Links & Contents I Liked 452

Hi all,

First full teaching week, welcoming 150+ students to our courses with our team, happy days :).

#Globaldev also happened this week, featuring the US, Ukraine, Equatorial Guinea & Brazil, plus Ponzi schemes, UN movers + shakers, important charities, journalism-humanitarianism & the poetics of birth, loss and limbos.

My quotes of the week
the conflation of traditional protection programming aimed at addressing external threats with the internal risks posed by organisations and their staff; the fusion of abuses against beneficiaries with abuses against staff resulting in a detraction in focus from those most vulnerable and lacking in recourse; the pursuit of criminal justice solutions for behaviours that either do not reach the criminal threshold or do not have a realistic prospect of criminal conviction; and the blind transference of approaches used in stable Western democracies for tackling child abuse and sexual violence into war-torn contexts without any semblance of the rule of law.
(Tackling sexual exploitation and abuse by aid workers: what has changed 20 years on?)

“People have talked about ending poverty for decades – but GiveDirectly gives us the model that can deliver it.
(At nearly $1B raised, GiveDirectly sets sights on bigger goals with Rory Stewart taking the helm)

Development news
Jackson's water crisis stems from years of racist exploitation
This is how the white, conservative Mississippians have controlled the Blackest state in the country for centuries and quashed dissent: largely, through political starvation. That’s what Donna Ladd of The Jackson Free Press wrote about Jackson’s water crisis last year. Racist power brokers, she said, tried to destroy Black Mississippi by “withholding the financial resources necessary for the basic running and maintenance of, say, a capital city, its public schools and its water and sewer systems.”
Ja'han Jones for MSNBC; a few years ago the term 'Third World America' appeared and even if I fully understand how problematic the term is, I still think that there is more than a kernel of truth in it as parts of the US do not really perform like you would expect it from a OECD member state...

Op-Ed: How can we improve humanitarian aid to Ukrainians? Let them control it
Nevertheless, donors are falling back into old habits. Take cash assistance, one of the better ways to reach those who need aid. Rather than routing all the money through Ukraine’s existing social safety net, donors are also sending hundreds of millions of dollars to more than half a dozen international aid agencies who in turn are building multiple cash assistance programs of their own.
Why is all of this happening?
One major reason often cited for working through international aid agencies is concern over public sector corruption in Ukraine. In addition, donors such as the U.S. and the European Union are still ill-equipped, politically disinclined — and often legally prevented — from directly funding local groups. As a result, international NGOs and U.N. agencies end up serving as intermediaries even in a country like Ukraine where the combined capacities of the public, private and civil society sectors are high.
Hardin Lang & Nicholas Noe for Los Angeles Times point out a lot of issue we have already been discussing in the industry, but I thought there were some indications that localization is taken more seriously in Ukraine?!?

Who Makes Up the UN Leader’s Inner Circle? Your Rough Guide
The roundup is neither exhaustive nor definitive and though some insiders who provided information to PassBlue about the list contend that Guterres is aloof, the roster of 10 people — in alphabetical order — aims to dispel the mystery of who the secretary-general, a former Portuguese prime minister, may turn to or listen to amid the spiraling conflicts, vicious wars, near famines, nuclear threats, gender violence, pandemics, global warming, coups, massacres and so many other horrific problems that fall in his lap — heaped on by Russia’s full invasion of Ukraine this year. At the core of his UN entourage, known as the senior management group, sits a small number of people whom Guterres worked with in Geneva when he was the UN high commissioner for refugees, from 2005 to 2015. He became head of the UN organization in January 2017.
Allison Lecce for PassBlue with a super-helpful overview over senior UN movers & shakers!

Death and deforestation: Cocaine trade adds to Amazon's woes
Police and indigenous leaders say increasing violence in the region is likely a reflection of the deeper involvement of Brazil's drug-smuggling organizations in a wide range of illicit environmental activities.
Several arrests made in the Pereira-Phillips case have pointed to a connection with illegal fishing, and police are investigating possible ties to drug trafficking though no clear links have yet been established.
Andre Cabette Fabio for Thomson Reuters Foundation News on the more bad news for indigenous peoples in Brazil and neighbouring Amazon territories.

World Bank ‘Ponzi Finance’ report is damaging both to Lebanon and the bank itself
The content of the report — titled Lebanon Public Finance Review: Ponzi Finance? — is quite rigorous and precise. The overall message and ideological bias are debatable and could be harmful to the country. The language, authorship and conclusions are damaging to the World Bank itself, raising huge questions about the process of producing such a report and, most importantly, about the World Bank’s own role over the past 30 years in supporting such damaging policies and participating in their formulation. The bank was a partner to successive Lebanese governments and financed most of the projects mentioned in the report.
Nadim Shehadi for Arab News with an interesting comment regarding the 'Ponzi scheme' reference of the Bank in relation to their latest report.

The MCC Wants to Work in Richer Countries. It’s a Bad Idea.
The Millennium Challenge Corporation, a US development agency with a budget of a little less than $1 billion a year, is facing increasing difficulties in spending those resources in the world’s 81 poorest countries. As a result, it is supporting a bill in Congress that authorizes the Corporation to expand country eligibility from the current requirement of low- or lower-middle-income countries to the world’s 125 poorest countries, which would include economies like Mexico and Malaysia. There’s some support for that move within CGD—including from my colleagues Nancy Lee, Erin Collinson, and Jocilyn Estes. But I think there are better ways to ensure MCC has the maximum development impact in the countries that would benefit from its support the most.
Charles Kenny for the Center for Global Development with an interesting addition to the debate on US and global #globaldev financing.

At nearly $1B raised, GiveDirectly sets sights on bigger goals with Rory Stewart taking the helm
GiveDirectly has been a major player in scaling the use of unconditional cash transfers, helping build consensus amongst the international community that it is the most effective approach to tackling extreme poverty.
(...)
“People have talked about ending poverty for decades – but GiveDirectly gives us the model that can deliver it.
Not everybody seems to be convinced that GiveDirectly really has been a pioneer in the cash transfer movement, but they seem to come close to peak Jeffrey Sachs Millennium Village fame in promising to 'end poverty' (which they won't of course...).
Lindsey Hilsum's TV Diary
Where is the line between being a journalist and a humanitarian?
After nearly 40 years as a foreign correspondent, I still struggle with that question. The public service remit we have at Channel 4 News means that my job is simply to tell the story – it’s up to others to act on it. But a little girl is dying – surely, we can do more?
This time last year, as the Taliban swept into Kabul, I felt the dilemma more acutely than ever. Women I had filmed on previous reporting trips were sending messages begging me to help them leave the country.
Mostly, I could do nothing, but I did help some human rights workers get asylum for a former policewoman, whose story of terrible abuse I had told on Channel 4 News. She and her two little boys are safely in Canada now.
On the whole, we don’t get so involved.
Lindsey Hilsum for the Royal Television Society on the dilemmas at the intersection of humanitarian disasters, global journalism & the frontlines of crises.

Reporter’s Diary: When the UK’s cruel asylum policies hit close to home
It is painful to me that this stretch of water, which I associate with fond memories, has become a dangerous frontier for so many people in search of a better life – and that their attempts to cross it are being used as an excuse by the UK government to put forward ever-more draconian migration policies.
Katy Fallon for the New Humanitarian is also reflecting on personal memories, journalism & encounters with humanitarian policies.

Tackling sexual exploitation and abuse by aid workers: what has changed 20 years on?
The sector was likewise taken down other futile and ineffectual paths that did not help to focus on the SEA of beneficiary victims by aid workers, through the introduction of the hitherto unused and nebulous concept of ‘safeguarding’; the conflation of traditional protection programming aimed at addressing external threats with the internal risks posed by organisations and their staff; the fusion of abuses against beneficiaries with abuses against staff resulting in a detraction in focus from those most vulnerable and lacking in recourse; the pursuit of criminal justice solutions for behaviours that either do not reach the criminal threshold or do not have a realistic prospect of criminal conviction; and the blind transference of approaches used in stable Western democracies for tackling child abuse and sexual violence into war-torn contexts without any semblance of the rule of law.
These approaches were driven by new and influential players lacking in experience and a willingness to listen. But fundamentally, the lack of progress points to insufficient political will and reluctance by donors to move beyond rhetoric and bureaucracy to actually funding operations on the ground.
I double-checked and somehow Asmita Naik's excellent article for the Humanitarian Practice Network escaped my attention when it came out in June...

No more isolation: the school helping deaf children in Equatorial Guinea – in pictures
Remigio Agustín, a volunteer teacher, on the first day of school. The result of not learning to communicate can affect a person’s education and mental health. Fadda says research in the field of mental health shows psychological disorders in deaf adolescents are two to three times higher than in adolescents without impaired hearing
Diego Menjíbar Reynés for the Guardian; photographing schools & school children is a classic #globaldev theme and Diego manages to do this well and with dignity!



3 other news

13 Types of White Moderates: Which Ones Are You?
The Data Hawk: Believes in equity and justice, but requires all ideas and solutions to be supported by data, metrics, and outcomes. Research and data are often useful and necessary. The problem is that the Data Hawk does not have a deep analysis of the dynamics between race and other factors and data. They frequently forget, for example, that the default “valid” data and research methodologies have been determined by white dudes usually from elite white-led institutions.
Vu Le for NonprofitAF on the 'but' white moderates...

Exclusive: How SHELL and BP Financed Britain's Cold War Propaganda Machine
Formerly top secret files show how the two oil corporations bankrolled UK covert propaganda operations during the 1950s and 60s. The goal was to secure British access to key oil supplies across the developing world.
John McEvoy for Declassified UK digs up more dirt from UK archives on corporate irresponsibility & the long history of misinformation/propaganda.

Pregnancy

As a Swahili language medical interpreter, I’ve sat with women as they underwent these complexities twice over. In English there were the clinical realities; in Swahili, the emotional layers. Nuances are best processed in one’s mother tongue, but is there language for those who have walked this liminal space? For as long as our human bodies are the site of procreation, the decision to have children or not, how many, and when, will be a driving force behind all our choices. And how will those choices play out? How will we speak about them? Will we acknowledge the commonalities of human experience and strive to keep harm at bay, or will we pretend to not know its potency?
Sylvia K. Ilahuka for Guernica latest issue on pregnancy, birth, loss & much more!

What we were reading 5 years ago
(Link review 242, 21 July 2017)

Charities and voluntourism fuelling 'orphanage crisis' in Haiti, says NGO
Charitable givers from the US who believe they are helping Haitian orphans are instead funding the abuse and neglect of children at orphanages in the Caribbean country, a report from the NGO Lumos has found.
Naomi Larsson for the Guardian on a 'classic', recurring topic of this blog: the #globaldev challenges of orphanages/'orphanages'.

Why you need pull-based community meetings

However very often community meetings are not designed this way. Very often they as "show and tell" meetings, where an expert is brought in, and the community members sit passively and listen. The members are treated as knowledge consumers, whereas the real value of a community is that ever member has knowledge to offer, as well as knowledge to learn.
Nick Milton for Knoco Stories, a blog that is still active & worth checking out!

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