Links & Contents I Liked 477

Hi all,

Any weekly review post that features a link to Robert Chambers' work is a good post ;). 
More seriously, lots of new research, reflections & reporting from humanitarian crises,  well-being of humanitarians & classic topics such as feminist foreign policy, expat salaries, #globaldev blogging + a really good doggo :)

My quotes of the week
Should we wish to see the troubling trend of aid worker violence reversed, we need a careful and pragmatic investigation into how the engines of foreign aid have evolved. We need to look more closely at the varying forms of securitized aid and understand their relation to aid worker violence. We must also suppress the tendency to absolve aid workers from any blame associated with their work, and look at their role objectively, with the goal of improving security for all. (What is behind increasing violence against aid workers?)

There also needs to be a far clearer sense of where humanitarian organisations’ added value lies. For example, it would be impossible for aid agencies to ignore the climate crisis, which has serious humanitarian consequences. But humanitarian actors are only ever likely to play a small, niche role in mitigating the climate emergency. Rather than racing to address every new challenge, agencies would be better placed to focus on where and how they demonstrably can have most impact in different types of crisis compared to other actors. (Humanitarian action is the answer to fewer and fewer of today’s humanitarian crises)

Development news
Evidence of crimes against humanity in Libya, experts say
U.N.-backed human rights experts said Monday there is evidence that crimes against humanity have been committed against Libyans and migrants in chaos-stricken Libya, including women being forced into sexual slavery.
The investigators commissioned by the U.N.-backed Human Rights Council also faulted the European Union for sending support to Libyan forces that they say contributed to crimes against migrants and Libyans, and called on EU authorities to review their policies toward Libya.
Jamey Keaton & Samy Magdy for Associated Press/NPR News Hour with a reminder of how terrible the situation in Libya (still) is.

Washington’s Bid for the Top Job at the UN’s Migration Agency Is Raising Eyebrows
“We don’t comment on the merits of any individual candidate,” Malcorra, a former chef de cabinet at the UN and foreign minister of Argentina, said in an email. “But . . . there should be a proportionate number of male and female candidates in each election, and the process should be fully transparent and competitive.”
She added: “In seven decades, the IOM has never elected a woman Director-General. We need more women leading and running for the top jobs at our multilateral organizations, even when the forces of tradition have kept leaders — mostly men — in power for more than one term. The IOM’s election is one of 17 that will take place in the next three years in the multilateral system, and they all offer historic opportunities to end the shameful legacy of gender inequality in multilateral bodies.”
Damilola Banjo for PassBlue on yet another leadership appointment UN-style...

‘We’d have died of hunger’: the charity kitchens feeding millions in Pakistan
The World Food Programme predicts 5.1 million Pakistanis will be facing severe hunger by next week – an increase of 1.1 million people from the previous quarter.
In Karachi, Pakistan’s largest city, the problems have brought long queues at food banks. Ahmed Edhi, from the Edhi Foundation, which has provided free meals for more than 40 years, says he is seeing “well-dressed men from offices” coming to the city’s centres.
Zofeen T Ebrahim for the Guardian on the food & hunger crisis looming in Pakistan.

What is behind increasing violence against aid workers?
The securitization of aid is one of the determinants of violence committed against aid workers, but it is not the only one. Individual and organizational concerns like those raised by Fast represent critical considerations in understanding violence towards aid workers. Greater attention and empirical analysis related to these concerns would help deepen our understanding of aid worker violence.
Should we wish to see the troubling trend of aid worker violence reversed, we need a careful and pragmatic investigation into how the engines of foreign aid have evolved. We need to look more closely at the varying forms of securitized aid and understand their relation to aid worker violence. We must also suppress the tendency to absolve aid workers from any blame associated with their work, and look at their role objectively, with the goal of improving security for all.
Heather Dicks & Liam Swiss for Population & Security present important new research.

How arson became a gang weapon at Rohingya camps
Advocates and refugees have meanwhile urged safer conditions. This includes not just better policing to curb the activities of the militant groups, but improved infrastructure to reduce the likelihood of fire. The average population density in the camps is 40,000 people per square kilometre, and the shelters are made of highly flammable materials — bamboo and tarpaulins — that speak to their temporary conditions.
Syed Samiul Basher Anik for the New Humanitarian reports from Bangladesh.

Feminist Foreign Policy: A Co-optation? Useful framework? or Newest Insta Filter for Empowerment
At this point it is worth juxtaposing these principles with the countries that have passed /are implementing feminist foreign policies, bearing in mind their violent histories, current questions regarding hegemonic neocolonial power brokering, the lack of atonement through reparations and the current place in the global geopolitics. This and all the interrogation, and critiques provided by the conversation (in its entirety, not just the pieces that made it to this article) should then inform whether African feminists should applaud, critique, or be suspicious of feminist foreign policy.
Sunshine Fionah Komusana for African Feminism with a critical view on feminist foreign policy (I like the notion of a 'filter' on contemporary and historical power dynamics).

Making room for aid workers’ own grief in the Türkiye-Syria quake response
When asked what their needs were after the earthquakes and how GOAL could support staff and affected communities, colleagues overwhelmingly answered in the same way: Couple empathy towards affected staff, with involving them in the emergency response. “I am ready to work” was a frequently shared refrain.
No amount of disaster preparedness can ensure readiness against a tragedy as deep as that caused by the Türkiye-Syria earthquakes. Yet by recognising the value of community-based aid work more frequently and investing more flexibly in networks of localised assistance provision, we can better support the humanitarian impulse of voluntarily acting on empathy through both ongoing and unforeseen crises.
Jeannie Zielinski for the New Humanitarian with important reflections on balancing humanitarian work & well-being of humanitarians.

Exploring digital mental health and psycho-social support for displaced and stateless adolescents
The report summarizes existing evidence and insights from UNHCR staff working in several country operations to lay out the case and the caveats for digital MHPSS for forcibly displaced and stateless adolescents. We offer ideas on if, when, where, and how digital MHPSS might be explored as an option for reaching these adolescents. We also look at the risks of digital interventions, and explore contextual challenges with digital interventions for this population. This leads to a set of core insights into the key benefits of digital MHPSS at the different levels of the MHPSS Pyramid alongside the barriers, limitations, and risks.
Linda Raftree for Wait...What? presents new nuanced research on the complicated space for digital mental health.

Providing animal-assisted psychological support to victims of violence in Mexico
An MSF team of doctors, psychologists, social workers, psychiatrists, and physiotherapists, provides comprehensive - and often long-term - care for migrants and Mexicans who have experienced horrific journeys along the migration route or extreme violence in their origin countries.
Onnie is trained to provide therapeutic support to children, adolescents, the elderly, and people living with disabilities. The support that Onnie and Alicia provide at the centre is one component of the psychosocial care that some patients receive.
As important as this MSF project is I am fully transparent that the great pictures of Onnie may have played a part in posting the link ;)!
Organised Migrants in Central America and Mexico: an exercise of collective (em)power(ment)
Therefore, when thinking of migrant empowerment, it is important to consider the structures that shape collective and individual exercising of agency. It is crucial to critically assess how the ongoing migration regime and its implementation in the Americas externalises borders, produces forced immobility, exacerbates migrants’ vulnerability, and hinders opportunities for empowerment. And yet, power relations are never one-directional. Where there is oppression, there will be resistance. The collective exercising of power by the 2018 and 2019 migrant caravans serves as an example of a migrant’s capacity to push back and protect what is rightfully theirs: free movement, peace and dignity. 
Jorge Morales & Abril Rios for Compas with new research on the 'migrant caravans'.

Humanitarian action is the answer to fewer and fewer of today’s humanitarian crises
To begin with there should be an honest discussion about what constitutes a humanitarian crisis and acknowledgement that the humanitarian sector is embroiled in a case of ‘mission creep’. While the contours of what might be defined a humanitarian crisis have always been vague it should be questioned whether, for example, a political crisis or health emergencies should so readily be characterised as such.
There also needs to be a far clearer sense of where humanitarian organisations’ added value lies. For example, it would be impossible for aid agencies to ignore the climate crisis, which has serious humanitarian consequences. But humanitarian actors are only ever likely to play a small, niche role in mitigating the climate emergency. Rather than racing to address every new challenge, agencies would be better placed to focus on where and how they demonstrably can have most impact in different types of crisis compared to other actors.
Damian Lilly for the Humanitarian Practice Network.

Brain drain in the aid sector: Unpacking the barriers of the dual-salary system
The existence of a dual-salary system in the aid sector creates structural barriers and impediments to the development of localised and sustainable responses. During the recruitment process, professionals are not evaluated according to their previous experience and titles. Instead, their nationality weighs on their application more than their expertise.
Manfredi Miceli with a new working paper for the Center for Humanitarian Leadership; 6 years ago I wrote The salary gap between expat and local aid workers – it’s complicated.

What type of inclusion does epistemic injustice require?
As such, epistemic justice would need to be seen as an ongoing commitment to being accountable and responsive to those who are not yet in the room by deliberately cultivating the ‘practical and material bases for popular power over knowledge production and distribution.’4 Finally, it is worth paying attention to the politics of belonging that often accompanies the pursuit of inclusion. On a practical level, including voices and perspectives from the global south means making political and ethical judgements about what counts as knowledge from the global south and who qualifies for recognition as African/southern
Anye-Nkwenti Nyamnjoh & Cornelius Ewuoso with a new open access piece for BMJ Global Health.

Reflecting on 50 years of learning with Robert Chambers
Edited by IDS Research Fellow Stephen Thompson and IDS Research Officer Mariah Cannon, the eight articles included in this archive issue clearly show change – change in Robert’s evolving interests, change in the strategic focus of IDS as a research institute, change in the wider development studies field, as well as change in the world at large over the last 50 years.
Robert’s earlier IDS Bulletin articles show a strong focus on local knowledge and rural development. Over time, this shifts to a concern with professional development management, and a focus on power and participatory methods.
Stephen Thompson & Mariah Cannon for IDS celebrate Robert Chambers' work with a special issue of the IDS Bulletin.

What we were reading 5 years ago
(Link review 267, 26 January 2018)


The development blogging crisis
So is development blogging dead then – and is it about shorter attention spans, the rise of videos or podcasts - or perhaps something about men?
Me, on one of my favorite topics...#globaldev blogging ;)

Has global development reached 'peak blockchain hype?'
“Blockchain is being thrown around like mHealth was five or six years ago … No one seems to really understand it, but everyone wants in,” said James Michiel, mHealth innovation lead at University of California Davis. “When will ‘methodically designed interventions using proven technology with a clear plan for sustainability’ be the new buzzword?” he asked.
Kelli Rogers for DevEx...remember how blockchains were supposed to revolutionize #globaldev??

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