Links & Contents I Liked 262

Hi all,

Happy Friday-the holidays are almost here :)!

Development news: #AidToo; Ed Sheeran, War Child & well-deserved radiator awards; against charity; visualizing life in the camps in Bangladesh; humanitarian data breaches as policy challenges; Women Peacemaker Program closes; the political economy of crisis responses then & now; decolonizing development studies; how can film support development work? Twiplomacy 2017; Balkans & transitional justice beyond The Hague; relationships matter for charities; warm & cuddly SDGs; wrapping up a micro-finance project.

Our digital lives: Did 'atmosphere models' show up at your tech Christmas party?

Publications: Looking at the visual stories of 'buy one, get one for free' campaigns.

Academia: How twitter & podcasts can
put you on a 'pathway to impact'; 5 ways to fix statistics.

New from aidnography

Third World Quarterly & the colonialism debate
The debate that keeps on giving-my updates Storify of the TWQ affair...

Development news

Ed Sheeran Comic Relief film branded 'poverty porn' by aid watchdog

“Ed Sheeran has good intentions,” she said. “But the problem is the video is focused on Ed Sheeran as the main character. He is portrayed as the only one coming down and being able to help.”
Øgård said that in the four years the organisation had run the awards, she had seen more creative appeals, often by small organisations. Among those nominated for best fundraising film, or the Golden Radiator award , is one from War Child Holland, praised by judges as “powerful and positive”.
Did Ed Sheeran commit 'poverty tourism' in charity film?
Mr Echwalu said: "It touched him and I'm glad. He meant well, but the act of taking one child for a couple of nights in a hotel? Long term, it is nothing. It does not aid the hundreds of others who were left behind."
Ed Sheeran means well but this poverty porn has to stop
But what will really effect change is not charity but activism. The problem with adverts of this kind is that, by denying viewers any context as to who “the victims” are, or the structural factors that have contributed to their situation, they give the impression that the suffering is inevitable. It is not. Yemen’s humanitarian crisis, which the UN has called the worst in the world, is being exacerbated by the continuing blockade by Saudi Arabia, one of Britain’s closest allies. Lobbying the government to stop selling arms to the Saudis would have a far greater impact than charity.
Karen McVeigh for the Guardian, BBC Africa & Afua Hirsch also for the Guardian on the Rusty Radiator 'winner'; the 'golden radiator' went to War Child and their powerful video:

Celebrity 'charity': A gift for a vicious system
Regarding the function of celebrities within "a system that sees famous people as brands and thus consumer products", Wark and Raventos note that celebrity "excess" helps sustain the consumerist model by providing glorified examples of over-the-top materialism - while celebrity "beneficence" helps whitewash the brutality of institutionalised socioeconomic disparity.
Meanwhile, the "awareness" that celebrities purport to raise for their respective causes is frequently devoid of the political context necessary to comprehend contemporary causes of human suffering.
Belen Fernandez for Al-Jazeera with a quasi-review of the new 'Against Charity' book.

Life in the camps

Makeshift huts crammed onto muddy hillsides. Water wells fouled by nearby latrines. Rapidly-spreading diseases. Health experts say overcrowding, poor sanitation and limited health care in the Rohingya refugee areas of Bangladesh is a “recipe for disaster”. This is a closer look at life in the camps.
Weiyi Cai & Simon Scarr for Thomson Reuters with a multi-media story on life in the Bangladeshi Rohingya camps.

Humanitarian data breaches: the real scandal is our collective inaction

The sector’s collective failure to adequately regulate and professionalise humanitarian information activities is both morally untenable and operationally unsustainable. Continued inaction may soon undermine trust between humanitarian agencies and the people they seek to serve, eroding the meaning and value of the core humanitarian principles of humanity, impartiality, independence, and neutrality.
Continuing to accept this status quo is antithetical to the values of all humanitarians and shirks the duty of care incumbent upon us to address threats to the human rights and human security of affected populations. As senior humanitarian leaders prepare to convene at United Nations Headquarters in New York next week for the emergency aid coordination body OCHA’s Global Humanitarian Policy Forum, the issue of data protection and security must now top the community’s agenda.
Nathaniel A. Raymond, Daniel P. Scarnecchia & Stuart R. Campo for IRIN on the growing challenges around dealing with humanitarian data in a responsible way.

Democracy and Disaster: Pakistan in Bangladesh (1970) and Trump in Puerto Rico (2017)

The legacy of the Pakistani authorities’ almost implausibly inept and careless disaster response just before democratic elections was a stunning East Pakistani victory, followed by a bloody civil war that liberated East Bengalis from the yoke of West Pakistani neo-colonial rule. By contrast, the careless response to Hurricane Maria has if anything underlined the subordinate position of Puerto Ricans under US imperial rule: they have no Congressional representation and cannot vote for the President, so it does not really matter what they think.
Naomi Hossain for History Workshop with another interesting commentary of how the fall-out of the hurricanes in the Carribean resonates with broader #globaldev questions; a great addition to my Reading #Maria through a #globaldev lens collection!

After 20 years, WPP closes its doors

We increasingly find ourselves in a schizophrenic reality, where on the one hand women’s rights and gender equality activists around the world are facing strong opposition from different sides while on the other hand many in government and donor positions loudly commit to supporting women’s rights and gender equality. Yet their grantmaking increasingly fails to provide an effective financial infrastructure catering directly and sustainably for the women frontliners and feminist pioneers in global South, North, East and West.
Increasingly, we have also found ourselves in a constant rat race of measuring and (over)reporting, tying us to our desks. Like so many in civil society, we too often find ourselves caught up in a paralyzing bureaucratic reality, generated by a donor reality that locates accountability in paper. This is going at the expense of the real work we as activists set ourselves out to, which is about changing women’s lives, and by women’s lives, everyone’s lives on this shared planet.
The Women Peacemakers Program is closing down and their statement is important food for thought on the current status of the professionalized charity industry.

Given the decades old decolonial and post-development critiques that the international development project is ultimately a deeply colonial experience, how is it that international development studies is still a thing? As a field of research under the same name; Very much also as a highly popular pedagogical project with departments of international development studies continue to attract high number of students.
How does film support aid and development work?
Lina proposed that there are three main reasons for using video, film, and/or immersive media (such as virtual reality or augmented reality) in humanitarian and development work:
- Raising awareness about an issue or a brand and serving as an entry point or a way to frame further actions.
- Community-led discussion/participatory media, where people take agency and ownership and express themselves through media.
- Catalyzing movements themselves, where film, video, and other visual arts are used to feed social movements.
Linda Raftree with an overview of discussions from the latest technology salon.

International Organisations on Social Media 2017

It is fair to say that without social media, the work of international organisations would probably go largely unnoticed. All 97 multi-lateral international organisations and NGOs in this study are actively present on the three main social networking sites: Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.
Over the past year, we have witnessed a clear pivot to video content among the most successful organisations. Short videos, optimized for mobile devices, tend to garner the biggest engagement on each of the social media platforms analyzed.
Twiplomacy, a CSR project of PR giant Burson-Marsteller, with its latest annual report with lots of descriptive data that I haven't been able to digest properly yet...

A Poisonous Week at the Hague Tribunal

This poisonous week at The Hague demonstrates that despite nearly 25 years of international transitional justice, EU integration and regional cooperation, political interpretations of the wars and the crimes remain antagonistic and mutually hostile; in fact more so than a decade ago.
The tempting and easy answer would be to forget about them. In a media environment in the Balkans in which every day tabloids live off talk of the last or the next war, this might seem enticing. However, the opposite approach is needed.
The nationalist narratives of denial and self-victimisation are a poison in the political discourse and life of Croatia, Bosnia, Serbia, and Kosovo.
They justify war crimes and thus don’t just allow for war criminals to be transformed into heroes and crimes to be orphaned without perpetrators and culprits, they also justify future crimes.
Florian Bieber for Balkan Transitional Justice with an excellent commentary on the legacy of the ICTY beyond the spectacular finish of the suicide.

The troubled relationship of the emerging powers and the effective development cooperation agenda: history, challenges and opportunities

The Development Assistance Committee, the OECD’s club of Western donors, promoted the creation of a Global Partnership for Effective Development Cooperation” (GPEDC) in 2011 at a High Level Meeting in Busan, Korea. It was widely considered at the time that the success of the venture (in terms of both inclusiveness and relevance) in large measure hinged on the last-minute decision of China, India and Brazil to join the Partnership as providers of South-South Cooperation (SSC): a modest step forward in the much broader geopolitical effort to accommodate these emerging powers in the post-war liberal order. Only a few years later, however, all three countries had left the GPEDC. This paper explores how they joined, why they left and suggests how they could return.
Gerardo Bracho with a paper for the German Development Institute may be a bit of a niche topic, but is nonetheless an interesting institutional account of how 'global governance' actually works.

Relationships Matter: Program Officers, Grantees, and the Keys to Success

The report finds that in the eyes of nonprofits, the most powerful ways that funders can strengthen their relationships with grantees are to: 1) focus on understanding grantee organizations and the context in which they work; and 2) be transparent with grantees. Less powerful, but still important to forming strong relationships, are the experiences grantees have during the selection process and how open they find funders to be to their ideas about the foundation’s strategy.
The Center for Effective Philanthropy with a new study that stresses, once again. that 'relationships matter' in aid/giving.

Warm and cuddly global goals? The international community must get real

Warm and cuddly ambitions are simply no longer going to cut it. The UN system has to have the courage to hold its member states accountable. Otherwise, it seems as if the SDGs simply offer member states a free pass to pat themselves on the back, despite their collective failures. And the onus is also on those of us in civil society to remind citizens that the global goals are more than warm words, and that we need to hold those responsible for their delivery to account.
Dhananjayan Sriskandarajah for the Guardian asks for the impossible (?): Making the SDGs meaningful beyond a shared vision and political promises. And I am not sure whether the UN alone is to blame for lacking courage when it comes to accountability...

That Little Ball

We scrutinized every bit of unbridled enthusiasm. We tore off our hero’s cape. We stripped away our power, position and privilege. It was all inherited. We had not earned any of it. We were not special. We were just a bunch of humans subsumed in our system of expectations, buffeted about by fear and desire. We were craving connection, community and conversation. Because, during out time together, we learned that through dialog with one another we could get a glimpse of a better version of ourselves.
Not all of us got to experience these moments.
They only materialize after a lengthy series of authentic interactions.
They were usually reserved for our Program Directors.
Shawn Humphrey on closing down La Ceiba – their microfinance institution in El Progreso, Honduras.

Our digital lives

Crafting Humanitarian Imaginaries: The Visual Story-Telling of Buy-One Give-One Marketing Campaigns

In the Buy One Give One (B1G1) business model, social enterprise companies respond to humanitarian causes by linking consumers to recipients through the commodification of a shared product experience. Ponte and Richey deem these interfaces “new imaginaries”, with consumption elevated as the mechanism for humanitarian action. Using a case comparison of two B1G1 companies, I argue that the visual story-telling of B1G1 marketing materials constructs a “humanitarian imaginary” that shapes how consumers understand engagement. Using visual analysis, I consider the opportunities and ethical limits of building solidarity through social marketing.
Alexandra Cosima Budabin with a new paper in Proceedings on the business of making 'eradicating poverty' look good...


Academic journals with a presence on Twitter are more widely disseminated and receive a higher number of citations
From a research evaluation point of view, these results might suggest that journal activity on Twitter can affect the number of tweets and citations its papers receive. However, these results should be interpreted in term of dissemination, in which the broadcasting of research outputs has an impact on a specific audience of researchers that use that information for future studies. The more an article is spread over social networks, repositories, blogs, news sites, etc., the bigger audience it reaches, increasing the likelihood of it being cited by colleagues. This being the case, these results should be used by publishers to inform efforts to improve the discoverability of journals and not with a view to assessing quality or academic impact. The number of mentions on Twitter should be understood as a dissemination metric, not as a scholarly impact indicator.
José Luis Ortega for LSE Impact Blog on why tweeting your research paper and results matters-not simply as 'impact', but as a way to get recognition within your academic community as well.

What 10 years of producing podcasts with social scientists has taught me

There has never been a better or more exciting time to be podcasting and to be using podcasts not just to share research findings but to really engage with people interested in getting the hard facts about the many challenges facing the world today. But what’s more important is getting the subject matter, aims and format of your podcast right in the first place, and you do that best by thinking about and engaging with your audience from the outset.
One thing I have learned in ten years of podcasting is that podcasts are more about communities engaging than being a simple a vehicle or tool for communication. Viewed that way, podcasts have the potential to put you right on that pathway to impact.
Christine Garrington also for the LSE Impact Blog on another medium to communicate research and join the 'pathway to impact'...

Five ways to fix statistics

As debate rumbles on about how and how much poor statistics is to blame for poor reproducibility, Nature asked influential statisticians to recommend one change to improve science. The common theme? The problem is not our maths, but ourselves.
Jeff Leek, Blakeley B. McShane, Andrew Gelman, David Colquhoun, Michèle B. Nuijten & Steven N. Goodman for Nature.


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