Links & Contents I Liked 286

Hi all,

Welcome to this Friday's review!
So many great, interesting, powerful & enraging stories from & about women which hopefully indicate the lasting impact of #AidToo!

Development news: Special section on black women sharing their experiences in the aid industry; the EU's military-industrial-border complex; Education, electricity & tax is what Africa needs; doctor drain in Nigeria; stories of UNICEF innovation; new humor & satire in Africa; TedX meets the refugee camp; special section on volunteering/tourism/connecting.

Our digital lives: Topless protest in Iceland; respect & awful meetings; social change tipping points; the place most CVs go to die...

Academia: Landmark study on sexual harassment in US academia; decolonization in IR; an anthropological publishing project implodes.


New from aidnography

Does Malcolm Gladwell want rural Indian women to buy Chevys? A few reflections on DevEx World

As much as moving away from the ‘beneficiary’ logic is a timely debate, relying uncritically on data-driven public private partnerships to fix deep-rooted inequalities, political decisions to ignore evidence and to create a new class of empowered consumers will more likely create the next facebook-like scandal with sensitive health data rather than a transformation into a participatory, fair and sustainable future.
Development news
Clare Short is wrong. No wonder sexual abuse is rife in the aid sector

But what makes the aid sector unique are the opportunities it presents for people who have had their agency removed – vulnerable women, refugees, displaced people and others – to be exploited and abused. These women are overwhelmingly women of colour.
Shaista Aziz for the Guardian responds to Claire Short's commentary featured in last week's digest.

She Perspectives on Development Sector Microagressions (by Bethel Tsegaye)

Once you have your wake up call and get over you guilt, you will start to see the world without the rose coloured glasses. Your position and the position of everyone around you in this world becomes apparent and you can begin to use your privilege to advance what is right in everything you do. When you begin to do this, the racial illiteracy, cultural incompetence and inequity becomes clear.
I have met too many women of colour who have left their jobs and are fed up of the development sector, because they are tired of working in a system that refuses to confront its own identity and practices while it preaches to others – and I don’t necessarily want to be one of them.
Of Course, Development Aid has a Big Black People Problem (by Lydia Namubiru)
For as long as these inequalities persist, I will always want to do development work. I just don’t necessarily want to do it with the people who bring it here, until they muster some difficult introspection on how the industry treats workers who look like me.
Being Black and working in a white male dominated aid industry (by Rosebell Kagumire)
With these hindrances and limitations to how far I could hold him accountable, I decided after one year to leave IOM. I took advice to leave well rather than try flogging a dead horse called ‘due diligence and justice’ but I was damn depressed. Speaking with other colleagues I was aware that the organization with less than 30 percent (I am putting it on the high) women working in an industry where women are the majority affected, could not afford a female minority justice worker. So with #AidToo I hope that this conversation brings forth the truth about racism and abuse in the development sector. Those in charge need to work towards solutions and inclusion- not just about numbers and getting minorities and women in positions of leadership, but ensuring that there’s genuine policy, practices and avenues to prevent such abuse of power.
Bethel Tsegaye, Lydia Namubiru & Rosebell Kagumire for African Feminism share their stories in a powerful three-part series on black women working in the aid industry.

How the Security Industry Reaps the Rewards of E.U. Migration Control

Despite the austerity measures in place in some areas of Europe, the increase in funding for militarizing border security seems to be limitless. Frontex, which now has new powers to buy its own equipment, could see its current annual budget of 320 million euros ($375 million) increase almost sixfold to 1.87 billion euros ($2.19 billion) by 2027.
While the proposed increases of the E.U. border security and control budget clearly respond to a number of factors, the increasing role, funding and support for industry will ensure that they become one of the few beneficiaries from the refugee “crisis.” Ultimately this is not just a concern about corporate influence but also about entrenching a militarized response to a complex crisis. This will do little to tackle the root causes of the refugee crisis but rather provides another arena for profiteering from human suffering.
Mark Akkerman for News Deeply with a reminder that the military-industrial complex is alive and well in Europe, too.

Africa’s 3 deadly deficits: Education, electricity, and taxes

We conclude that sub-Saharan Africa has three critical deficits: low levels and poor quality of education, low levels of electrification, and low levels of domestic revenue mobilization. These deficits are at the core of all other problems on the continent and—if left unaddressed—will make sustained development in sub-Saharan Africa nothing more than wishful thinking
Indermit Gill & Kenan Karakülah for Brookings introduce a new paper with key challenges for Africa to reach the SDGs.

Doctor Drain: An Exodus From Nigeria Threatens Its Health Care System

It isn’t opportunism that’s driving the “brain drain,” doctors insist. In fact, many of them who settle abroad return frequently to offer medical expertise, training and help in the land of their birth. Several others study abroad and return to Nigeria to practice medicine, only to face frustration.
Along with family physician Dr. Okechukwu Ekemezie, Elenwoke helped launch Docotal Health two years ago. A global network of Nigerian doctors who perform online medical consultations free of charge, Docotal Health is a way for Nigerian doctors to help at home from afar. Elenwoke stresses that while donating money and resources toward Nigeria’s health care system is helpful, the country’s medical problems will be settled only by long-term planning.
Molly Fosco for Ozy with a very nuanced piece on brain/doctor drain in Nigeria, but also the complexities of how diaspora doctors try to stay engaged in the country.

Stories of innovation and gender imbalance: in conversation with Tanya Accone
And in my experience I do think women in particular are often more collaborative, as a strength: a lot of amazing women I meet are often not as comfortable about talking about themselves and about their achievements as their male colleagues; it’s about gender norms, and cultural norms. In my experience, women are not often not culturally encouraged to stand out, to stake a claim and say ‘this is the piece of work that I did’, or ‘this is my achievement’; my female colleagues and peers have spoken about not wanting to grab attention for themselves or be seen to be ‘bragging’ or making themselves stand out, often preferring to see it as a collaborative effort rather than an individual achievement.
And that often means that the faces of humanitarian innovations are not women, especially women of colour.
Alexandra Tyers talks to UNICEF's Tanya Accone for Panoply Digital.

TEDx comes to the refugee camp (aka Think Your Way out of Oppression!)

Kakuma camp is a vibrant place, full of life, love, business, solidarity and creativity. On the surface, the TEDx event may therefore seem commendable. People who live in permanent situations of displacement should not be relegated to the status of “refugee victims”, but have their voices heard. However, doing this through TEDx as a media brand, which transports the values of neoliberal globalisation to the site of the refugee camp, is both cynical and harmful. The fact of the UNHCR organising this event shows the extent to which humanitarian agencies are abrogating the political responsibilities of states and instead using their influence, standing and resources to offer dubious entrepreneurial fixes.
Hanno Brankamp for African Arguments shares some critical reflections on the recent TedX event from Kakuma refugee camp in Kenya. His analysis resonates quite well with our own research on TED talks and their role in communicating global development discourses.

Africa's New Satirists Draw Political Fire

But political satire on the African continent now is moving to the canvas, television and computer screens, counting on the much harder-to-control social media share button that didn’t exist before. In Accra, Ghana, 28-year-old satirist Bright Ackwerh uses caricatures to highlight aspects of Ghanaian life often missed in the simplistic global narrative of the country as a stable, fast-growing economy. Nigeria’s biggest television station, Channels TV, airs a satirical show called The Other News that mocks the corruption and poor governance that hobbles the country. And Soi, observers say, is helping show Kenyan society a mirror.
Ayodeji Rotinwa for Ozy with an update on Africa's rapidly changing political humor and satire scene!

Can Help Hurt?

Robert Lough told the HPR that it is valuable to understand the perspectives of people who accept these volunteers. “Across the board if you ask [members of communities being visited by voluntourists], ‘Would you like these [unskilled] volunteers in the community or would you rather they didn’t come?’ The answer is always ‘Yes, we want them.’” The voluntourism industry, if relatively futile in it’s main initiatives, is not usually some evil scheme in disguise.
When voluntourists come in as a group of outsiders and fail to pay attention to the community’s needs and reactions it can have devastating effects; however, the idea of a group of people caring enough to travel around the world has positive impacts. Lough says members of these communities “often talk about feeling validated and feeling like someone cares, which has tangible value.” These positive experiences can also get voluntourists on a road to making real, meaningful change through long-term, skilled volunteering later in life.
Beverly Brown for the Harvard Political Review with a review of the volunteering/voluntourism debate. No, it's usually not 'some evil scheme in disguise', but as we are discussing issues of decolonization, gender, power etc. we need to think harder about the benefits and how global solidarity can be established beyond tradition 'from North to South' volunteering models.

The Next Trend In Travel Is… Don’t.

“Do we want more tourists? Maybe no,” said Balinese community activist Viebeke Lengkong last year. “It is a question of what kind of services we can actually provide for millions of tourists. Bali is in the middle of a water crisis. Bali is drying up.”
It’s reaching a breaking point. “The last time I went, I swore never again,” a friend recently told me, horrified by the number of people and amount of trash he saw. On his next vacation, he visited a small, relatively unknown island off Bali’s coast, thinking it would be quieter. It wasn’t. Tourists arrived by the boatload on the small island’s shores.
Bali is one among many places to feel the ill effects of mass tourism.
As Fodor’s suggests, don’t go to places that explicitly don’t want tourists, such as Venice and the Galapagos. Don’t go to places with economies that are overly dependent on tourism, such as Bali and Aruba. Don’t go to places unless you have a connection to a community there, suggests travel writer Bani Amor. And don’t go to volunteer or seek life-changing experiences abroad at the expense of the exotic “other”; such opportunities exist closer to home.
Alison Jane Smith for Bright Magazine with an indirect continuation of the travel/volunteering/engagement theme.

Our digital lives
Icelandic MP Outraged Over Topless Photo Shoot In Parliament

The piece in question, Demoncrazy, shows topless women challenging “the besuited, middle-aged, male image of power with which they grew up”, as the artist’s text explains. Which makes the complaints of Centre Party MP Sigmundur Davíð Gunnlaugsson all the more ironic.
Paul Fontaine for the Reykjavik Grapevine on an artistic intervention to highlight perceptions of power, but also how men & institutions are supposed to look like-also interesting food for thought for the #allmalepanel discussions.

Most meetings I have attended in my life have been truly awful

The tools for making meetings work well are incredibly simple, well known and rarely applied; for one reason: respect.
If we respected our colleagues time (and the people paying for it) we wouldn’t schedule meetings without a purpose or turn up late. If we respected the views of everyone present, we would ensure they all had a chance to contribute. If we respected those tasked with writing up summaries, we would make sure our comments were short and clear.
Most people would be horrified to think they routinely show a lack of respect for their colleagues. But wasting their most precious resource — time- is the definition of disrespect.
David Mcnair on how more respect for each other can lead to better meeting experiences.

Research Finds Tipping Point for Large-scale Social Change

According to a new paper published to be published tomorrow in Science (link is external), there is a quantifiable answer: roughly 25% of people need to take a stand before large-scale social change occurs. This idea of a social tipping point applies to standards in the workplace, and any type of movement or initiative.
While shifting people’s underlying beliefs can be challenging, Centola’s results offer new evidence that a committed minority can change what behaviors are seen as socially acceptable, potentially leading to pro-social outcomes like reduced energy consumption, less sexual harassment in the workplace, and improved exercise habits. Conversely, it can also prompt large-scale anti-social behaviors such as internet trolling, internet bullying, and public outbursts of racism.
Julie Sloane for the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Pennsylvania introduces Damon Centola's research paper and new book on how social change spreads.

Welcome to The Void, Where 99% of All Job Applications End Up
Résumés that list proficiency in Microsoft Office Suite, excellent organizational skills, and core competencies acquired during volunteer service in a gap year disintegrate into infinitesimally small pieces until they vanish completely and become one with the colorless mist you see floating above your heads.
Natalie Kopp for McSweeney's shares her comprehensive investigative analysis of what happens to CVs once you hit the 'send' button :) !


Sexual harassment is rife in the sciences, finds landmark US study

Sexual harassment is pervasive throughout academic science in the United States, driving talented researchers out of the field and harming others’ careers, finds a report from the US National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine in Washington DC. The analysis concludes that policies to fight the problem are ineffective because they are set up to protect institutions, not victims — and that universities, funding agencies, scientific societies and other organizations must take stronger action.
Alexandra Witze for Nature introduces the most comprehensive study so far on sexual harassment in US academia.

Interview – Robbie Shilliam
I would also hope that along the way you might consider the marginalized and obfuscated sources of moral philosophy, theology, political economy, historical sociology, political sociology, foreign policy analysis, hermeneutics, literature and anthropology. I would hope that you would realize that the sources most valorized by the academy tend to be racialized, gendered, classed, nationalized and (western) Christianized. I would further hope that you might at some point consider that living knowledge traditions are as theoretical as well-worn books. And it would be fantastic if you could gather all your thoughts and arguments in the various fora of IR, as well as in other places.
I am suggesting all this because to canonize IR theory is to obfuscate the field’s roots in imperial administration and to reproduce a set of concepts and narratives that are all predicated upon race, but unspeakably so. Such a canonization is therefore intellectually myopic, intellectually inadequate, and ultimately super-boring. I don’t really stress about the question as to whether IR is worth saving etc. because I know a lot of excellent early career and senior scholars who frequent its fora regularly. I guess I am suggesting that our field is at its best when approached as an applied studies rather than as a pretentious discipline.
Bryony Vince talks to Robbie Shilliam for E-International Relations about decolonizing IR and challenging the current state of the discipline.

A Journal Implodes

While HAU’s Board of Trustees says the move is due to the publication’s growth, current and former journal staffers are blaming the broken free-access promise on what they describe as failed and even abusive leadership.
Colleen Flaherty for Inside Higher Ed with a good overview over the unfolding HAU scandal that among many other things raises important questions about Western dominance in anthropology and an often toxic culture in academia that affects many disciplines.


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