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Hi all,

We (me & imaginary editorial team ;) are back with #globaldev news from Yemen, Ethiopia & DRC, more insights into the UK's decline in #globaldev leadership & much more-including an archeological gem on participatory photography from 2009 & more recent finds from the archive on aid worker salary gap, not sending stuff to Africa & the Pepsi-fication of dissent!


My quote of the week
Being uprooted during my childhood, my identity is a complex weave with strands of multiple origins. The easiest identity to take on would have been that of being human or a global citizen, but society always finds a way to compartmentalize your identity and attach meaning to it. (I Was 13 When I Fled War in Tigray. This Is What Conflict Has Done to My Home.)

Development news
U.N. raises less than a third of $4.27 bln sought for Yemen to avoid starvation
The United Nations on Wednesday received only $1.3 billion in pledges towards a $4.27 billion aid plan for war-torn Yemen where the humanitarian drive had seen funding dry up even before global attention turned to the conflict in Ukraine.
Lisa Barrington & Stephanie Nebehay for Reuters; without a sizeable American contribution this would have been a real embarrassment for the 'international community'; Kuwait is the only country from the Gulf region that pledged a tiny sum of fresh money...
‘Finish Them Off’: Aid Workers, Found on Battlefield, Executed by Soldiers
But the killing of the three Doctors Without Borders employees underscored the specific perils facing aid workers in Ethiopia, where hunger and dislocation threaten millions even as the government seems to treat aid groups as enemies rather than allies.
Since last July, when Tigray fell into rebel control, respected aid groups have been accused of running guns to rebels, senior United Nations officials have been expelled from Ethiopia, and the government imposed a punishing blockade on the region that has cut off food supplies to five million needy people, the U.N. says.
Ethiopia is the world’s deadliest country for aid workers, with 19 deaths in 2021, more than in Afghanistan, Syria or Congo
Simon Marks & Declan Walsh for the New York Times with an investigation into another humanitarian disaster in Ethiopia.

I Was 13 When I Fled War in Tigray. This Is What Conflict Has Done to My Home.
The nation we once proudly identified with is now synonymous with weaponized rape, genocide, famine, and lawlessness. Identity politics has us thinking one side is winning or the other losing but, in reality, we are all losing. I cannot emphasize this point enough. I have personally lost too many family members to count but the sad part is that some Ethiopians did not believe my loss unless they were Tigrayans. For many Tigrayans like myself, this utter lack of empathy for Tigrayans was the end of a proud identity rooted in Ethiopia.
Being uprooted during my childhood, my identity is a complex weave with strands of multiple origins. The easiest identity to take on would have been that of being human or a global citizen, but society always finds a way to compartmentalize your identity and attach meaning to it.
Weyni Abraha for Global Citizen shares her story about Tigray.

Cobalt poses human rights test for Biden on clean energy
Indeed, Western human rights advocates, or their Congolese affiliates, aren’t eager to see strict sanctions against cobalt buyers, for fear of endangering miners’ livelihoods in a deeply impoverished part of the world.
“No one amongst those actors are advocating for a move away from cobalt production in DRC,” said Daniel Mulé, a policy lead on extractive industries for Oxfam America. “I don’t think that’s the right approach for [original equipment manufacturers], vehicle manufacturers or from the U.S government.”
Organized labor hasn’t pressed their interest in onshoring of cobalt mining either. Although most cobalt from DRC goes to China for processing and many mines are owned by Chinese companies, China-hawk conservatives have, for the most part, also stayed out of the fray. Even American cobalt miners don’t want to see a clampdown hit their biggest competition.
“What they desperately need is governance and money. They really, really need people to come in and say we’re going to do this right. They don’t need everyone to run away,” said Greg Young, executive general manager of Jervois Mining Ltd., a company developing a cobalt mine in Idaho. “That’s exactly what they don’t need."
Jael Holzman & David Iaconangelo for Energy Wire with a detailed look at the complexities of cobalt mining & sales from DRC to China, the US & beyond.

FCDO undergoes major personnel reforms, gets second top official
The resignation of Malik, a popular official with the U.K. development community, has already prompted disappointment from the sector.
“This is a terrible sign for the prospects of a genuinely integrated diplomatic and development department,” Ranil Dissanayake, a policy fellow at the Center for Global Development, wrote in a message to Devex. The so-called hybrid approach was the government’s stated rationale for the merger of DFID and FCO, but the new department has been under strain since its inception.
Dissanayake continued: “Moazzam is experienced in both realms, adept and highly rated in both, and has been constructive since day 1 of FCDO’s existence. If he doesn’t think the integrated department is living up to its promise, that’s an extremely strong and well informed signal that it isn’t.”
Will Worley for DevEx.

The impact of the UK aid cuts on NGOs
We are fast approaching June, which marks the anniversary of the UK government cutting its aid budget by £4.5bn – from 0.7% to 0.5% of gross national income (GNI).
Juliet Conway for BOND.

Can We (Actually) Finance Recipient Research Capacity with Aid?
The UK has just announced that it will close three major current vehicles for ODA-funded international development research. Given trends in UK aid overall, it is a lot to hope there is political space for reform toward a design based on a greater level of support for researchers and research institutions in ODA recipient countries or on research priorities driven by people in those countries. It is a small but comparatively hopeful sign for US funding that a session listening to Southern researchers opened the discussion of a new model for some US funding. But it is long past time for all donors to listen more closely the people who are (or at least should be) the primary audience for ODA-funded research. Faculty and student exchange and engagement on research of mutual interest is important, and a step up over the current UK default model. But far more resources should be dedicated toward supporting long-term growth of recipient country research institutions.
Charles Kenny for CGD; all three articles deal with different challenges of the decline of #globaldev in the UK-probably accelerated by a focus on Ukraine & years of humanitarian engagement to come...

‘A wonderful accomplishment’: success for cleanup of Nigeria’s deadly lead pollution
But no child has died on his watch since October last year, thanks to a joint effort between local and international agencies that has virtually wiped out lead poisoning cases in the state.
“It’s a wonderful accomplishment – for the patients and for me,” said Chukwuemeze, who works with Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), which was involved in the clean-up operation.
The huge effort followed an outbreak of lead poisoning in at least seven villages in Zamfara in 2010. Over six months, 400 children died in a crisis that sent shockwaves throughout the country and brought into sharp focus the dangers of mineral processing in a largely impoverished and rural area.
Emmanuel Akinwotu for the Guardian on a positive note from Nigeria.

The nonprofit sector is not more dysfunctional than any other sector, OK?
Which is why it’s annoying when I or others point out the weaknesses in our sector, and the responses from colleagues (both from nonprofit as well as from other sectors) go along the lines of “See, nonprofits are toxic as hell” or “there’s something about nonprofit management that’s just so dysfunctional” or “that’s why I left the sector to go into for-profits.” It’s expected when it’s people who don’t have any experience working in nonprofit looking down on and bizsplaining to us. But it hurts a bit when it’s us saying these things about ourselves.
The nonprofit sector, with everything we need to fix about it, is not any more dysfunctional than other sectors. Every sector sucks in both common as well as unique ways
Vu Le for NonprofitAF speaking truth-as always...
What corporate philanthropy got wrong after George Floyd’s murder
The panelists worried that the pledges didn’t reflect a long-term, thoughtful commitment to combating racism. Companies shouldn’t deploy resources to mitigate reputational risk under the guise of benevolence. Systemic change doesn’t happen through a frenzy of charity. It requires forethought and planning.
He pointed to the Good Life Pledge as a way to start. With this philanthropic commitment, a donor pledges to transfer one-third of their assets toward community stewardship in the form of equity grants and recoverable loans, building critical infrastructure in marginalized communities.
Kara Baskin for MIT Sloan with fascinating insights into how resistant the financial sector in the US really is to contribute to positive social change.

Participatory photography – Jack of all trades, master of none?
One of the selling points of PP is its first-person viewpoint, indicating that people wish to have a closer connection to those people’s lived experiences in order to increase their understanding. We should be pursuing multiple styles and approaches to photography and video (from photojournalism to constructed or art-based creations) to see how they can be best used as part of awareness raising, advocacy and fund raising campaigns, owned and driven by multiple communities in different circumstances and locations. Where the image moves from linear ‘witnessing’ to matrix ‘conversations’. Where ‘witnessing’ includes presenting these ‘conversations’ as a demonstration of support for change, not just as evidence of the problem. PP should not be used to chase the elusive ‘truth’, a more ‘authentic’ image (particularly through its work with children) – recognising it offers a different viewpoint, not necessarily a more accurate one – but as an important part of a diverse communications toolbox of visual media that can be actioned in the cause of change.
Robert Godden for Photography As A Social Practice; this was published in 2009-even before this blog started, but remains a fascinating piece to think about the challenges around participatory photography & how it has involved in almost 15 years...

Our digital livesSix months in, El Salvador’s bitcoin gamble is crumbling
Salvadoran economist Rommel Rodríguez said he doubts that Bukele planned all along to appeal to Bitcoiners to help solve El Salvador’s economic troubles. Rather, he believes the solution appeared to him along the way. “The characteristic of this government has been improvisation when it comes to economics,” he said.
Rodríguez predicts Bukele could bring in a large sum from the Bitcoin fans he has courted by “gambling” the country’s future on Bitcoin but doubts that he would raise the full $1 billion. “The problem is — as we say in the very Salvadoran way — a man has his way of being,” said Rodríguez. “Going back now and taking the recommendation of the IMF would be a harsh blow to his international image.”
Anna-Cat Brigida & Leo Schwartz for Rest of World with an update from El Salvador's crypto adventures.

Ethical guidance or epistemological injustice? The quality and usefulness of ethical guidance for humanitarian workers and agencies
This paper explores the quality and usefulness of ethical guidance for humanitarian aid workers and their agencies. We focus specifically on public health emergencies, such as COVID-19. The authors undertook a literature review and gathered empirical data through semi-structured focus group discussions amongst front-line workers from health clinics in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh and in the Abyei Special Administrative Area, South Sudan. The purpose of the project was to identify how front-line workers respond to ethical challenges, including any informal or local decision-making processes, support networks, or habits of response.
Julian Sheather, Ronald Apunyo, Marc DuBois, Ruma Khondaker, Abdullahal Noman, Sohana Sadique & Catherine R McGowan with an open access article in BMJ Global Health.

New Handbook: Youth active citizenship for decent jobs
Youth employment programmes usually strengthen young people’s business and entrepreneurship skills. But they fail to consider the civic and political competencies needed by young people to negotiate fair, safe, and decent working conditions and influence the wider policy environment for decent work. Young men and women need to learn which avenues to use to demand fair pay and hold employers and state actors accountable for labour rights violations. Young women need to be able to challenge sexual harassment. The knowledge and confidence needed to do so, can only build over time and with the right support.
The Handbook ‘Youth Active Citizenship for Decent Jobs’ has been created for development partners and civil society actors that design and implement youth employment interventions.
Marjoke Oosterom for IDS with a great new publication on decent work & youth activism.

What we were reading 5 years ago
(Link review 229, 21 April 2017)
The salary gap between expat and local aid workers – it’s complicated
That said, expat aid workers will continue to exist. And the fact is that most of them are embedded in a secondary financial economy, as well as the country they have been posted to. The unexciting reality of earning a taxable income abroad, maintaining a link to their home countries and preparing for a life after aid work means they need to earn a higher salary to make aid work a viable career. The simple truth is that most aid workers do not have generous UN or diplomatic housing, or moving allowances.
Me in the Guardian about a topic that seemed to have peaked a couple of years ago and then fizzled out...

The Right Way to Give
When we give from the heart, we expect recipients to be grateful. Many are grateful for the sentiment, but nonetheless burdened by the outcome of our good intentions. Have you ever received a gift you didn't want? It's awkward.
Donating to those in need is not the same as giving a gift. People in need have specific needs. They can't just take anything and make it work. Organizations serving them require the flexibility to be able to meet needs as they arise. That's why monetary donations can be so powerful, even when they seem less personal.
Noelle Sullivan for U.S. News dropping some truth that never went out of style & is currently more important than ever to keep in mind before donating "stuff" to the humanitarian efforts in or near Ukraine.
The Pepsi-fication Of Resistance Has A Long And Ugly History
Granted, there are plenty of smiling and dancing Black and Brown people in the Pepsi ad, but in the end, they become background players in what should be their story. Hell, Black women — once again — are left out almost entirely (save for the one who had to hold Kendall’s wig), despite the fact that we have been integral to resistance movements since the beginning of time.
To be clear, despite Black and Brown folx leading this resistance for the past three or four years, we are apparently not cool enough to do that in Pepsi’s fictionalized dreamscape. This whitewashing, too, is nothing new
Clarkisha Kent for the Establishment with an excellent piece that is still so timely & accurate about corporate & celebrity engagement in 'social change'...


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