Links & Contents I Liked 398

Hi all,

I don't really have much to say today-so I let these great #globaldev readings speak for themselves :)

Enjoy!

My quotes of the week

We found that warmth and competence are the most effective traits for generating donations and petition signatures. Frontline workers and volunteers were the only messengers that the British public rated above average in terms of both warmth and competence. Activists, businesspeople and aid recipients were rated the least warm and least competent.
(Who speaks for aid? Spokespeople, race and the problem with terms like 'aid recipient')

As foggy and muddy as some of their thoughts and ideas may be, the youth of DHK are informed by their quotidian reality. It is an ideology rooted in a Sankarist ideology that is daring and even risky at times. But this discourse still represents the clearer demarcation line between civil discourse and what is perceived as growing radical or fundamental discourse in Burkina Faso. Unlike the growing non-state armed movements that are terrorizing the country, student ideological militancy is disruptive, but it is still organized within the limits of free speech and freedom of association guaranteed by the constitution.
(If we lie down, we are dead)

Museums and botanical gardens are starting to invite contemporary artists working with archives and research-based practices to stage interventions in the museum space. These often serve as powerful ways to highlight the histories of colonial collections and the voices that remain absent.

(The Long Shadow Of Colonial Science)

New from aidnography

The difficult path to meaningful & decolonized PhDs in Development Studies
If you are young-ish, full of energy and ideas the PhD may be an opportunity later on to round off your education and CV. And if you want to work on social change ‘on the ground’, in your community no amount of tweaking a PhD will have the same impact as doing the real thing.
Me with few more reflections on the challenges of embarking on a development studies PhD in the current reality of 'decolonizing academia'...

Development news

A Q&A with the world’s biggest aid donor
If ever, this is certainly not the time to cut the aid budget; this is the time to increase it. We have increased the European Union’s humanitarian aid budget because we want to show leadership. Leadership is based on deeds more than words, and we want to show by example.
We already are, together with European Union member states, the number one humanitarian donor in the world.
(...)
It is with great regret that I noted the decision by the British authorities to reduce the aid budget. And I hope that this decision can still be reversed. As I said, this is not the time to cut the aid budgets, this is a time to increase them.
Jessica Alexander talks to ECHO's Janez Lenarčičfor the New Humanitarian.
WTO Fails To Reach Deal On COVID IP Waiver Proposal, Again
Representatives for the U.S. welcomed further engagement with the proposal's sponsors, according to the trade official, but wished the countries would bear in mind the importance of incentives for innovation.
In the U.S. and the developed countries, advocacy groups responded to the latest inaction with outrage.
"It is disappointing that despite the majority of the world being on the side of the TRIPS Waiver, it has been blocked by a few countries once again," Katie Gallogly-Swan, a policy coordinator for the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, said in a statement to Law360. "It is time to accept that we are not on track to vaccinate the world."
She estimated that "allowing such vaccine inequality to persist" would cost the global economy over $9 trillion.
Andrew Karpan for Law 360; no, a Nigerian woman leading WTO does not change the realities that the 'international community' does not do solidarity & global governance systems are stacked against the South...

Certification schemes let forest destruction into EU market
The report finds that, rather than triggering market changes that protect forests and other ecosystems, certification schemes have instead greenwashed products that are still linked to forest and ecosystem destruction. In some cases, the use of voluntary certification schemes has even hampered the adoption of more effective measures such as legislation or the reduction of consumption of products driving ecosystem destruction.
The Greenpeace European Unit with a new report; as a regular reader you have probably noticed that I include articles on CSR, greenwashing & failures of markets to 'solve' environmental issues almost every week.

Rising magma and empty coffers raise alarm for Congo's volcano-watchers
Increased volcanic activity and other indicators have experts fretting that another eruption could be on the way.
But after the World Bank cut funding amid embezzlement allegations, Ciraba and colleagues at the Goma Volcano Observatory (OVG) are struggling to make even basic checks.
“If we don’t do regular measurements and announce the eruption a few days beforehand, the population won’t have time to evacuate and people will die,” said Ciraba, 65, who’s devoted his life to trudging up the 3,470m cone to study its activity.
With the coffers empty, Ciraba’s team has been unable to pay for an internet connection to run remote sensors and fuel to transport researchers to the volcano.
They have to manually download data on memory cards during the handful of occasions they visit the volcano every year, OVG staff said.
The World Bank declined to renew a four-year, $2 million funding programme.
The OVG “lacked experience, and there were weaknesses in implementing such a grant,” the World Bank said in a statement. It added that it could not corroborate allegations of graft.
Hereward Holland & Djaffar Al Katanty for Reuters; you can waste trillions of dollars on the military-industrial complex & get all sorts of silly project funded, but God forbid the World Bank comes after your 500K/year project that could save many, many lives...

We will never defeat the Taliban
This same multifocal civil war continues today, with most of those people fighting the Government doing so for personal or local reasons. Perhaps they have had their land stolen by a warlord. Perhaps they are the victim of predatory behaviour from a local official and need to fight back to maintain their honour. Perhaps they are trying to sell their drugs, or protect their village, or enact a feud. The reasons are endless, but all of them are exacerbated by the fact that Afghanistan has nothing resembling a central government that adjudicates disputes and sets rules that apply to everyone. In fact, the Afghan government is as riven by local factional motivations as the Taliban.
Mike Martin for UnHerd with an important reminder that 'the Taliban' or the 'Islamic State' have largely been inventions of the West to request money, weapons & support to fights a clear enemy, leaving out inconvenient roots causes & localized issues.

The big wall
An ActionAid investigation into how Italy tried to stop migration from Africa, using EU funds, and how much money it spent
This is an remarkable piece of data journalism/visualization/activism from ActionAid Italy; a really interesting case study on how to communicate a #globaldev/humanitarian issue!

Devastating Cyclone Leaves Farmers on Unsteady Ground
In the first six days of December, about 630 millimeters (25 inches) of rain fell. It was the worst storm in the region in more than a decade, and it brought powerful winds and tide surges, along with flooding.
Deforestation, beach sand mining, and illegal construction in river basins made the floods worse, says Tharmaradngam Piratheepan, officer in charge of the regional weather observatory in Jaffna.
(...)
Illegal sand mining ravages riverbanks, depletes biodiversity, launches landslides and leaves communities more vulnerable to flooding, according to the Sri Lanka Water Partnership, a nonprofit.
Pashna Alistan for Global Press Journal with a story from Sri Lanka that highlights climate change is already impacting many vulnerable communities around the globe.

If we lie down, we are dead
In Ouagadougou, university student militancy is the last stronghold of students’ civil discourse. It is one that still grapples with its own issues, but nonetheless is ideologically promising. As foggy and muddy as some of their thoughts and ideas may be, the youth of DHK are informed by their quotidian reality. It is an ideology rooted in a Sankarist ideology that is daring and even risky at times. But this discourse still represents the clearer demarcation line between civil discourse and what is perceived as growing radical or fundamental discourse in Burkina Faso. Unlike the growing non-state armed movements that are terrorizing the country, student ideological militancy is disruptive, but it is still organized within the limits of free speech and freedom of association guaranteed by the constitution.
Lassane Ouedraogo for Africa is a Country on student radical activism in Burkina Faso.

Make room for women in the new normal
Men will talk about this as a year out of time, but perhaps many women will say, this is how we lived anyway. The pandemic was the first time it was recognised as a problem. As we think of emerging from this isolation and resuming our social lives, can we make sure both men and women reclaim public spaces and that the new normal for women does not look like the old normal?
Sonalde Desai for Indian Express and the old/new normal for women in India.

Who speaks for aid? Spokespeople, race and the problem with terms like 'aid recipient'
We found that warmth and competence are the most effective traits for generating donations and petition signatures. Frontline workers and volunteers were the only messengers that the British public rated above average in terms of both warmth and competence. Activists, businesspeople and aid recipients were rated the least warm and least competent.
Molly Anders for Development Compass summarizes their latest paper & webinar.

The role of funders in fostering fair and equitable partnerships in global development
Funder engagement and nudging is a powerful tool that can only help to facilitate a shift towards fair and equitable partnerships between northern INGOs and their southern CSO partners, especially for northern INGOs who have no locally staffed country offices. However, funder efforts should focus on facilitating existing partnerships and not seek to create new ones. Funder-imposed partnerships could do more harm than good.
Joseph Asunka for the Hewlett Foundation shares some great points on how foundations are changing their engagement with grant recipients.

The Long Shadow Of Colonial Science
Museums and botanical gardens are starting to invite contemporary artists working with archives and research-based practices to stage interventions in the museum space. These often serve as powerful ways to highlight the histories of colonial collections and the voices that remain absent. The Mexican-born artist Mariana Castillo Deball’s exhibition at Modern Art Oxford, for example, works to rediscover individuals who have been written out of history in traditional museum displays and archives. One such figure is Makereti, who was born to a Maori mother and an English army officer. She became an interpreter for Maori culture and often escorted visitors through the Whakarewarewa geyser valley on New Zealand’s North Island. In 1924, Makereti enrolled as a student of anthropology at the University of Oxford and donated her personal collection of Maori possessions to the Pitt Rivers Museum. Stories such as Makereti’s serve to muddy the waters of ethnographic study and collecting, where the line between the observer and the observed is crossed, as it so often is in the study of people and cultures.
Sria Chatterjee for Noema Magazine with a great essay on history, colonialism & the very 'British' institution of fancy gardens...

Our digital lives

Bill Gates and his technofix dream for the planet
Mainstream media has been all too willing to uncritically engage Bill Gates’ preferred image as a well-meaning nerdy philanthropist in a cuddly sweater—offering him countless opportunities to share his “expertise” and promote his technofixes. It’s time to look beyond the rhetoric of this billionaire philanthrocapitalist and listen to those who realize that climate change will only be “solved” when we begin by identifying its primary cause: capitalism.
Zahra Moloo for Africa is a Country on Bill's new book.
Publications
Data responsibility toolkit and case studies – Guidance for cash and voucher practitioners
While all humanitarian programmes collect large amounts of data, this is particularly true in Cash and Voucher Assistance (CVA). Much of the data collected is highly sensitive and private, and is collected from very vulnerable people. Now more than ever, it is important to design our programmes so that they reduce the possibility that data is used – accidentally or purposefully – in ways that cause harm or unfairly exclude individuals or groups from benefiting.
The Cash Learning Partnership launched a series of great publications this week, spearheaded by the great Linda Raftree!

Arab Media Systems
Each chapter in the volume traces a specific country’s media – from Lebanon to Morocco – and assesses its media system in terms of historical roots, political and legal frameworks, media economy and ownership patterns, technology and infrastructure, and social factors (including diversity and equality in gender, age, ethnicities, religions, and languages).
Carola Richter & Claudia Kozman edited this great new open access book for Open Book Publishers!

The Islamic State in Congo
This report systematically examines how the efforts of the Islamic State to expand globally and the aspirations of Musa Baluku’s Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) merged in a mix of push and pull factors that resulted in the ADF becoming the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) chapter of the Islamic State in Central Africa Province (ISCAP). Based largely on primary sources, including a unique collection of defector and local source accounts, it tracks the ADF’s evolution from its Ugandan origins to being part of a formal province of the Islamic State, revealing unique insights into the group’s inner workings and its efforts to build transnational networks to support its operations.
Tara Candland, Adam Finck, Haroro J. Ingram, Laren Poole, Lorenzo Vidino & Caleb Weiss for the Program on Extremism with a new report.
What Have We Learned About Learning? Unpacking the Relationship Between Knowledge and Organisational Change in Development Agencies
This paper presents an analytical framework for interrogating “the learning hypothesis”, breaking it down into causal steps: knowledge causes learning, learning causes organisational change, change causes effectiveness. The framework focuses on the first two sub-hypotheses, mapping out the conceptual space around them by outlining potential relationships between different types of knowledge – tacit and explicit, internal and external – and between different types of learning – operational and strategic. This map provides a foundation for three key research questions: What impact has the rising knowledge agenda had on development organisations? Which factors appear to enable or inhibit organisational learning? What is the relationship between operational and strategic learning and organisational change?
Pablo Yanguas with a new paper for the German Development Institute that offers a great overview over the latest debates in #globaldev learning!

Robotics, AI, and Humanity-Science, Ethics, and Policy
The emergent technologies have for instance implications within medicine and health care, employment, transport, manufacturing, agriculture, and armed conflict. While there has been considerable attention devoted to robotics/AI applications in each of these domains, a fuller picture of their connections and the possible consequences for our shared humanity seems needed. This volume covers multidisciplinary research, examines current research frontiers in AI/robotics and likely impacts on societal well-being, human – robot relationships, as well as the opportunities and risks for sustainable development and peace.
Joachim von Braun, Margaret S. Archer, Gregory M. Reichberg & Marcelo Sánchez Sorondo with a new open access book from Springer; interesting topic & different take on the subject, but a bit heavy on male & Western contributors, though...
What we were reading 5 years ago
(Link review 187, 17 June 2016)
Angus Deaton does not like aid-but he likes the World Bank of 1996
Some of the better World Bank staff say "We know how to build accountable institutions. If a country wants to have them, they can ask us for advice". Maybe that is a way to really help.
Q: That would be a new role for the World Bank.
Yes. I think the World Bank should become a huge consultancy firm that should collect the immense knowledge about development that has been accumulated over decades. They have many great professionals who know how to build damns or privatize water suppliers. If a government wants o undertake such a project, they could ask the World Bank what works in other countries and what does not.
Me on an interview with Deaton which does not seem to have aged well given current discussions on IO leadership, decolonization and localization...

Despair Fatigue
It appears that the entire political class has become trapped in the bizarrely successful narrative that swept the Tories into power after the crash of 2008 and still sustains them long after its consequences have run beyond any sort of humanity or common sense.
R.I.P. David Graeber.

The potential role of newsletters in community building
what role could a newsletter play, if it had an explicit community focus?
Zara Rahman on the power of newsletters before everybody had one & Substack came along as well.

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