Help Burundi, But Key Details Are Fuzzy

And though Beyonce herself has not indicated that she's visited Burundi, her representatives have. Ivy McGregor, director of philanthropy and corporate relations at Parkwood, was part of a Parkwood team that traveled to Burundi in April to plan for the new initiative.
"We traveled throughout the provinces to uncover the need. We asked one question: How can we help?" McGregor told a crowd at the Global Citizen Festival in Hamburg, Germany on Thursday, in a video posted on YouTube. "And there was always one resounding answer — safe, clean water."
Courtney Columbus for NPR Goats & Soda. This is a really interesting article for several reasons. First, it raises the question why Beyonce couldn't just be a 'normal' celebrity ambassador and let UNICEF worry about funding, implementation etc. Why does her charity need to get involved in this project? Second, it already raises questions about transparency and accountability-these issues tend to get worse, not better once T-Shirts are sold, money changes institutions and projects are implemented. Third, it raises interesting questions about Parkwood Entertainment, the PR firm behind Beyonce's activities; they actually went to Burundi for a 'needs assessment' and I would be very curious to read that report and learn more about how they select projects for celebrity clients and engage with organizations like UNICEF...

Ashton Kutcher plans to host an open dialogue on gender equality

Kutcher hosted the conversation on Facebook on Monday, in which he immediately pointed to the fact that many people on the internet berated him for the questions he originally posted.
Megan Rose Dickey for Tech Crunch. Since it is only fair to include a male celebrity in the review here's Ashton for you-but perhaps there is hope as he is already acknowledging some of the challenges.

World Bank and ILO Whitewash One of the World’s Most Brutal Regimes

On this flawed basis, the report’s conclusion is what the World Bank wanted to hear: the districts receiving funds for World Bank projects are, according to ILO, not affected by forced labor. The remainder of the country remains at risk of forced labor, yet not a single specific case could be identified.
The ILO monitoring report gives succor to one of the most oppressive regimes in the globe today, and buttresses the façade essential to continued labor abuses and corruption in Uzbekistan’s cotton industry, which occurs sadly with international complicity.
Kristian Lasslett for The Diplomat with a reminder that large international organizations often struggle to work with autocratic regimes-especially when the nature of their partnership is deemed technical and non-political...

Inside Philip Morris’ campaign to subvert the global anti-smoking treaty

The anonymity and distance helped Philip Morris approach delegates covertly. On the second day of the conference, a white Toyota van pulled away from the front of the Hyatt Regency hotel – where Philip Morris had its operations room – and headed for the FCTC treaty venue.
The Delhi conference ended as it began, with treaty Secretariat officials not knowing where Philip Morris had been or what it had done. The company had flown in a team of executives, used a squad of identical vans to ferry officials in New Delhi, and then left town without a trace.
Aditya Kalra, Paritosh Bansal, Duff Wilson and Tom Lasseter for Reuters. Make no mistake: Multi-national companies will always undermine global governance efforts and will try everything in their power to continue with their business models no matter how detrimental to public health they are. Cudos to Reuters for keeping an investigative eye on developments in the global South!

"Toilet: A Love Story": Bollywood spotlights India's sanitation crisis in new film

Their fight for a toilet inside their home - which is considered unclean according to social norms - quickly becomes a struggle for social change as they campaign for functioning toilets for the local community.
The film's promoters said the movie in particular spotlights women's safety, basic dignity and privacy.
"The film is the true story of millions of women in rural India who ... walk a few kilometres away from their homes just to be able to relieve themselves," said the statement.
"At break of dawn or fall of dusk, these women face the risk of rape and/or kidnapping – an inconceivable threat for most of us when routinely going to the toilet," it added.
Nita Bhalla for Thomson Reuters Foundation on how Bollywood is working on large-scale social norm change.

Millions Of Policy Proposals Spill Into Sea As Brookings Institution Think Tanker Runs Aground Off Crimea Coast

“We’re doing our very best to limit the exposure of marine habitats to the analyses of sub-Saharan energy infrastructure, universal basic income, and automation in the labor market, but it could be months before we know the full extent of the damage.”
The Onion :)

Our digital lives
Why Aren’t You Using Facebook Groups for Greater Engagement?

When I asked the 40+ Philippine farmers how many of them were using Facebook Groups to improve their farming techniques, every hand went up. I asked them how they used the group, and all the normal uses came up: reading others’ posts, sharing pictures of their own progress, and following links to outside sources.
When I asked about impact, all the farmers reported learning something useful on a regular basis from their farming group, and many of them were actively finding new business partners through Facebook Groups as well.
Wayan Vota for ICT Works on facebook groups and agriculture in the Philippines.
700 posters from the archive. Gold for students of charity history/changing use of images (both good and bad).
Duncan Green for FP2P. The Bodleian library was offline at the time of finalizing my review and I will probably repost the link next week!

The Fall of Working-Class New York

Electoral participation is a requirement for any serious socialist project. The Left, however, faces a set of strategic dilemmas that do not apply to parties and movements aligned with the current system. In the midst of the global crisis of the 1970s, Ralph Miliband identified the dual mandate of socialist movements in bourgeois democracies: they must be both “parties of government” and “parties of struggle.”
a compelling account of the rise of right-wing politics in the US, one that concentrates its fire on the leading culprits: business elites and their political functionaries. Together, they remind us that power under capitalism is ultimately located outside the electoral arena, and must be defeated at its source.
Chris Maisano for Jacobin with a great essay that reminds us that social change is rarely successful as a 'bottom-up' project within the straigh-jacket of existing institutions and power relations...

Hot off the digital press

Double jeopardy in astronomy and planetary science: Women of color face greater risks of gendered and racial harassment

In this sample, in nearly every significant finding, women of color experienced the highest rates of negative workplace experiences, including harassment and assault. Further, women of color reported feeling unsafe in the workplace as a result of their gender or sex 40% of the time, and as a result of their race 28% of the time. Finally, 18% of women of color, and 12% of white women, skipped professional events because they did not feel safe attending, identifying a significant loss of career opportunities due to a hostile climate. Our results suggest that certain community members may be at additional risk of hostile workplace experiences due to their gender, race, or both.
Kathryn B. H. Clancy, Katharine M. N. Lee, Erica M. Rodgers and Christina Richey with an important open-access article in the Journal of Geophysical Research.

Are women paying a higher price for a UN career?

The survey shows that women and men are equally well prepared when entering the UN, but there was a drastic discrepancy in career progression among men and women. In fact, it was found that women who left the UN progressed further in their career paths than those who stayed.
Henrik Ryden for Impactpool. Do read this study with a couple of pinches of salt: The results are based on 172 respondents which, unlike the author claims, is not 'a large data set with high statistical significance'. I am also not entirely sure whether the gender aspect is really the most important finding, or whether highlighting this finding is driven by Impactpools work on gender diversity. So do be careful with too many generalizations from the study!

An Advisor Like Me? Advisor Gender and Post-Graduate Careers in Science

We investigate whether having an advisor of the same gender is correlated with the productivity of PhD science students and their propensity to stay in academic science.
Our analysis is based on an original dataset covering nearly 20,000 PhD graduates and their advisors from U.S. chemistry departments. We find that students with an advisor of the same gender tend to be more productive during the PhD and more likely to become
professors themselves. We suggest that the under-representation of women in science and engineering faculty positions may perpetuate itself through the lower availability of same-gender advisors for female students.
Patrick Gaule and Mario Piacentini for the IZA Institute of Labor Economics with a new working paper on gender and academic careers.

Burst of the Filter Bubble?: Effects of personalization on the diversity of Google News
In offering personalized content geared toward users’ individual interests, recommender systems are assumed to reduce news diversity and thus lead to partial information blindness (i.e., filter bubbles). We conducted two exploratory studies to test the effect of both implicit and explicit personalization on the content and source diversity of Google News. Except for small effects of implicit personalization on content diversity, we found no support for the filter-bubble hypothesis. We did, however, find a general bias in that Google News over-represents certain news outlets and under-represents other, highly frequented, news outlets. The results add to a growing body of evidence, which suggests that concerns about algorithmic filter bubbles in the context of online news might be exaggerated.
Mario Haim, Andreas Graefe and Hans-Bernd Brosius with a new article from Digital Journalism.


Lessons learned from being a Principal Investigator and Co-Investigator

What does it mean to be a project lead – a principal or co-investigator?
What must you know before you take on such a role?
What problems or issues should you anticipate in applying for and running or co-running a project – problems that are not akin to anything you would have experienced in doing smaller or independent work (e.g., your PhD)?
How do you successfully navigate these problems?
How does project leadership abroad differ from project leadership done in one’s own home country/region?
Sara Perry with a great post on academic project management and how to navigate the university (not just if you are the PI of a large research project...). Excellent read!

Using social media and open access can radically improve the academic visibility of chapters in edited books

None of this is to deny that if you have strong primary research to report it is better to push it out in journals wherever feasible. But book chapters can have valuable exploratory, discursive, synoptic and review roles. And they can carry new findings too, especially in start-up fields and with good editors and editing. The old problems from the early digital phase, when for a while chapter texts became literally unfindable, and authors passively left things to publishers to promote their work, no longer apply with much of their previous force. However conservative your editors and publishers may be, you can get your chapter noticed, read and cited in the communities that matter to you.
Patrick Dunleavy for Writing for Research. As reasonable as his strategies are, I am not entirely convinced that book chapters are the medium of the academic future. They don't get read and cited-and if they are available open access they may get read a bit more often and still will not be cited; in most disciplines they will be 'write only' contributions to academia. But Dunleavy has a point that you always should try to make your publications as openly available as possible to maximize whatever little impact they may have...


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