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Hi all,

It has been a while since I published my last book review-so I'm glad that a new one for Keenie Meenie is up now!

The Covid-19 section features some interesting pieces on how the virus is affecting platform workers in the South & there are plenty of other interesting readings on Dutch reparations, fundraising communication, safeguarding in #globaldev research & more!


My quotes of the week

“We are now down to zero income, zero savings, and have zero insurance. We’ve managed to get through the last two weeks using donations from friends.”
(How are platform workers in Kenya, Ghana and Nigeria responding to the Covid-19 crisis?)

As the research shows, contributors want their voices heard and to have a greater say in the stories that are told about them. So to continue showing need without changing the process by which we gather stories, or without investing in other, broader depictions, would be to undermine the research findings entirely.

(You’ve been reframed – Putting the contributor centre frame: What the people in our pictures think about the way we tell their stories.)

(T)he prioritisation of sexual and physical harms may downplay structural violence and root causes; and that a focus on vulnerabilities and the protection of individuals may discourage a preventative approach to construct and ensure a safe environment.
(Safeguarding in International Development Research: Report on Phase 2 International Consultation)

New from aidnography
Keenie Meenie (book review)

All in all, Miller’s book is a stellar example of using investigative journalism to uncover important aspects of British foreign policy during a period of imperial and colonial decline and the ascent of the ‘neoliberal state’, even if he had to wait thirty years for documents to be declassified.
I can only recommend the book highly and it deserves a broad readership beyond those who are interested in international politics and the political economy of private security companies.
Keenie Meenie should be added to reading lists for peace, conflict and development studies courses because it provides such a wealth of practical, on-the-ground insights into abstract concepts such as ‘imperialism’ or ‘war crimes’!
COVID-19 & #globaldev
Coronavirus and aid: What we’re watching, 30 April - 6 May

This week’s updates on how COVID-19 is disrupting aid efforts around the globe.
The New Humanitarian really has become my go-to resource for #globaldev Corona coverage!

Coronavirus: Kenyans moved by widow cooking stones for children

Kenyans have rallied to the aid of a widow filmed cooking stones for her eight children to make them believe she was preparing food for them.
Peninah Bahati Kitsao, who lives in Mombasa, hoped they would fall asleep while they waited for their meal.
Ms Kitsao's story of desperation has coincided with the revelation that the health ministry has spent huge sums of money, donated by the World Bank to respond to the pandemic, on tea, snacks and mobile phone airtime for its staff.
Details about how many people were provided for are unclear, nonetheless there has been outrage on social media that the government is spending such amounts at a time many Kenyans continue to suffer, our reporter says.
BBC News with a sad story about the impact of lockdowns in Kenya.

Early impacts of Coronavirus on Bangladesh apparel supply chains

Finally, the move to PPE production in the Bangladesh RMG sector could arguably accelerate viral transmission, rather than reduce it. As detailed above, the vast numbers of factories not following safety protocols puts the garment workers who manufacture the PPE at great risk. Herein lies the bitter irony: workers are sent back to factories with little enforcement of the protections needed to keep them safe, just so they can produce the PPE that will help protect others.
As brands and retailers evaluate their sourcing decisions and overall re-building strategies, the authors encourage utilizing the UNDP self-assessment tool as well as joining the ILO’s Call to Action and subsequent efforts.
Erin Leitheiser, Syeda Nusaiba Hossain, Shuvro Sen, Gulfam Tasnim, Jeremy Moon, Jette Steen Knudsen & Shahidur Rahman for a Danida-funded research project with a first more thorough review of how the garment sector will be affected by Coronavirus.

How are platform workers in Kenya, Ghana and Nigeria responding to the Covid-19 crisis?

In the meantime, we’d like to share some of the platform workers’ stories with you. The trends are consistent, and concerning. The Covid-19 pandemic has slowed down work; incomes have fallen, and expenses have risen. Many of these workers don’t have savings, insurance or any other safety-net to fall back on. They are extremely worried about how to make ends meet as the crisis continues to unfold.
Annabel Schiff for Caribou Digital. I really like the idea of listening to the voices of those platform workers that are directly affected by the current crisis!

Protecting Gig Workers During Covid-19: What Platforms Must Do

Overall, we find widespread responses by platforms to the current pandemic with occasional examples of comprehensive and enlightened policies. But there are a number of issues in most platforms’ responses to date:
- There is a gap between rhetoric and reality: platforms have been far better at publicising responses than at actually delivering them to workers.
- There is a skew in stakeholder focus: platform responses have served shareholders, investors and customers before workers, even though it is workers who form the foundation of all value for the platform.
- There is a timidity: while governments have torn up ideologies and rulebooks, platforms have generally been only incremental in their response and have too often used the language of the get-out clause rather than that of the guarantee.
Platforms have loaded risks and responsibilities onto others: too many platforms interpret “wash your hands” less in terms of the virus and more in terms of their responsibilities to their workers; throwing that responsibility onto governments for financial support and onto individual workers for their own protection from coronavirus.
Richard Heeks for ICTs for Development with an overview over new research on how digital platforms have started to respond to the Corona crisis.

Can the UN establish a virtual new normal?

“The worst thing that can happen is member states do things in isolation and behind closed doors. The U.N. is based on precedent and this sets a pretty bad precedent if member states go behind closed doors and negotiate on things without, at the bare minimum, engaging with non-state actors,” Romano said.
Even when social distancing measures are loosened, Gowan and other experts said they think the transition to remote events and conversations could carry over. It is a cheaper option, and also could allow for more public engagement — if conducted correctly.
“I do think that the U.N. will rely on remote meetings more after the pandemic. After all, meeting virtually offers opportunities to integrate U.N. officials in the field and headquarters into real-time conversations,” Gowan said.
Amy Lieberman for DevEx with interesting insights of how large #globaldev organizations can take advantage of the new digital/virtual realities.

Why Confront COVID-19 with Cartoons and Humour?
Humor isn’t merely entertainment. It’s smart, strategic communication. And frankly, we need to get smarter, fast. Otherwise, COVID-19 and other shocks and stressors will lead to the laughably predictable mistakes that FP2P has been highlighting for over a decade.Cartoons, and the collective process of cartoon creation and reflection, can harness the power of humor, taking us from darkness to spark illumination and transformative action.
Pablo Suarez for fp2p on the potential of humorous visual communication.

A global humanitarian Marshall Plan

Wealthy countries are mobilising humanitarian aid, including public health and medical and food assistance; such measures are welcome and necessary. But, as I have witnessed in nearly two decades of working in global crisis response, aid is not a substitute for political and diplomatic action. More than ever before, the welfare of the world’s poorest must be the responsibility of all nations, for the benefit of all nations.
History will judge us based on how well we look after the most vulnerable among us. The coronavirus crisis has brought to light the cracks in our global system. If we do not see the same kind of ‘whatever it takes’ mentality used in developed countries applied more widely, then our war against this pandemic could last decades, not months, and lay waste not just to lives and livelihoods, but also to our collective future.
Ben Ramalingam for the RSA with a global c all for action based on his extensive insights into humanitarian responses.

The corona pandemic blows the lid off the idea of Western superiority

The history of International Development Cooperation thus far has taught us that where we choose to get our knowledge from is literally a matter of life and death. Eurocentrism and Whiteness have for centuries decided who gets to live and survive, and whose death we do not even mourn; when we declare states of emergency or disaster, and when not. To reflect on who we consider experts and who not, which knowledges we value, becomes then one of the many ways in which we can break the murderous White/Eurocentric bias of the past and the present.
The Corona pandemic blows the lid off the idea of Western superiority. The situation is too serious to find any joy in this or read some cosmic poetic justice in it. Too many people, everywhere in the world – including those who we know and love – are at risk.
Olivia Rutazibwa with more food for thought on how decolonizing crisis responses should be high on the #globaldev agenda!

Remote tools: what do I (Jayne) use?

It’s become a frequently asked question of me, since I have worked remotely, from home, for so many, many years, and because I work with so many colleagues, including volunteers, who are also working from home
Jayne Craven who has worked from her home office before it became cool shares hands-on advice & useful tools and working with (online) volunteers.

Development news

Enabling Media Markets to Work for Democracy: An International Fund for Public Interest Media

Developed by BBC Media Action with the support of and in cooperation with Luminate, this document outlines the case for, and the practical feasibility of establishing, an International Fund for Public Interest Media (IFPIM). The purpose of such a fund would be to support the development, sustainability, and independence of public interest media, especially in resource-poor and fragile settings. The study builds on and has sought to reflect the perspectives of hundreds of people from the donor, media support, journalistic, academic, international development, and other communities in multiple geographies who provided their insights over the period of a year. Rooted in the feedback from that process, this document sets out the mission, principles, governance, structure, impact measurement, and other arrangements necessary to establish an IFPIM.
James Deane for the Communication Initiative Network outlines the groundwork to establish a International Fund for Public Interest Media.

The Netherlands will pay reparations to Indonesian victims of colonial atrocities. Could the UK do the same?

While it has resisted paying reparations, the Dutch Government has formally apologised for the brutal violence it inflicted across the Indonesian archipelago during the 1940s.
Many atrocities occurred as the Netherlands resisted the creation of an Indonesian nation after founding father Sukarno proclaimed independence on August 17, 1945.
So what are the international implications of recognising colonial-era massacres, and could similar cases be lodged on behalf of Australian Aboriginal victims of colonial violence?
Max Walden for ABC News Australia with interesting developments from Indonesia on the question of colonial reparations.

You’ve been reframed – Putting the contributor centre frame: What the people in our pictures think about the way we tell their stories.

Contributors clearly have much to say about the process of telling their stories and their later portrayal, but very few platforms on which to share these opinions. It is our responsibility to create these platforms, both privately in our processes and publicly through our content. As the research shows, contributors want their voices heard and to have a greater say in the stories that are told about them. So to continue showing need without changing the process by which we gather stories, or without investing in other, broader depictions, would be to undermine the research findings entirely. Consent processes need to be improved
Jess Crombie for Rogare with really interesting new paper on how beneficiaries ought to be represented in fundraising materials.

Safeguarding in International Development Research: Report on Phase 2 International Consultation

Together, the sources of data provided extensive, detailed and insightful feedback on the definition, terminology and practical application of safeguarding principles, and how these ideas translated into different languages and contexts. These included comments that the prioritisation of sexual and physical harms may downplay structural violence and root causes; and that a focus on vulnerabilities and the protection of individuals may discourage a preventative approach to construct and ensure a safe environment. Other practical points that were raised included patchy coverage of local ethics committees in some countries, and power dynamics between researchers, study participants and international partners. A number of key informants highlighted the problem that too often there is an extractive approach in international development research with the focus on collection of data potentially straining the relationship between the research, the researcher and the community being researched, even putting fieldworkers at risk. There was strong and consistent support for the aim of providing guidance on safeguarding, using a rights-based approach to safeguarding that is integrated, equitable, co-designed and sensitive to different roles and contexts.
Alex Balch, Surekha Garimella, Bintu Mansaray, Linnea Renton, Adriana Smith & Leona Vaughn for the UK Collaborative on Development Research with interesting findings on the broadening debates on 'safeguarding' in #globaldev research & practice.

Special Issue: Five Years of the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction

it is a mixed bag of advantages, disadvantages, neutral traits, missed opportunities, and bold leadership that is saving lives daily and decadally. National governments can and do act—and sometimes they cannot and do not act. The same for people, nonnational governments, intergovernmental agencies, nonprofit groups, and for-profit organizations. Ultimately, the key challenge is to find commonalities for pushing forward together and collaboratively for common goals, irrespective of a diversity of resources, interests, and pathways.
This also means identifying and filling in the gaps. This special issue includes authors living on every inhabited continent with a balance of ages, career stages, disciplines, ethnicities, and genders. But who is missing? I did not know or enquire about other characteristics such as disability, sexuality, identity, and citizenship. Similarly, so many key topics are absent, such as gender, Arctic experiences, islander perspectives, mountain peoples, local and indigenous knowledges and wisdoms, everyday risks, prisoners, homeless people, and the roles of specific hazard influencers such as climate change, El Niño, and multi-decadal oscillations. There is plenty more to do in terms of learning from, connecting with, and improving the Sendai Framework.
Ilan Kelman from the introduction to this special open access issue of the International Journal of Disaster Risk Science.

What we were reading 5 years ago
(Link review 152, 6 August 2015)
Barbara Bush, the rise of global health & white privilege

Besides the name and super-well-connected family, do we need 33 year-old white, Yale-educated ‘leaders’ in global public health like Barbara Bush-and what does that say about the increasing popularity of ‘public health’ and the discourses of power, knowledge and practices they (re)produce?
I wonder what has happened to her philanthropic endeavors since I wrote this 5 years ago...

Humanitarian Research - How to approach it?

(E)xpecting a researcher to dedicate a percentage of time to help the organization on non-research tasks (e.g. 10% time helping to run a reception desk) may seem strange. But, this arrangement would integrate the researcher into the team, expose them to the challenges of humanitarian work and perhaps open unexpected insights.
Andrej Verity...there was a time in the #globaldev blogosphere when many interesting projects by UN staff popped up regularly...

Eat, Pray, Post

As theorist Homi Bhabha argued in his book Location of Culture, the first world is always considered the present and future on a timeline on which the third world is perpetually the past. And perhaps online virality—in the way that it tightens itself into ever smaller circles of self-referentiality—is a sign that Bhabha was correct
Navneet Alang. I think 'virality' has become more diversified and de-Westernized. I'm thinking or Nigerian pop culture or political Tweets in India and how they contribute to local culture outside 'Western' media discourses.


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