Links & Contents I Liked 244

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Surrounded by moving boxes comes the latest link review!

Development news: Did Angelina Jolie really do harm on her film set? What are the Clooneys up to in Lebanon? Haiti's sewage problem; climate change and suicide in India; crimes against women in India; electoral information campaigns don’t work
anywhere; evidence-based policy-making in the tropics; sued over a critical facebook post; board trouble at Ushahidi? Corporate BS: Sending employees on voluntourism trips; aid workers as authors. 
Our digital lives: Transparency & accountability at G4S; the ‘mind trap’ of social entrepreneurism: class and breastfeeding; the price of unpaid internships.

New open access anthropological textbook


Development news

Angelina Jolie Refutes Vanity Fair’s Portrayal Of Controversial Auditions

Jolie said in a statement Saturday that the audition scene had been taken out of context. According to the actress, there were parents, guardians and non-governmental organization partners, as well as medical doctors, present throughout the entire filmmaking process, including auditions. She emphasized that no one was hurt by participating in the recreation of the film’s scenes.
Carla Herreria for Huffington Post. I also tweeted about the initial story and I am a bit puzzled that Vanity Fair may have gotten their story quite wrong and I'll promise myself to be even more careful about trusting established media brands...

Clooneys to help 3,000 Syrian refugees go to school in Lebanon

A $3.25 million donation from the Clooney Foundation for Justice, Google and HP will pay for transportation, school supplies, computers, content, curriculum and teacher training.
A spokesman for the Clooneys' foundation, Max Gleischman, said the organization had decided to support education for Syrian refugees through the public school system, instead of investing in private schools operated by SABIS, an international company which has prepared students for college and high school exams.
Riham Alkousaa for Reuters with another celebrity humanitarian story. Small numbers in every aspect, but at least this appears to be a 'do no harm' project with Clooneys' ego not in the driver's seat...

You Probably Don't Want To Know About Haiti's Sewage Problems

In the past five years, the story of one failed sewage treatment plant project offers the clearest example of the good intentions, poor governance and bad luck that contributed to Haiti's current sanitation crisis. It began with a young woman and a huge earthquake.
Rebecca Hersher for NPR's Goats and Soda captures the challenges of 'development' in an excellent nutshell of her story from Haiti.

Climate change causing suicides in India as crops fail

Optimists often suggest that society will adapt to warming. But Carleton searched for evidence that communities acclimatize to high temperatures, or become more resilient as they get richer, and found none in the data.
“Without interventions that help families adapt to a warmer climate, it’s likely we will see a rising number of lives lost to suicide as climate change worsens in India,” Carleton says.
Kathleen Maclay for Berkeley News presents new research by Tamma Carleton on the link between suicides and climate change in India.

What factors affect the occurrence of crimes against women in India?

As affluence in Indian states grows, there is likely to be a slight rise in crimes against women, but as the female to male ratio has already begun to rise, it is in turn likely to dampen the rise in these crimes. The efficiency of the judicial and police systems may be the deciding factor – and unfortunately, going by recent evidence, it may be optimistic to surmise significant improvements in these systems in the near future.
Geetika Dang, Vani S. Kulkarni and Raghav Gaiha for the Manchester University's Global Development Institute Blog present their latest research findings.

What works? Bringing more evidence to development

Hyde explained that there are different ways of interpreting the reasons behind the results. For example, it might suggest that information needs to be provided to voters earlier on, she said, adding that her takeaway is that it is difficult to make voters more informed, not that informing voters is a worthless task.
The findings confirmed what many democracy and governance practitioners have observed in their work in transitioning countries, that information in and of itself does not lead to political accountability, said Linda Stern, director of monitoring, evaluation and learning at the National Democratic Institute.“It served to put an exclamation point on the idea that exposure to information alone is not enough to change citizens’ political preferences and behaviors,” she told Devex via email.
Catherine Cheney for DevEx. To me, this reads a bit like an attempt to justify funding for a lost cause: 'Voter information programs are not working-but let's continue projects and explore every possible angle to justify them'-similar to the debate about employment skills programs it looks that there is very little evidence to justify them, but some political interest to continue regardless...

Evidence-based policy making in the tropics

While the paper is not a counsel for despair, it is a call for realism. Evidence-based policy making remains an admirable aspiration; but it may just be a long way away. Of the constraints addressed in our paper, the one most susceptible to immediate influence by both domestic governments and donors is the state of universities and think tanks in developing countries.
Stephen Howes, Ashlee Betteridge, Lawrence Sause and Lhawang Ugyel for the DevPolicy blog with an overview of their latest working paper on the challenges of evidence-based policy-making.

Cambodian philanthropist wins first round of defamation case
A Canberra law student has been ordered to pay the legal costs of a Cambodian philanthropist after her defamation defence was struck out in court.
Juanita Zankin must now rethink how she will fight allegations she defamed Geraldine Cox in a February Facebook post.
Michael Inman for The Canberra Times on the strange case of how a short, critical and temporary facebook post that addressed Sunrise Cambodia-and organization that has already received critical media coverage.

Stop orphanage volunteering and reduce child exploitation

Ms van Doore coined the term ‘paper orphaning’ as the active recruitment of children into orphanages or residential care institutions in developing nations for the purpose of ongoing exploitation through orphanage tourism and funding.
“Orphanage tourism and funding creates a demand for children to be available in orphanages to volunteer with, which ultimately drives recruiters to traffick children into orphanages,’’ Ms van Doore said.
Deborah Marshall for Griffith University News talks to Kate van Doore as part of the on-going debate in Australia to label orphanage tourism 'modern slavery'.

On governance: A quick assessment of Ushahidi and questions for its board

Why is Ushahidi’s board not independent, particularly given the amount of local and international public and foundation funding it receives?
Dutch Schultz, probably an alias, highlights some issues with Ushahidi's governance structures that I cannot verify or find additional sources for.

This Company's New Perk Is Sending Employees on International Trips

Any employee who has been at the company for at least one year and participated in payroll giving for at least six months (that could be donating between $2 to $150 per paycheck) is given the opportunity to travel to Nepal, Bolivia, Kenya or Ecuador on the company's dime. On these trips, Experticity volunteers could be working on a number of different projects depending on the needs of the place they visit, including building classrooms, community water systems, health clinics or personal hygiene workshops or training locals in micro-enterprises.
Rose Leadem for Entrepreneur. I am so sick and tired of corporate BS like this! Sending employees to some of the laziest voluntourism places to do lazy voluntourism projects is not motivating staff, but simply showing your corporate ignorance about #globaldev & social change. Go hiking in Nepal by all means, but don't build classrooms!!!

Aid workers as authors? We ask an Evil Genius named J.

J: What I generally see is an explosion of volume and style over substance. Professional looking websites, lots of team blogs and “communities” (maybe like this site), but also a lot of what feels to me like overly earnest self-indulgence (not this site). I miss some of the older blogs like Hand Relief International and La Vidaid Loca. It doesn’t all have to be funny or sarcastic. Aid Leap is excellent, but sadly The Pillar is no more. But even so, I miss the days when it was all a bit more fun and snarky and to the point, and a bit less “here’s 1,000 words on what I pondered as I savored my morning tea while overlooking Machu Picchu.” I feel like much of what passes for aid writing in general in 2017 is as much, or maybe more cultural performance than anything else, without actually exploring any kind of new territory in terms of ideas or issues.
Kasmiraa for Missing in The Mission talks to J./Tales from the Hood about aid blogging and writing-a highly recommended read on the past, present & future of writing about development on the Internet!

In case you missed this ;)!

Our digital lives
Transparency and Accountability: An Open Letter to G4S

The first thing to note is the largely inhospitable environment of the G4S AGM for democratic, rational dialogue and debate. The atmosphere and space of the AGMs have not, at least since 2014, delivered on openness or a guarantee of personal security necessary for a genuinely democratic forum.
David Scott on LinkedIn. His detailed reflections suggest, perhaps not entirely surprisingly, that G4S may not be interested in critical dialogue and discussing political questions at shareholder meetings...

Social Entrepreneurship’s All-American Mind Trap

Thus, rather than focusing on who the social entrepreneur is, a much more interesting question is why and how do various stakeholders come together in pursuit of socially entrepreneurial ends? How might philanthropy change its image of entrepreneurialism from an individualistic notion to a collective one, so that what we see at the end of the capitalization of new ideas is sustainable shared ownership or stewardship enterprises that have been and are continually fine-tuned to fit a system?
Fredrik O. Andersson and Ruth McCambridge for Nonprofit Quarterly address several issues that are important for #globaldev, including 'hero narratives', multicolored saviors and a general tendency to continue with consumerist-capitalistic approaches and expect them to lead to social transformation.

The class dynamics of breastfeeding in the United States of America

Well-off parents have access to the infrastructure that supports breastfeeding: longer maternity leaves, jobs that allow for pumping breaks, the ability to hire outside help to support a new mother, and—perhaps most importantly—immersion in a culture that unconsciously views breastfeeding as a desirable status symbol and pressures them to continue to that hallowed six-month mark and well beyond.
Breast milk has become a luxury good, another example of what the sociologist Elizabeth Currid-Halkett calls inconspicuous consumption: the investments in intangibles like health and education that increase social capital for the modern wealthy. And because these costs are largely invisible, it’s easy to frame breastfeeding as a free good equally available to all. The truth is much more complicated.
Corinne Purtill and Dan Kopf for Quartz with an interesting piece on something as 'innocent' as breastfeeding and how it has become a social signifier for class and wealth; expect similar developments in 'emerging economies' soon...

Unpaid internships damage long-term graduate pay prospects

“I expect some people will find an internship that enables them to do the job they really want to do and that will have the big labour-market return but, on average, an internship you take won’t lead directly to a job in the profession you really wanted or the profession you did the internship in.”
The study also found that those who took internships were less likely to go on to professional or managerial roles or be satisfied with their career compared with those who had gone straight into work.
Holford said that one reason for the earning disparity could be that graduates who took an internship were delaying the start of their careers which could often see them end up in entirely different occupations from the ones in which they did their work placements.
Jamie Doward for The Guardian with new research on the trickiness of unpaid internships...

Hot off the digital press

Perspectives: An Open Access Intro Anthro Textbook

Perspectives reflects the shared conclusion of SACC, the authors, and editors that open access publishing is one way to engage a new generation of students and, particularly, the diverse students who attend community colleges. If nothing else, we are hopeful that Perspectives can bring anthropology to a broader audience of students and general readers outside of our classes.
Nina Brown, Thomas McIlwraith and Laura Tubelle de Gonzálezon for Savage Minds reflect on the process and intention behind their new open access anthropology introduction.


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