Links & Contents I Liked 320

Hi all,

We were saving the best for last this week and enjoyed Kate Wright's keynote on Who's reporting Africa now? today!

Development news:
UNHCR & asylum for sale in Kenya; the never-ending crisis in Western Sahara; donating beer; cheap antibiotics in Kenya; everyday sexism on Nigeria's street markets; learning from DRC's mining deals; Botswana's Heavy Metal Queens; career in the humanitarian sector; Syria-8 years into the conflict; Caribou Digital turns 5, ictworks turns 10!
Our digital lives: Facebook's AI maps Africa; AI monitoring staff in UK companies.

Publications: Australia is serious about banning orphanage tourism & exploitation; local response to Indonesia's earthquake; mental health in Syria.

Academia: Huge fine for predatory publisher; the case for decolonized anthropology; the trouble with teaching evaluations.


Development news

Asylum for sale: Refugees say some U.N. workers demand bribes for resettlement

Many refugees who cannot pay bribes said their personal cases, including detailed interviews and fraught histories establishing a need for resettlement, were stolen by others who can afford to skip the queue to a new life. Some report going to the UNHCR after years of interviews and other procedural checks, only to be told they had already resettled, leading them to conclude someone else had gone abroad using their identity.
Asylum for sale: Whistleblowers say U.N. refugee agency does not always address corruption
Former UNHCR and U.N. investigators, as well as others with experience of U.N. processes, also argue that diplomatic immunity allows U.N. staff to exploit refugees without fear of punishment. "There has been a bit of movement but it's moving the deck chairs on the Titanic. You'll never get accountability with them policing themselves," said Edward Flaherty, a Geneva-based lawyer who's worked on U.N.-related cases for two decades.
"The U.N. fiddles around the edges, they issue new policies, [but] the immunity and impunity remains. The lack of accountability remains. … It's amazing that [corruption] is still being revealed, because the U.N. crushes whistleblowers."
Asylum for sale: Male refugees victimized by sexual violence say officials wanted bribes to help
Like other refugees interviewed for this series, the sexual violence survivors in Nakivale reported the corruption they came up against to the UNHCR, but said they only suffered more afterward. The UNHCR's Inspector General's Office lacks the independence, local knowledge and desire to properly investigate, according to former and current UNHCR staff and two former U.N. investigators. Dozens of refugees across five countries, interviewed as part of this investigation, say the IGO has tended to clear allegedly corrupt officials rather than supporting refugees who are victims of them.
Sally Hayden for NBC News with a three-part investigative story centering around Dadaab camp in Kenya. While this is a detailed investigation there doesn't seem to be many new insights 'we' in #globaldev don't already know. But the overall question remains how a 20th century UN bureaucracy can be dealing with the 21st century demands of accountability and transparency...

Western Sahara: “No one even knows if we’re there or not.”

The UN promised a referendum on self-determination for the Sahrawis as part of the 1991 agreement, but the terms of that vote have never been agreed. The Algeria-backed Polisario Front demands the option for full independence, but Morocco is only willing to consider autonomy under its flag.
Anna Theofilopoulou, who was part of the UN’s negotiating team from 1994 - 2006, says she is “doubtful” the referendum will ever happen.
“For reasons outside Polisario's control, for the most part, it has not managed to [deliver a referendum],” she says. “But it remains engaged in the UN process while having to contend with mounting frustration in the camps, especially among the young people.”
Ruairi Casey for the New Humanitarian about the 'cold conflict' in Western Sahara and the sad limbo for yet another generation of young people.

Chinese firm chided for beer donation to starving residents

The donation of Tsingtao beer brand was delivered to residents of Tiaty by a Chinese Company, Ghuanshan International Mining Company Limited, on Friday.
Baringo is one of the areas most affected by the ongoing drought triggered by delayed long rains.
Dr Ombacho said food donations must meet the accepted standards to avoid poisoning desperate people.
"While we welcome people of goodwill to support, it must be proper food fit for human consumption," he said.
John Muchangi for the Star. While this is not a story about Heineken in Africa it illustrates the (ab)use of beer in Kenya-with a Chinese twist this time...

In a Poor Kenyan Community, Cheap Antibiotics Fuel Deadly Drug-Resistant Infections

But the government has made little headway in enforcing laws that require prescriptions for buying antibiotics, nor has it done much to stem the flow of bootleg drugs that spill across the nation’s 400-mile border with Somalia.
Andrew Jacobs & Matt Richtel for the New York Times turning this week's link review into a kind of Kenya issue...

'Stop Touching Us': Women Protest Against Harassment At Nigeria's Street Markets

Market March has been effective at reducing market harassment in markets, says Jekein Lato-Unah, head of projects and human rights and advocacy at Stand to End Rape Initiative, a nonprofit organization that focuses on creating awareness on violence against women and girls and who's not involved with the Market March movement.
"I visited the market sometime in January this year and what used to be five to ten men verbally harassing me was reduced to just one man raining curses on me because I told him off. We don't expect change immediately but it's good to know a lot of them digested Market March messages," Lato-Unah says.
Kelechukwu Iruoma for NPR Goats & Soda continues their reporting on everyday sexism in Nigeria.

The DRC and China’s Sicomines: why future deals should be different

Future deals like this present an opportunity to change the model followed in Sicomines and by most Sino-African trade relations. This has, to date, essentially involved China supplying value-added manufactured goods and high-skilled workers. In exchange, African countries have agreed to export mainly primary-based resource products. And African workers are hired for unskilled, low-cost tasks.
Andoni Maiza Larrarte & Gloria Claudio-Quiroga for the Conversation on Chinese-led 'modernization' efforts in DRC and across Africa.

Botswana’s Heavy Metal Queens

A heavy metal fan base has been developing in Botswana for years now, and a surprising number of women from across the generations are identifying with the genre as they rebel against a society structured along patriarchal lines.
Deutsche Welle with a 42-minute documentary from the cultural frontlines in Botswana.

How to launch a career in the humanitarian sector

Two of the most frequent questions that we receive daily from users of the ReliefWeb jobs section are "Where can I send a job application?" and "How can I help or collaborate with you?" Many of these messages come from university graduates seeking to make positive contributions to the world and looking for an entry point.
Carlos Hinojosa for Reliefweb with a short overview over how to enter 'our' sector and how to use Reliefweb to find interesting opportunities.

I stopped by your house in Syria today, but no one was home
It’s that time of year again when the media remind us that the conflict in Syria began on March 15, 2011, but we both know that wars seldom start or stop with such precision. We also know that this date has another meaning for your family: it’s the day your youngest brother was born. It’s amazing how fast these eight years have flown by, and how slowly. How much pain they have brought your family, and also some joy.
Chris Reardon from UNHCR with a very personal post on commemorating the 8th anniversary of the conflict in Syria.

Five reflections on five years

As a tangible example of this compression and globalization of the challenge of shaping new technologies for good, consider ‘digital identity’. Over several recent and ongoing projects, it’s become clear to us that the challenges states face in granting digital identities to the one billion people who lack a digital identity are intertwined with (indeed, possibly at cross-purposes with) of the challenges of preventing surveillance, tracking, and erosion of privacy that concern many of us in the Global North. In a sense, there are a billion people who are seen too little by the emerging digital infrastructure, and at least a billion who now feel they are seen too much. Good policymaking and good innovation will keep the tension between these issues in mind. One can’t be solved without the other.
Chris Locke for Caribou Digital reflects on the first 5 years of their digital consultancy network whose work I have highlighted more than once on the blog!

Wow! 10 Years of ICTworks in Your Inbox

Beyond the raw numbers, our posts travel far and wide on forwards from one friend to another, creating awareness and excitement well beyond our actual subscribers.
For example, multiple research requests are leading to new findings and your provocative posts calling for real change in the industry create new collaborations and new initiatives.
In addition, ICTworks posts helped create the MERL Tech and ICTforAg conferences, and contributed to USAID Digital Development Forums in Ghana, Zambia, India, and Central America.
Congratulations Wayan Vota & the team from for ICTworks for 10 amazing ICT4D years!

Our digital lives

Facebook’s AI team maps the whole population of Africa

A new map of nearly all of Africa shows exactly where the continent’s 1.3 billion people live, down to the meter, which could help everyone from local governments to aid organizations. The map joins others like it from Facebook created by running satellite imagery through a machine learning model.
Devin Coldewey for Techcrunch with interesting news about mapping Africa...see tweets below for critical reflections.

UK businesses using artificial intelligence to monitor staff activity
Dozens of UK business owners are using artificial intelligence to scrutinise staff behaviour minute-to-minute by harvesting data on who emails whom and when, who accesses and edits files and who meets whom and when.
The actions of 130,000 people in the UK and abroad are being monitored in real time by the Isaak system, which ranks staff members’ attributes.
Robert Booth for the Guardian with a development that is coming to your #globaldev or academic workplace soon as well ?!?


Benevolent harm: Orphanages, voluntourism and child sexual exploitation in South-East Asia
This paper summarises the processes by which children become vulnerable to sexual exploitation and related harms within or facilitated by orphanages. It concludes by canvassing the international, regional and domestic initiatives that respond to these risks, as well as strategies designed to prevent the sexual exploitation of children living in orphanages.
Samantha Lyneham & Lachlan Facchini for the Australian Institute of Criminology continuing the country's efforts to curb orphanage voluntourism.

Charting The New Norm? Local Leadership in the first 100 days of the Sulawesi Earthquake Response

Humanitarian response that is locally owned and led is becoming the new norm for humanitarian assistance in the Asia-Pacific region. National governments are increasingly setting their own localisation agendas and requiring international actors to reconsider traditional humanitarian roles.The Sulawesi response takes us closer to understanding the new norm and provides lessons for how humanitarian actors need to adapt.
A really interesting new paper from the Humanitarian Advisory Group and the Pujiono Centre from Indonesia.

Mental health during the Syrian crisis: How Syrians are dealing with the psychological effects
In a country where mental health was still considered an emerging field before the war, Syrians are working to address and manage the mental health and psychological effects of war. Despite this disastrous situation, there appears to have been significant progress in the field of mental health during the crisis.
Mazen Hedar for International Review of the Red Cross with an open access article that discusses another important aspect of the humanitarian mental health agenda.


$50-million fine for predatory publisher that swallowed up Canadian science journals

A judge in Nevada has fined the world’s biggest publisher of fake science journals more than $50 million, quoting evidence from this newspaper that helped demonstrate the publisher’s deceptive practices.
Tom Spears for the Ottawa Citizen with an update from the predatory publishing empire of OMICS which will hopefully go out of business after this verdict!

Decolonizing the Classroom: A Conversation with Girish Daswani

I do think that sociocultural anthropology is qualified to help the world in thinking through Eurocentric, misogynistic, and capitalist views of the world; to bring attention to how power operates, its various scales and institutional similarities and differences; and to help bring a comparative perspective to the diverse ways that humans and nonhumans have (in the past and present) continued to coexist and resist. Primarily, we do that through our methodology of long-term participant-observation and through the ways we put the pieces of our research together, in conversations between people and social theories, slowly and carefully over time. We do not hurry to make sweeping comparisons or to create far-reaching theories that strip others of their complexity. This precision is our strength, even as we make the supposedly strange familiar and show how the familiar can sometimes be strange.
Sarah O'Sullivan talks to Girish Daswani for Cultural Anthropology makes an excellent why we need more (decolonized) anthropology!

Gender Bias in Teaching Evaluations

Despite the fact that neither students’ grades nor self-study hours are affected by the instructor’s gender, we find that women receive systematically lower teaching evaluations than their male colleagues. This bias is driven by male students’ evaluations, is larger for mathematical courses, and particularly pronounced for junior women. The gender bias in teaching evaluations we document may have direct as well as indirect effects on the career progression of women by affecting junior women’s confidence and through the reallocation of instructor resources away from research and toward teaching.
Friederike Mengel, Jan Sauermann & Ulf Zรถlitz with an open access article for the Journal of the European Economic Association - a perfect reminder as many terms are wrapping up now and universities continue to take student evaluations very seriously and at face value.


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