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Hi all,

I thought a lot about Jennifer Lentfer's Tweet in connection with the #WeTheHelpers campaign & discussion:
So the question becomes, how do we spend our precious time, energy & resources as communicators? Convincing “the other”? Or building the new world?
I don't have an answer ready, but an important debate that deserves more input.

In the meantime, there's the rest of our small selection from around the #globaldev world: From FIFA to Lebanon, Syria, Nigeria & Fiji + Suriname; more on decolonization, indigenous identities & the future of large Think Tanks.

My quotes of the week
After a year of noise and energy we could be edging towards a tipping point where the sector will irrevocably change, I believe for the better. Or it could all dissipate. No doubt some organisations will be hoping that talk of decolonising the sector will just fade away, so that they can continue their work untroubled by discussions about structural racism and power. We mustn’t let this happen. 
(It’s 2022 and Decolonising Aid finds itself at a crossroads: which path will you take?)

Nigeria is a beautiful country, he emphasises. “But it’s a very difficult country to live in as well . . . And if you’re someone that has a lot of conscience about other people’s sufferings that can affect you, it can take a toll on you. You’re basically working and living to support [other] people all the time. And you can easily neglect yourself, abandon yourself in service for other people. People are genuinely suffering here.”
(‘Everything here is extreme’: Vast city of Lagos through a photojournalist’s eyes)

In We Slaves of Suriname, Anton de Kom, son of a former slave, regains agency over Surinamese history, while seeking to instill a sense of pride in the people of Suriname. Whether he has been successful remains up for debate, just like the question of whether he sometimes idolises the Maroon rebels to the extreme. But what is not up for debate is the fact that We Slaves of Suriname is one of the most important works of twentieth-century anticolonial literature. And as of today, it is available to the world in English. At last.
(Not Just a Book Review: We Slaves of Suriname by Anton de Kom)

Development news
Fifa president: more World Cups could save African migrants from death in the sea
“If we think about rest of world,” he continued, “and the vast majority of Europe, then we have to think about what football brings. Football is about opportunity, about hope, about the national teams. We cannot say to the rest of world give us your money, but watch us on TV. We need to include them.
“We need to find ways to include the whole world to give hope to Africans so that they don’t need to cross the Mediterranean in order to find maybe a better life but, more probably, death in the sea.
Paul McInnes for the Guardian on the latest low point of the global sports-capitalist-industrial complex: "Give us a World Cup every 2 years or more refugee will drown"...global sport is broken beyond repair...

Rethinking Humanitarianism-An interview with the UN’s humanitarian chief
It was perfectly clear to me there wasn't going to be an appointment outside those conventional things. Of course, I do think, that said, that it's a very strange system, which keeps certain positions for the permanent five members [of the Security Council]. I was very pleased that the British government did not support my candidature for this job, in fact. So I came in being British, but not as an official recommendation of the government of the United Kingdom. I remember talking to some people when I did come into this - and bearing in mind that comment that you made earlier about ‘well, this is your last job so better make sure it's a good one’ - I think some of your colleagues were recommending to me, ‘Make sure you're the last, before the world wakes up. This is too… how can I say this without being immodest? This is too crucial a job to be left to favouritism. That's the proposition, isn't it? I hope we move in that direction. But it's a bigger issue than the humanitarian job. It's the way our world seems to work.
Heba Aly talks to Martin Griffiths for the New Humanitarian; worth your time to listen & read-and perhaps he will be the last Brit in this position?!?

‘We the Helpers’. White Saviourism or a Smart Defence of Aid?
‘The point of this content is to reach a very specific UK audience – what we’re calling ‘conscientious cynics.’ This group is transactionally engaged in discussions on aid but have lost any emotional connection or belief in progress. They are white retirees (60+) living in urban areas across the country (not London). Many are grandparents, and family is hugely important to them. They’re financially comfortable and of a higher social grade (ABC). Conservative/Brexit leaning and proud to be British. Our insight work tells us they don’t feel connected to a sense of progress, so they’ve stopped believing they can make a difference.
Duncan Green for fp2p; really interesting debate (s. also the Twitter threads below) on whether we need/should/must talk to the 'conscientious cynics' of #globaldev.
Syria: Major Problems with UN Procurement Practices
“The Syrian government has committed atrocities against its own people, including mass torture, chemical weapons attacks, and sexual violence,” said Sara Kayyali, senior Syria researcher at Human Rights Watch. “Despite this horrific track record, UN agencies have often failed to do the necessary human rights due diligence to ensure that the way they acquire supplies and services locally does not enable human rights violations and corruption.”
(...)
“The scale and breadth of human rights abuse have made Syria among the most difficult operating environments for humanitarian aid,” said Giorgio Migliore, principal legal adviser at the Syrian Legal Development Programme. “But the UN can do more to incorporate human rights principles in their procurement processes and ensure that they do not award funds to entities that may have been implicated in violations.”
The latest Human Rights Watch report on the complicated nature of delivering aid in authoritarian/abusive regimes.

Fueling Addiction: How Importers and Politicians keep Lebanon hooked on oil.
With powerful connections in place, Lebanon’s oil importers have secured dominant positions over the entire oil supply chain. These companies benefit from state licences to import oil products to Lebanon, do not face stringent enforcement of storage maintenance regulations, and can transport and distribute oil with virtually no government scrutiny. And, of course, oil importers have long profited from the state’s fuel subsidies, which have given their customer bases wildly inflated purchasing power.
Shaya Laughlin, David Wood & Alex Ray for Triangle with a fascinating & detailed insight into how the state in Lebanon (does no) work.

German Aid to Education: Good for Development or Good for Germany?
But the thing is, despite Germany’s outlay, very little evidence has been generated on the causal impacts of aid-financed scholarships. There have been “tracer studies” and alumni surveys. But even the best of these seem to go no further than reporting on the outcomes of scholarship winners who elected to complete the survey. We know a fair bit about the benefits of international migration and the returns to schooling in one's home country, but very little about the potential for aid-financed scholarships as a development tool.
Germany can and should do much more to collect, share and use information on scholarships. This should include data on applicants and recipients, how they were selected and the short- and long-term impacts on them as well as their families and communities. Then we can investigate how recipients’ employment prospects change on completion, how a choice to remain in Germany affects that, how this differs by gender and so on.
Jack Rossiter & Susannah Hares for the Center for Global Development take a closer look at Germany's #globaldev spending on education.

We are facing a settler colonial crisis, not an Indigenous identity crisis
Within settler colonial concepts of property rights, identity becomes something that can be claimed, owned and put to use. It is interesting to see many of my colleagues publicly reject extractivist pursuits like pipelines while remaining silent or uncertain about similar tactics employed against Indigenous personhood.
Celeste Pedri-Spade for the Conversation on indigenous identities.

A New Chapter for Crisis Group: A Message from President & CEO Dr. Comfort Ero
Our future of conflict and gender work remain high priorities and, together with our leadership team, I will work to advance this important new research while retaining our core strength of in-depth regional coverage. To help ensure better integration of thematic and regional work, I plan to roll out a new innovation hub of experts specialising in emerging risks. These might include issues we have already begun to cover – such as climate security – or new areas like cyber or remote warfare, food insecurity or public health as they relate to conflict dynamics. The hub will generate pioneering research across the organisation, as well as new funding ideas aimed at attracting big bets and increased philanthropic support for solving some of the intractable problems of our time.
Comfort Ero for the Crisis Group; I think this is more than just a 'corporate' message from a new CEO-her statement raises a lot of interesting & important questions on what Think Tanks want to or should be in the future & the difficult work that still remains.

It’s 2022 and Decolonising Aid finds itself at a crossroads: which path will you take?
The first is that changes to routine practice will only be partially successful in the absence of changes to an organisation’s culture. If we don’t change the culture of our organisations and the deep-rooted assumptions on which our organisational culture is based, then we are just tinkering at the edges of a problem. The second is that we mustn’t let fear of getting things wrong paralyse us from taking the first or any step.
(...)
After a year of noise and energy we could be edging towards a tipping point where the sector will irrevocably change, I believe for the better. Or it could all dissipate. No doubt some organisations will be hoping that talk of decolonising the sector will just fade away, so that they can continue their work untroubled by discussions about structural racism and power. We mustn’t let this happen.
Dylan Mathews for BOND on the 'year of decolonization' in the #globaldev industry.

History and story-telling: vale Brij Lal
Long after dictators and politicians consumed by pettiness have gone – consigned, as they say, to the dustbin of history – real history lives on. And that is only one of the legacies Brij has left us.
I am guessing that many of us here, on hearing the news of Brij’s death, picked up one of the many books he had written and which sit on our shelves. My choice was Mr Tulsi’s Store. Many of you know this collection of personal stories, ranging from Brij’s childhood in Tabia to his travels in India and Fiji, and his life lived in between.
Richard Naidu for the DevPolicy Blog; I didn't know Briij Lal before this post, but I always love stories about lives well lived, books well written & stories well told!
‘Everything here is extreme’: Vast city of Lagos through a photojournalist’s eyes
Nigeria is a beautiful country, he emphasises. “But it’s a very difficult country to live in as well . . . And if you’re someone that has a lot of conscience about other people’s sufferings that can affect you, it can take a toll on you. You’re basically working and living to support [other] people all the time. And you can easily neglect yourself, abandon yourself in service for other people. People are genuinely suffering here.”
Sally Hayden with a great portrait of photojournalist Tom Saater for the Irish Times.

Publications
Position statement: Research and reconciliation with Indigenous peoples in rural health journals
We have come together to declare our intention to publish ‘nothing about Indigenous peoples, without Indigenous peoples’. How this is specifically articulated in practice will vary by journal and nation, but in essence, we will reject submitted papers that concern Indigenous communities but do not acknowledge an Indigenous author or provide evidence of a participatory process of Indigenous community engagement.
Mark Lock Ngiyampaa, Faye McMillan Wiradjuri, Bindi Bennett Gamilaraay, Jodie Lea Martire, Donald Warne, Oglala Lakota, Jacquie Kidd Ngāpuhi, Naomi Williams Anishinaabe, Paul Worley, Peter Hutten-Czapsk & Russell Roberts for the Australian Journal of Rural Health.

Not Just a Book Review: We Slaves of Suriname by Anton de Kom
In We Slaves of Suriname, Anton de Kom, son of a former slave, regains agency over Surinamese history, while seeking to instill a sense of pride in the people of Suriname. Whether he has been successful remains up for debate, just like the question of whether he sometimes idolises the Maroon rebels to the extreme. But what is not up for debate is the fact that We Slaves of Suriname is one of the most important works of twentieth-century anticolonial literature. And as of today, it is available to the world in English. At last.
Phaedra Haringsma for the LSE Review of Books.

Waiting for the market? Microinsurance and development as anticipatory marketization
These activities are described as a kind of ‘anticipatory marketization’ – experiments seeking to prepare the ground for the emergence of markets for risk management, thus far without much success. Where microinsurance has often been described in terms of ‘financialization’, this article suggests that there are important political dynamics at play that have been overlooked. Efforts to develop markets for microinsurance, and the persistent focus on troubleshooting and re-engineering those markets in the face of failure, are not driven directly by finance capital.
Nick Bernards with a new open access article for Environment & Planning A: Economy & Space.

What we were reading 4 years ago
(Link review 222, 3 March 2017)

Men Engaging in the Gender Equality discussion: a conversation with Dr. Tobias Denskus of Malmö University
Humanitarian aid is sometimes described as an ‘imperfect offering’ and I think some notion of ‘imperfection’ will always surround us because inequalities are so complicated and deeply entrenched. To phrase it slightly provocatively: I don’t believe that every 6-person panel should have 3 female and 3 male participants. Age, class, ethnic, religious or sexual orientation are all important dimensions and we need to constantly re-negotiate issues of power and empowerment, of who is (re)presented and whose voices count. The process is important even if the outcome may never be ‘perfect.’
Me talking to Women in Global Health.

An observation from SupGaleano, a ‘local aid worker’
Recently SupGaleano argued “If there are those who think that everything is the same and that things can change through elections, marches, tweets, signatures on change.org or whatever the hell you call it — well no, things aren’t going to change like that. We have to find new ways. For what? Well that ‘for what’ is what we have to answer and we must once again draw the face of the [capitalist] Hydra, because it has changed.”
Tom Arcaro talks to SupGaleano about the hydra of capitalism.

"To Continue to Focus on our Patients, we need to look after ourselves, too"
For me it’s likely been cumulative: a mixture of working for a number of years in difficult places without much break in between, the heavy workload and high responsibility combined with the constant exposure to difficult situations and the want to make as much of a difference as I can but without that always being possible. Plus difficult working relationships that can crop up, joined with the constant feeling of not being safe or not knowing if you’re safe, so that even when in reality you are, you start to doubt it. This, combined with various stressors in my personal life over the past 18 months gradually added to the blocks of pressure falling on me bit by bit until my brain and body could no longer handle it.
Emily Gilbert for MSF; in 2017 open reflections and discussions about aid worker well-being were still something of a new phenomenon-but how far have we come since?!?

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