Links & Contents I Liked 250

Hi all,

Link review #250 should be an occasion to pause and reflect for a moment-just not this week which is far from over yet and it has been quite hectic
So let me just say 'THANK YOU!' for producing awesome content, sharing great stuff-and being around virtually!

I wrote What I learned from curating thousands of #globaldev articles almost exactly a year ago and it still remains valid.  

Maybe a plain and simple review with a special section on Irma & #globaldev is the answer to the question of what's next or where to go from here...


New from aidnography

#Irma & #globaldev special section
After Irma, let those who use our tax havens contribute to the repairs

And would it be possible, he asked, for such future public investments to be conditional on the tourism industry ploughing back profits into public funds used for development? In this way, the taxpayers who propped up tourism could also benefit from reinvestments into areas such as health, education and transport for all.
While some may cynically dismiss this question, raising concerns about corruption of public finances in poor countries, the question Browne asked, even before the hurricane hit, was a good one: how should those extracting value from a place contribute to it?
But the questions are complicated and perhaps even uncomfortable for those asking them. The relief efforts needed are larger than they should be due to how these countries have been starved of tax revenue precisely because they have chosen to be tax havens.
Mariana Mazzucato for the Guardian with yet another reminder of the many political and social aspects of 'apolitical' , 'natural' disasters.

UK urges changes to international aid rules to help hurricane-hit islands

“The response would have been just as large and swift regardless of the aid rules,” he said. But he added: “The prime minister is frustrated with the rules as they stand.”
The Conservatives have said they are thinking of changing the legal definitions surrounding the use of the protected aid budget, and have already stretched the envelope to include security and peacekeeping measures.
Patrick Wintour for the Guardian. Rather than increasing the aid budget these developments will probably mean that less money will be used for development in the narrower sense. If Britain wants to help their overseas territories there are ways without re-defining 'aid'...

How to tell the stories of those worst affected by a disaster like Hurricane Irma

Location, or the severity of hazards, cannot sufficiently explain why Irma had such a severe impact. There needs to be an acknowledgement of why Caribbean nations are far more vulnerable to natural hazards than the US.
This requires a long hard look at the political and economic situation of these islands. For example, several reports have raised worries over the heavy reliance on a handful of sectors, such as agriculture and tourism, which will be severely impacted by Irma in the long-term. Countries with diverse economies are better able to recover following a disaster; but Caribbean countries will find recovery far more challenging, given their low economic diversity.
Gemma Sou for The Conversation also highlights some important aspects to create longer-term narratives that capture the complexities of how disasters and recovery happen on the ground.

Hurricane Irma: U-Report works to protect children

Some quick internal conversations via WhatsApp between the UNICEF Regional Advisor and U-Report LACRO Coordinator in Panama and it’s agreed that we should use U-Report to provide vital information. We need help from the Global Innovation Centre. A quick email or two later and the Bangkok office gets things going and gives the green light to promote with U-Report Global via Facebook in the countries in the path of Hurricane Irma – from St Kitts to Antigua, Haiti to Barbados, we want people to know basic life-saving information. And in this part of the world, that means having everything available in English, Spanish and French.
Victoria Maskell for UNICEF shares some insights into how UNICEF communicates around Irma and activates digital platforms.

Innovative but dull: disaster insurance is starting to pay off

But in the wake of these disasters, there is some surprisingly good news: Millions of dollars of relief finance are already being paid without fuss, social media campaigns, or photo-ops. What is this remarkable “innovation”? The answer is dull: it’s insurance.
None of these financing arrangements are silver bullets. They can‘t substitute for risk reduction, solid preparedness planning, and informed decision-making.
But they can help to provide the glue that holds it all together, making sound planning beforehand worthwhile.
Stefan Dercon for IRIN on how donors like DfID and the World Bank work with local agencies around disaster insurance schemes.

Robert De Niro has personally pledged to rebuild Barbuda after 90 per cent of its structures were destroyed

De Niro and billionaire James Packer had bought the former K Club Resort on Barbuda last year but had yet to begin construction on the property; their original proposal faced controversy with the island's residents, who legally have ownership of all land in Barbuda and a right to vote on all proposals.
Clarissa Loughrey for The Independent. No humanitarian emergency is complete without celebrity engagement; this time celebrity investors want to get involved in rebuilding tourism-complex challenges ensue...

Development news
Push to end orphanage volunteering as World Challenge stops trips for students

The world's biggest school-based volunteer travel company, World Challenge, will no longer offer trips to orphanages in the developing world after research showed the practice was harming vulnerable children.
Advocacy agency ReThink Orphanages said a revolving door of volunteers was making abandonment and attachment issues even worse.
Ruby Jones for ABC News Australia with more good news from the interesting developments around outlawing orphanage tourism as a form of modern enslavement.

Growing cities: more chances, more insecurities

Well we've done ethnographies with people between 2013 and 2016 including people who have been part of the violence, for example with people who are hit men or people who are involved in gangs or mafias. And what we realized through working with them is that nobody really wants this lifestyle. And often it's the case that, due to their marginality or due to lack of opportunity they end up going down these avenues which they don't necessarily enjoy.
So I have faith in people and I think that we just have to try and focus more on listening to the voices of the people at the ground level and creating positive interfaces for them with each other so that the city doesn't become an area of competition — it becomes an area of co-operation.
Amiera Sawas talks to DW about her research on urbanization and violence.

Eat, pray, live: the Lagos megachurches building their very own cities

Finally, the man who keeps the money coming in, who gives this entire neighbourhood its raison d’être, the de facto mayor of what is effectively an entirely new piece of city, takes his place on the vast stage and picks up the mic. The 75-year-old Daddy GO wears a grass-green short-sleeved suit, bow tie and gold watch. After praying on his knees at the lectern, he climbs to his feet.
“Will somebody shout Hallelujah?”
Ruth Maclean for the Guardian with an interesting example from Nigeria on what 'urban development' can look like and how new social contracts and movements are changing perceptions of 'Africa' every day...

Why Oxfam is moving its headquarters

They want us to stand with them in pulling together the knowledge they need, the evidence they need. They need our global power to be able to hold their leaders accountable to them. So we need to be on the ground with them.
Winnie Byanyima for the BBC.

An Experiment Gives Cash Aid To The Poor. Is That Ethical?
Seen in this light the experiment is a sort of side-benefit to the main objective — a way of making a virtue out of the vice that not everybody can be covered. Given that Niehaus can't provide every single poor person in Kenya with the payouts, he argues, isn't the most ethical course to at least make the effort to measure how much of a difference cash aid makes for those getting it compared to those who do not? After all, if researchers find that cash aid has a big impact that kind of evidence "increases the chances that some of the other villagers might get a decent income in the future too" if governments and other charities are inspired to give out more cash aid.
What's more, says Niehaus, GiveDirectly's use of a lottery to decide which villages get the payouts isn't just ensuring that the data from its randomized controlled trial is as accurate as possible, it's distributing the cash aid in the fairest possible way.
Nurith Aizenman for NPR Goats & Soda with a great review of some of the core ethical challenges around RCTs and giving out cash.

Media Development Needs a Community of Scholars

Unlike in other sectors of development, such as governance and public health, media development has no cohesive community of scholarship that can help us understand and address new challenges or develop new ways of thinking in the quickly evolving and complex media space. The weak linkages to scholarship around media development issues are not because such scholarship does not exist, but rather because the scholarship is scattered across academic disciplines. One can find important research related to media development at academic conferences for communications, political science, anthropology, and many more.
Paul Rothman & Nick Benequista for the Center for International Media Assistance outline an framework for a media 4 dev community that can bring together different aspects of a diverse practical and scholarly community.

Our digital lives

Men Are Entertaining and Women Are Awkward: An Analysis of Speaker Perceptions

Without exception, men were more likely to choose positive attributes to describe themselves (e.g., intelligent, comfortable, entertaining) and women were more likely to choose negative attributes (e.g., nervous, awkward, terrified). In fact, men were much more likely to choose positive attributes — eight attributes generated differences of 10 points or greater.
Annie Pettit for Gender Avenger with more insights into the underlying issues that may lead to #allmalepanel...

Never underestimate the influence of a Brussels conference organiser

For the women who are still deliberating whether to sign up to the database or not because they doubt their own expertise, do not underestimate what you already know! You probably know more than you think and at this time in your career it’s more important to improve your speaking and presentation skills than your expertise.
While there are certainly etiquettes and unwritten rules about how to organise conferences in Brussels, it doesn’t mean things can’t change. People in Brussels seem to have mixed feelings about going to conferences.
Some consider them a waste of time unless they get to speak. Yet, others go – for the free food, the connections one can make, or to actually learn something new.
Charlotte Brandsma, Corinna Hörst and Louise Langeby for Euractiv also discussing gender aspects of conference planning and the value of diverse participants. Whether or not more conferences and events in Brussels are really necessary is a different debate...

A survey of independent media in the South asks if “movement journalism” can help newsrooms better cover social justice strife

Simonton recently took a deep dive into the community and minority-owned media landscape of the American South — so deep, in fact, that she spent over a year researching and reporting her findings in a 62-page report called Out of Struggle. Her report takes stock of the independent media landscape in the 13 states of the traditional South, from Texas to Florida to West Virginia, and was commissioned by Project South.
“We have good stuff that people are doing, [but] it’s very localized. How do we strengthen that and expand that impact?” she told me. “That’s what we think we can bring to the mix: finding some ways to offer services, support, training, et cetera, to increase the amount of journalism that’s going on in these already existing media outlets.”
Christine Schmidt interviews Anna Simonton for Nieman Lab with another aspect of 'media development' and the convergence between 'development' issues of the global North and South!


Emissaries of Empowerment

We suggest that because modern white feminist interventions retain this implicit orientation towards rescuing non-Western women from their own societies, cultures, and contexts, they also retain many of the same dynamics of these early exercises in white saviordom. Specifically, they center the intervenors rather than marginalized women, and favor the abandonment of complex narratives in favor of simple stories of abject victimhood. These dynamics are further entrenched by the drive to capture the attention of the Western public, generating a feedback loop between donor priorities and media coverage. What gets lost in the process is politics. Consequently, these interventions often inadvertently reinforce, rather than combat, one of the main drivers of women’s marginalization and injury: their depoliticization by the state.
Kate Cronin-Furman, Nimmi Gowrinathan & Rafia Zakaria with a super-interesting paper which is part of The Politics of Sexual Violence Initative at CUNY.

Double-edged Sword: Vigilantes in African Counter-insurgencies

Reliance on vigilante groups often is a faute de mieux solution for states facing a threat they cannot address alone. But as the cases in this report illustrate, there are better and worse ways of doing so, and of ensuring that a short-term expedient not turn into a long-term headache.
New report from the Crisis Group.

Behind the attacks: A look at the perpetrators of violence against aid workers

This analysis focuses on the 258 incidents (24 per cent of those recorded between 2011 and 2016) in which it is known that an organised group was responsible. We recognise that the small sample size limits the strength of quantitative analysis. However, even though the ‘unknown’ category is large, we can safely say that most of these unidentified perpetrators are neither state actors
(because military operations of state actors are relatively easy to identify) nor members of global NSAGs (such as IS and Al Qaeda, who have incentive to claim credit and thus self-identify
most of the time). In other words, most perpetrators in the ‘unknown’ category are likely to be national- or sub-national-level militia, un-affiliated individuals or small criminal groups.
Moreover, the results from the subset accord with qualitative findings from interview evidence and document review, increasing our confidence in the validity of the sample.
Humanitarian Outcomes with a new report and another interesting aspect on the complexities and multiple shades of grey of violence markets in which humanitarian aid work(er) operate(s).

Digital Economy and Digital Labour Terminology: Making Sense of the “Gig Economy”, “Online Labour”, “Crowd Work”, “Microwork”, “Platform Labour”, Etc

This paper analyses the myriad terminologies that have arisen in relation to the digital economy and digital labour. In detailed tables, it assesses the prevalence and currency within research literature of nearly 30 different terms. It then provides a definition for each and summarises the typical content of literature using the term. It also summarises current popularity of related Twitter hashtags.
Richard Heeks with a new working paper for Manchester University's Global Development Institute.


What should ECRs and PhDers consider when choosing a conference? Purpose, cost, and motivation
For starters, conferences are getting more and more expensive – see above – and that’s unjust; I don’t like the disparities that this creates. And yes, I do try to help PhDs and contract-research folk get to conferences – and yes, that means allocating money from my research budgets for that purpose. But an individual action hardly addresses the problem. We really do need to do something about the costs of getting together to do our jobs.
But even if conferences were cheap, I’d still hate them. I find it hard to simply be at an academic conference – rushing from room to room – or worse still, venue to venue – for papers where presenters never have enough time and where there is often no time at all to discuss. I often can’t manage a full day of sitting and listening. I get very antsy and have to skip a session just to break up the monotony. (And don’t start me on enduring hour after hour of crappy powerpoints.)
Pat Thomson for LSE Impact Blog with some measured advice on how to attend academic conferences. I may have some more fundamental issues about the conference-academic-industrial complex, but Pat makes a more balanced point about the chances and limitations of attending conferences.

Why We Post: Digital methods for public anthropology

There is the danger that an emphasis on public engagement could lead to the neglect of communicating with academic audiences. However, the main academic contribution of the WWP project is not just the open access book series, but also journal articles that are specifically designed to engage in academic debate. In addition, the team felt that the skills they developed by writing content for the MOOC and website were valuable, not only for communicating with the public but also for developing their academic arguments. We should not be limited by narrow conceptions of dissemination or indeed by the apparent divide between public and academic anthropology, especially when it comes to producing ethnographically-nuanced modes of education. Teaching an appreciation of the richness of diversity around the world by presenting learners with topics as familiar as social
media, but appropriated in vastly different forms, can be a tool for both personal and societal transformation.
Laura Haapio-Kirk with an open-access article in Teaching Anthropology on how to engage audiences with anthropology in the digital age.


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