Links & Contents I Liked 445
One of your favourite #globaldev newsletters is back-with UK aid, land reform, historical insights into China & Africa, philanthropy, racist professionalism, Marxism & classic photo op where Bono met... ;)
My quotes of the week
In contrast, grassroots organizations like mine that give out small grants require far less proof of need, just brief stories. Take a widow’s request for money for clothes: We will not ask for pictures of her in old dresses to believe that all she had were old dresses. Nor do we ask for pictures of her wardrobe as evidence of her need, nor ask for her account statement with M-Pesa — a mobile money service — to see how well she’d spent whatever funds we gave her. Philanthropy is about the human in need — if she asks for help, I trust that she needs help. (Philanthropy needs to remember the 'human' in humanitarian)
Not only is professionalism a double standard in how it’s applied, but the actual standard itself is grounded in a set of beliefs that are meant to control and subjugate people of color, including Black people. It’s not just about appearance like your hair, and colors you wear, the lipstick colors that you wear, things like that, it’s also in behavior and how you react and how you navigate. So it is a form of control in every sense of the word—in your physical being and how you are literally navigating the professional world. (Professionalism Is a Racist Construct)
Report: Global Pandemic Increased Poverty in Africa
The global pandemic has pushed more than 55 million Africans into extreme poverty and reversed two decades of hard work in poverty reduction on the continent. The Economic Report on Africa for 2021 blamed the growing poverty on job losses, reduced income and the inability of households to manage the risksVoice of America with an overview over the latest report from the UN Economic Commission for Africa.
Sarah Champion MP: “A double whammy against the global poor”
“We all want our exporters to do well and to create jobs in the UK. But aid for trade is dangerous. It can distort the core, legally-stipulated purpose of our assistance - which is to support the poorest and most vulnerable whether in the countries of sub-Saharan Africa or in Ukraine. Supporting the poorest in the world should not be conditional on a trade deal or agreeing to investment partnerships. The UK has rightly been hugely critical of China for such an approach, so I fail to see why we are following down the same road.Sarah Champion for the UK Parliament's International Development Committee on the more bad ideas in connection with UK #globaldev.
The International Development Strategy: a rapid assessment
The IDS falls short on promoting racial equity and progressing racial justice in our development work. There are references to “supporting” and “partnering” with communities, and we welcome the mention of countries taking control over their future. But the “how” is missing.BOND also read the new UK #globaldev strategy.
The strategy is silent on the UK's role in developing the “structural problems” that lead to communities being marginalised which means little chance to redress the UK’s culpability in perpetuating unequal and racialised power relations.
We are happy to see “being locally owned” coming through strongly in the strategy, but there’s scant information on how the FCDO will help implement it, or how the FCDO intends to fund civil society in local communities.
Development Studies at Sussex: reflections on our No.1 in the world ranking
Perhaps the most important lesson of the pandemic is that we are all living in a world of disruption and contradiction – social, economic, political, environmental, in health and more. If this is the ‘new normal’ for global development, then development studies must be about learning to navigate, in ways that build equity and justice, and engage with powerElizabeth Harrison & Melissa Leach for IDS; as a relatively happy IDS graduate I'm biased, of course, and I can see many more challenges ahead if 'decolonizing' #globaldev studies should become meaningful in the future, but it's still an inspiring place that does UK #highered proud!
This is at the heart of development studies – Sussex and IDS style, across our research, teaching, and many practical engagements. It means that being number one in the world should be less a call for prideful celebration, than for continued humility, questioning, reflection and adaptation. These values are alive and well at Sussex; long may they continue.
A Blogger Exposed a UN Agency’s Wrongdoings. Its Boss Has Resigned
From the mid-1960s to the mid-70s Danish government inserted IUDs into almost half of Greenland's girls & young women-often without consent & with long-lasting medical implications; devastating case study of colonial violence & socio-biological control of indigenous peoples— Tobias Denskus (@aidnography) May 19, 2022
Kapila said his goal of blogging on Unops has been to strengthen its accountability and governance.Susanne Courtney for PassBlue; you have probably caught up with the developments at UNOPS, but I like how the author highlights Mukesh Kapila's blog as one of the first & key resources that started further investigations into the organization.
Please continue to not sponsor this child
We can support and act in solidarity with grassroots groups and campaigns for change around the world, while putting pressure on our governments to shape policies and laws. This can take a number of forms: exercising one’s right to vote with a global citizenship lens; supporting NGOs which promote a change in foreign aid conditions; participating in civil engagement and divestment actions to make accountable those companies engaged in extractive projects linked to violence and harm in local communities in the Global South.Kathleen Nolan for the New Internationalist. The first time 'child sponsorship' appeared on this blog was in link review #20 (April 2012) .
It also appeared in 2014, 2015, 2019 & 2021...child sponsorship remains one of those topics that never quite disappears, sometimes gets tweaked, is not completely without positive impact, but still feels overall outdated...
A tasting menu from Geneva’s humanitarian trade fair
The conference is a mixed bag of substantive discussion, networking, and the showcasing of different aid initiatives, but it’s really a place where those in the aid ecosystem simply come to exchange new ideas and rehash some old ones.Jessica Alexander & Josie Rozzelle for the New Humanitarian with an interesting overview of the latest buzzwords & fuzzwords in humanitarianism + #globaldev.
Land reform in South Africa: what the real debate should be about
Ngcukaitobi also argues that land reform shouldn’t be seen only as an agricultural industry problem. Rather, it should be viewed as a multi-industry challenge involving non-agricultural players. Underpinning this view is his analysis that white farmers weren’t the only beneficiaries of the colonial and apartheid regimes’ land policies. Most of those who profited from apartheid live in urban areas.Wandile Sihlobo reviews Tembeka Ngcukaitobi's book for the Conversation.
Red and Black
This book examines the intertwined lives of people usually perceived as inhabiting non-overlapping spaces. It is about individuals who strove, in their own ways, to create a politicized transpacific and enable global communication between African Americans and Chinese. While situating each of the five figures in a complex and shifting political context, this book formulates an account of the personal, artistic, cultural, and political networks they established. It illustrates their formative effects both on Chinese views of the Black diaspora and African-American views of China’s place in an emergent imaginary of anticolonial and racial liberation. Directly comparative works about the three famed African Americans are somewhat rare among current studies; discussions of individual Afro-Chinese relationships are even harder to find, and narratives of interactions between Chinese and African-American women are even scarcer.Faisal Ali talks to Yunxiang Gao about her latest book for Africa is a Country.
New approaches to international development – seen through a creative lens
Egyptian artist Nadine Nour El Din produced a series of satirical drawings. One of them, The Theatre of Negotiations, illustrates the performative aspect of development work and what Singh calls its “habits of argumentation, negotiation and deliberation”. Her second drawing explores what Singh refers to in his paper as “the elephant in the room”; that is to say the issue of colonialism and power imbalances in development work. The artist did not want to visualise the metaphor too literally as she associated the animal with India rather than Egypt. She instead portrayed her country as a young girl lectured by an old man in a suit.Fleur Macdonald for Pioneers Post; I'm glad the British Council & others are discovering the power of art to discuss #globaldev as well...
Philanthropy needs to remember the 'human' in humanitarian
In contrast, grassroots organizations like mine that give out small grants require far less proof of need, just brief stories. Take a widow’s request for money for clothes: We will not ask for pictures of her in old dresses to believe that all she had were old dresses. Nor do we ask for pictures of her wardrobe as evidence of her need, nor ask for her account statement with M-Pesa — a mobile money service — to see how well she’d spent whatever funds we gave her. Philanthropy is about the human in need — if she asks for help, I trust that she needs help.Roseline Orwa for DevEx with a reminder what 'humanitarian' should mean much more often!
The tax filing suggests the organization is still finding its footing: It currently has no executive director or in-house staff. Nonprofit experts tell the AP that the BLM foundation seems to be operating like a scrappy organization with far fewer resources, although some say Black-led charities face unfair scrutiny in an overwhelmingly white and wealthy philanthropic landscape.Aaron Morrison for AP News on the challenges that BLM faces in doing philanthropy differently.
Still, its governance structure makes it difficult to disprove allegations of impropriety, financial mismanagement and deviation from mission that have dogged the BLM foundation for years, one expert said.
“It comes across as an early startup nonprofit, without substantial governance structure in place, that got a huge windfall,” said Brian Mittendorf, a professor of accounting at Ohio State University who focuses on nonprofit organizations and their financial statements.
“People are going to be quick to assume that mismatch reflects intent,” he added. “Whether there’s anything improper here, that is another question. But whether they set themselves up for being criticized, I think that certainly is the case because they didn’t plug a bunch of those gaps.”
How I got Lucky and Didn’t Get into the US Foreign Service (1966)
And so, almost by accident, the seeds of a later “career” in development economics were sown—though at that point I wasn’t thinking “career” at all. It was, I suppose, curiosity (Africa, a first course in economics, another in demography) and a bit of luck that the one thing at the top of mind when the marriage barrier for women in the Foreign Service came up at that interview, was that I wanted at some point to get married. Meanwhile, “being” a development economist became a career, and much more, enriching my life in many additional ways.Nancy Birdsall for CGD reflects on her life & work in the second part of a multi-part autobiographical series.
Our digital lives
Professionalism Is a Racist Construct
Not only is professionalism a double standard in how it’s applied, but the actual standard itself is grounded in a set of beliefs that are meant to control and subjugate people of color, including Black people. It’s not just about appearance like your hair, and colors you wear, the lipstick colors that you wear, things like that, it’s also in behavior and how you react and how you navigate. So it is a form of control in every sense of the word—in your physical being and how you are literally navigating the professional world.Monique Judge talks to Leah Goodridge for Dame Magazine; interesting food for thought for #globaldev & related industries as well...
Critique of Techno-Feudal Reason
In the meantime, Marxists would do well to acknowledge that dispossession and expropriation have been constitutive of accumulation throughout history. Perhaps the luxury of employing only the economic means of value extraction in the ‘properly’ capitalist core was always due to the extensive use of extra-economic means of value extraction on the non-capitalist periphery. Once we make that analytical leap, we no longer need to bother with invocations of feudalism. Capitalism is moving in the same direction it always has been, leveraging whatever resources it can mobilize—the cheaper, the better. In this sense, Braudel’s one-time description of capitalism as ‘infinitely adaptable’ is not the worst perspective to adopt. But it does not adapt continuously and, when it does, it’s not a given that the upward-redistributive tendencies win out over the productive ones. It may well be that this is exactly how much of today’s digital economy operates. This, of course, is no reason to believe that techno-capitalism is somehow a nicer, cozier and more progressive regime than techno-feudalism; by vainly invoking the latter, we risk whitewashing the former’s reputation.Evgeny Morozov for the New Left Review with one of those long-reads for the weekend...
The Humanitarian-Development-Peace Nexus Interim Progress Review
The OECD with a new report.
Questioning the ethics of international research on formula milk supplementation in low-income African countries
Tanya Doherty, Ingunn Marie S Engebretsen, Thorkild Tylleskär, Kathy Burgoine, Anne Baerug, Raul Mercer, Phillip Baker, David Clark, Catherine Jane Pereira-Kotze & Max Kroon with a new open access article in BMJ Global Health on another aspect of the formula milk debate.
Decolonizing Conflict Journalism Studies: A Critical Review of Research on Fixers
we argue that most of the research too readily accepts as a starting point the division between West and non-West, which assumes that fixers are fundamentally different from and unequal to Western correspondents and emphasizes these disparate identities without questioning them, thus reproducing fixers’ otherness and exoticism. To gain a better position for promoting creative justice, we suggest that future research practices and questions could be recalibrated in line with the postcolonial move and the current reconfiguration of the political and epistemic relations between the world’s regions.Johana Kotišová & Mark Deuze with a new open access article in Journalism Studies.
What we were reading 5 years ago
(Link review 235, 2 June 2017)
To be honest, there were quite a few 404s in the post from the archive, but I found this gem of a Tweet which seems surprisingly timely...