Showing posts from 2020

Links & Contents I Liked 368

Hi all,

Like everybody else, I have found it incredible difficult not to feel defeated, overloaded and exhausted this week.
But as I was collecting this week's readings I also felt proud, less defeated and to some extent excited about the critical thinking and practical advice that has appeared at the intersection of decolonizing #globaldev research, humanitarian/aid work and remaining a critical global citizen.
P.S.: We are also looking for 1-2 new colleagues to join our program and I'm more than happy to answer informal inquiries!


My quotes of the week
But we are clearly still not trying hard enough, and this suggests a deeper reason. We can’t quite bear to share the system with ’them‘. We don’t really trust ‘them’ to get it right. Our colonial ancestors had misgivings about political independence, and so do we. And we like what we do and the rewards and reputation that it brings. Quite simply, we don’t want to give all this away.
(Is racism part of our reluctance to local…

Lords of Poverty (book review)

Unusual times require unusual readings and I finally found the time to read Graham Hancock’s Lords of Poverty-The power, prestige, and corruption of the international aid business.

I had always thought of Lords of Poverty as the source of Ross Coggins’ famous The Development Set poem, but it is not so I finally had to turn my attention to the remaining 200 pages of his book…

Similar to Cassens’ Does Aid Work? or Linear’s Zapping the Third World, Hancock’s book, first published in 1989, fits into an emerging discourse around exposing failed development aid at the end of the 1980s in in the style of mixing journalism, polemic exposure, a linear narrative of wasting taxpayers’ money topped off with a good dose of bureaucracy bashing. And if you think ‘well, that sounds an awful lot like the Daily Mail’s coverage of aid 30 years later’ you are pretty much bang on the money!

All jokes aside, this makes the book such an important and useful contribution to the ‘aid does not work’ canon, bec…

Links & Contents I Liked 367

Hi all,

It's getting a bit late this Friday afternoon-so without further delay follow this week's #globaldev review to Syria, the Philippines, Ethiopia, Chagos, Uganda, South Sudan, Kenya, the US & learn how work that George Clooney supports actually makes a difference!

My quotes of the week Whenever I spoke to affected persons, they would ask me if my home was flooded, I would tell them about my grandmother and for a brief moment we would share a commonly felt loss. And it did make a difference. Knowledge of the language, local pop culture, colloquial phrases, and power dynamics helped me to judge situations much more easily. With relatively few professionals from my state working in the humanitarian sector before the floods, I found myself being a useful bridge in many situations, explaining the context as well as the true nature of the beast that INGOs are (Who is local?)
Though this idea of working yourself to death is indeed both Western and white, as wit…

Links & Contents I Liked 366

Hi all,

Oxfam's bombshell announcement this week to lay of 1450 staff is only the latest concrete development around bigger questions around the future of (I)NGOs & civil society which are reflected in quite a few postings this week. And from the Ukraine to Papua New Guinea (with stop-overs in Kenya, Nepal, India, Bangladesh, US + UK) there is plenty of food for thought from around the globe as well!

My quotes of the week In the scramble to piece together the scope and scale of the clearance operations against the Rohingya, the numerous groups who came to Cox’s Bazar neither coordinated in any meaningful sense, nor benefitted from each other’s knowledge. Unsurprisingly, this has led to significant duplication on one hand, and large gaps in the narrative of what happened in northern Rakhine state on the other.
(Capturing a Crisis: What lessons can we learn from the “overdocumentation” of the Rohingya crisis?)
To achieve their stated goals of abolishing poverty, curbing …