Links & Contents I Liked 316

Hi all,

There has been a lot of terrible news since last week's review and luckily things have been a bit quieter in #globaldev-but there is lots of great food for reading this week-especially a new set of interesting reports and open access books that deserve more attention!

Development news from South Sudan, Solomon Islands, Guinea & the USA; plus: working for UNHCR; ICT4D & the Fourth Industrial Revolution; philanthropy & sex work(ers).

Our digital lives: Content moderation; Momo challenge hoax; Gwyneth Paltrow's uber-privilege.

Publications: Targeting Effectiveness; measuring empowerment the right way; participatory video to combat corruption; views from affected people in Afghanistan; new books on negotiating gender equity & the politics of education.

Academia: The inequality of LSE's new inequality chair; diversifying reading lists; Gender Gap Tracker in Canada.


Development news

LL3: Living Level-3 South Sudan
The 48-page graphic novel offers a snapshot of what life is like for one family in South Sudan. The crops have turned brown and brittle, the well has run dry, and they have gone four months without substantial food.
WFP already published their second graphic novel in January. I wrote about the first novel in 2016 & just used both books teaching a class on comics and social change!

The political economy of the Solomon Islands oil spill

Against this backdrop, there are no incentives, indeed, there is no need, for any of Solomon Islands’ 50 fragmented national MPs to worry themselves about a mounting environmental catastrophe which government neglect and malfeasance has contributed to. Not one vote cast at April’s upcoming election will be made on the basis of what is transpiring in Rennell. The vast majority of voters simply have no interest in matters beyond the personal: the provision of corrugated iron roofing, given by a local MP, upon which a similarly gifted cheap solar panel can be affixed. And this too is completely rational given a historical failure of government service delivery and limited livelihood options. At a political level, no one will be held accountable for this disaster.
While oil haemorrhages, the vexed question of how to address the fundamental problems underlying Solomon Islands’ natural resource sector continues to be ignored. And there are zero political repercussions for this; just as there have been none for the national government for foregoing much needed revenue by scrapping all export duties on bauxite in late 2016, and for quietly pulling out of the global standard for governance in minerals, the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative, last year.
Daniel Evans for Devpolicy Blog shares some great insights that link a 'current affairs' story to broader questions about governance & #globaldev!

Complaint Filed Against Bauxite Mining Company in Guinea

Last week, 13 rural communities in Guinea made public a complaint against the World Bank’s private lending arm over a loan to one of country’s largest bauxite miners, alleging its operations have destroyed ancestral farm lands and polluted vital water sources.
The complaint to the International Finance Corporation’s (IFC) Compliance Advisor Ombudsman is over a loan made to la Compagnie des Bauxites de Guinée (CBG), co-owned by the Guinean government and multinationals Alcoa and Rio Tinto.
Jim Wormington for Human Rights Watch with an all-too-familiar story of how global mining giants with the support from World Bank/IFC have a negative impact on many communities.

Shadow falls over Ethiopia reforms as warnings of crisis go unheeded

More than a million Ethiopians were forced from their homes by ethnic violence in 2018 – the highest number of internally displaced persons (IDPs) of any country last year. The worst of it took place in the south, where an estimated 800,000 mostly ethnic Gedeos fled the district of West Guji in Oromia, the country’s largest region.
Aid workers speak with alarm at the prospect of yet another round of premature returns, especially since it will coincide with the start of the national census in April (possibly triggering more violence). Involuntary returns and the “instrumentalisation” of humanitarian aid are, of course, breaches of humanitarian principles.
Tom Gardner for the Guardian with a reminder that Ethiopia still has a long way to go despite opening up, economic growth, reconciliation efforts with Eritrea.

US Abortion Restrictions Violate Women’s Human Rights

The global gag rule stifles the speech of doctors and other health care providers, preventing them from informing their patients of all the medical options available to them. This censorship worsens stigma, particularly for individuals living with HIV and AIDS, sex workers, members of the LGBTQ community and people with disabilities.
We must hold our leaders accountable to the human-rights framework that the US and 171 other parties have agreed upon. As state parties prepare for the UN Human Rights Committee meeting on March 25, when they will report on the implementation of the ICCPR, we urge them to insist on access to safe abortion as a right. The history of the US disregarding international human-rights standards should not be accepted as the status quo.
Serra Sippel & Akila Radhakrishnan for PassBlue with a reminder that fancy PR initiatives by America's first family hide the truth about the US' shameful record when it comes to women's rights globally.

Real talk: The thrills and risks of being a female humanitarian worker
Like you said, I sob like a baby in any movie. And I will cry as well, even after 30 years. But I just try and hope that it is not in a field setting. Our job is to help the people and therefore us being emotional in some instances might work, it might help them to feel that we’re empathetic, that we understand, but in other situations it might be the opposite—‘How is this woman going to help us if she’s crying? We do enough of it ourselves and we need somebody strong and determined.’ Of course we’re human, so as much as you want to have this emotion, sometimes you just have to deal with it and accept that it’s probably not the right emotion at that right time.
Aurvasi Patel & Eujin Byun for UNHCR share some interesting and frank (for an official UN organizational blog) insights their work for International Women's Day. There was some criticism around the Internet, but I still believe that such blogs can and should spark important discussions about our industry.

Why the notion of a Fourth Industrial Revolution is so problematic

The problem is that although the espoused aspirations to do good of those acclaiming the Fourth Industrial Revolution may indeed be praiseworthy, they are starting at the wrong place. The interests of those shaping these technologies are not primarily in changing the basis of our society into a fairer and more equal way of living together, but rather they are in competing to ensure their dominance and wealth as far as possible into the future. The idea of a Fourth Industrial Revolution seeks to legitimise such behaviour at all levels from that of states such as the USA, to senior leaders and investors in technology companies, to young entrepreneurs eager to make their first million. Almost all are driven primarily by their interests in money bent on the accretion of money; some are beguiled by the prestige of potential status as a hero of the Fourth Industrial Revolution. In some cultures such behaviour is indeed seen as being good, but in others there are greater goods. The Fourth Industrial Revolution is in large part a conspiracy to shape the world ever more closely in the imagination of a small, rich, male and powerful élite.
Tim Unwin with a great long-read on the myths of the 'Fourth Industrial revolution' and their implications for ICT4D & #globaldev.

Out of the Shadows: What Philanthropy is Doing to Support Sex Worker Movements Around the World

Abdalla of the Kenya Sex Workers Alliance said, “Sex workers are feminists, too. We belong in the feminist movement. My body, my business!”
An anonymous sex worker from Southeast Asia said, “Funders should have courage. Be willing to listen to us and support us in our struggle to have our rights respected and our voices heard.”
Julia Travers for Inside Philanthropy. My rather short quote does not do justice to this great long-read on the past, present & future of philanthropy engaging with sex work(ers).

Why You Should Stop Trying to Save the World

If you really want to make a difference, start by taking time for yourself right now because you can’t “change the world” if you’re not around long enough to make that happen. Also know that emails, projects, and other work will never stop or slow down enough for you to catch up. There will never be a perfect time to take time for you. If you’re doing worthwhile work, there will never be a shortage of challenges on your plate.
So, I hereby give you permission to stop trying to save the world. If you stop thinking you must go to work each day and save the world, you lift a tremendous burden off yourself and those around you.
Yes, go out and do good. Work hard. Make a difference. But also make time to be present for your family and friends. Have a hobby. Take care of yourself.
Meico Marquette Whitlock for npEngage with a important reminder at the end of yet another busy week...

Our digital lives

The Human Costs of Content Moderation
What, if anything, should be banned from online media? And who should review violent and explicit content, in order to decide if it’s okay for the public? Thousands of people around the world are working long, difficult hours as content moderators in support of sites like Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. They are guided by complex and shifting guidelines, and their work can sometimes lead to psychological trauma. But the practice of content moderation also raises questions about censorship and free expression online.
Manoush Zomorodi, Ellen Silver, Kalev Leetaru & Kat Lo for Mozilla's podcast series with an good overview over current debates in online content moderation.

Momo challenge shows how even experts are falling for digital hoaxes

Of course this applies more to older children and teenagers. But the pressure and desire to protect children from the horrors of the internet could inadvertently cause parents to engage with, or expose their children to, distressing content they would not have otherwise.
Digital hoaxes highlight the need for everyone to think more critically about online information. Often the hype can distract us from the real online issues affecting children and young people and the need for greater advice and support for suicide prevention in general.
Lisa Sugiura & Anne Kirby for the Conversation put the recent viral hoax into a broader evidence-based framework that as usual makes the Conversation such a great resource for sharing!

Gwyneth Paltrow Owns Up to Goop’s Mistakes at SXSW: ‘We Thought We Were Writing a Blog'

Asked about her willingness to poke fun at these controversies and at her own public image, as she did during a recent SNL appearance, Paltrow beatifically responded, “Throughout this whole journey from the change of career and trying to build a company, I think it’s really important to always have a sense of humor about everything in life.”
Amy Zimmerman for Daily Beast on a mind-bogging example of what happens when uber-privileged celebrities start a company, the devaluation of any kind of expertise & how to laugh it off at SNL even though real people are affected by GOOP's pseudo-science and faux empowerment claims...

Hit and Miss: An assessment of targeting effectiveness in social protection

The findings are a damning indictment of advocates for targeting effectiveness, with only one of the programmes reaching over half of the poorest 20 per cent of the households it is targeted at.
Interesting new paper from Development Pathways on selecting social protection target recipients.

Ensuring the participation of women and girls in the measurement of empowerment

How development programmes choose to measure the empowerment of women and girls impacts whether an intervention ultimately contributes to or impedes their empowerment. In a new paper, KIT Royal Tropical Institute provides insight and guidance on the value of participatory approaches, those that ground the measurement of empowerment in the lives and perspectives of women and girls.
Julie Newton, Anouka van Eerdewijk & Franz Wong with a new paper from KIT Royal Tropical Institute.

Combatting Corruption through Participatory Video

The guide outlines exercises and approaches to using participatory video in this context to open ears and minds and help other ordinary citizens, chiefs, business leaders and politicians move out of their filter bubbles and into the realities of those they rarely meet, let alone listen to. The lived experiences of the women and men affected by corruption and the impact on entire communities, cultures and ecosystems are all-too-often absent from the anti-corruption conversation. Overcoming the apathy of citizens towards the corruption that corrodes society and thwarts development – often tolerated as intractable or accepted as inevitable – requires people everywhere to be informed and empowered to take action. We hope this guidebook contributes in a very practical and tangible way to strengthening that important movement.
Another new paper-this one from Gareth Benest for Insight Share.

Survey of affected people and humanitarian staff in Afghanistan

Affected people also feel slightly more optimistic about being able to live without aid in the future, and prospects of life in Afghanistan more broadly. Those who are sceptical about their ability to become self-reliant indicate a need for income-generating activities, shelter, increase in the quantity of aid and improved security.
Affected people still have mixed views on the relevance of available aid, with almost equal shares agreeing and disagreeing on whether aid is meeting their most pressing needs.
The views of humanitarian staff have become more sceptical on two accounts: they believe the support that national and local organisations receive is less sufficient and the collaboration between humanitarian and development actors less effective than in the previous survey round.
Ground Truth Solutions, OECD & UK Aid with some interesting, albeit not really surprising findings that the humanitarian, let alone development context in Afghanistan remains fragile...

Negotiating Gender Equity in the Global South (Open Access)

the book investigates the conditions under which countries in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia have adopted legislation against domestic violence, which remains widespread in many developing countries. The book demonstrates that women’s presence in formal politics and policy spaces does not fully explain the pace in adopting and implementing domestic violence law. Underlying drivers of change within broader domains of power also include the role of clientelistic politics and informal processes of bargaining, coalition-building, and persuasion; the discursive framing of gender-equitable ideas; and how transnational norms influence women’s political inclusion and gender-inclusive policy outcomes. The comparative approach across Uganda, Rwanda, South Africa, Ghana, India, and Bangladesh demonstrates how advancing gender equality varies by political context and according to the interests surrounding a particular issue.
Sohela Nazneen, Sam Hickey & Eleni Sifaki with a new open access book from Routledge!

The Politics of Education in Developing Countries

The problem of education quality is serious across the Global South. The Politics of Education in Developing Countries: From Schooling to Learning deploys a new conceptual framework-the domains of power approach-to show how the type of political settlement shapes the level of elite commitment and state capacity to improving learning outcomes. The domain of education is prone to being highly politicized, as it offers an important source of both rents and legitimacy to political elites, and can be central to paradigmatic elite ideas around nation-building and modernity.
Sam Hickey & Naomi Hossain with another great open access book from Oxford University Press!


LSE announces Amartya Sen Chair in Inequality Studies

The London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) has announced the creation of the Amartya Sen Chair in Inequality Studies, named in honour of the India-born economist, philosopher and Nobel laureate, who was Professor of Economics at LSE from 1971-82.
The holder of the Amartya Sen Chair in Inequality Studies will also serve as Director of the International Inequalities Institute (III), LSE’s flagship initiative focused on studying and challenging one of the most pressing issues of our time.
Names mentioned in this LSE article (including named chairs): Minouche Shafik (no link to her profile on LSE pages or referring to her by her full name or title as 'Dame'), Amartya Sen, Professor Sir Tim Besley, Christopher G. Oechsli, Professor Mike Savage (Martin White Chair), Professor Sir John Hills (Richard Titmuss Chair)-so much white male entitlement in such a small piece on 'inequality' and academia...

How Diverse is your Reading List? (Probably not very…)

The results indicated a grim reality. Non-Africa based scholars represented between 73.2 and 100 per cent of cited authors in surveyed reading lists. Out of the 274 assigned readings for a Development Studies course at a leading British university, only one reading was from an author based at an African institution. Course conveners at African universities included their papers and those of their colleagues in their reading lists, raising the share of African-based authors to a maximum of 26.78 per cent at a top South African university. However, we have not noticed much of a pan-African citation pattern.
Tin Hinane El Kadi for Global Policy with a very suitable reminder of how 'inequalities' manifest in classroom teaching & scholarly production.

Researchers are tracking the media’s gender gap

The Gender Gap Tracker uses advanced data analysis to cull and break down the numbers of men and women quoted in mainstream Canadian media. Co-developed by Informed Opinions, a non-profit advocacy organization, and researchers at Simon Fraser University, the tracker indicates men’s voices outnumber women’s in the media by a ratio of nearly three to one.
“That’s pretty pathetic,” says Informed Opinions founder and project lead Shari Graydon. “Democracy is essentially about being represented. If half of your potential audience is female but they never see themselves reflected on your program or in your paper, you’re missing critical insights.”
Becky Rynor for University Affairs on a new initiative from Canada.


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