Links & Contents I Liked 479

Hi all,

A new post on humanitarian career challenges, news from Sudan & on reduced ODA spending, stories on migration, limited spaces for journalists, the complexities of transactional sex-plus personal reflections on global health, work with refugee women & SDG leadership challenges; last not least we have to deal with question of abuse of power in the UN system & academia and take a look at UN history...past, present & future in this week in #globaldev review!

My quotes of the week
Artistic, literary, and cultural productions are sources of knowledge. They are types of knowledge that can be used, deconstructed, reformed and reused. This knowledge suggests the emancipation of paradigms; conjectures towards the moment when our imagined worlds live up to their speculative capacity and theorize liberation as the full expression of the richness of the people’s potential. While African knowledge has been thought to look back, scientists are now using knowledge to look forward.
(A New Image of Africa’s Future)

What kind of a photo op will send what message at what time? What can a carefully structured speech communicate right out in public? What is too delicate to send via the most private and trusted channels? What kind of meetings can you have within the strict protocols of diplomacy? Which call can you make to which person, and when, and when that person answers, what can you say? Protocol is inherently entertaining because it's inherently silly much of the time, and yet it's a reality with which somebody like Kate lives all the time. ('The Diplomat' is smart, twisty TV about being great at your job)

New on Aidnography
17 (bad) things you should know before choosing a humanitarian career
Marielys Padua Soto list is a good primer for discussions about the humanitarian industry in classrooms, but also at home with your family or inside humanitarian organizations.
Her list also shows the frustration that many well-qualified professionals, with the right qualifications and mindset the sector needs, have and that we need to continue to address throughout the institutions that shape humanitarian practices.
Development news
Sudan’s outsider: how a paramilitary leader fell out with the army and plunged the country into war
If Hemedti is sensitive about his outsider status, the mockery he is subjected to within Sudan, and particularly Khartoum, most likely does not help. A wave of social media memes follows his public speeches, making fun of his accent and expression. Pictures of him in his old Darfur days looking bedraggled circulate on WhatsApp groups, captioned with derisory comments. Hemedti was a hinterland village clown to the Arab elites of central Sudan, the so called “riverine tribes”, descendants of Arabs who migrated from the Arabian peninsula in the 12th century and intermarried with Indigenous populations along the banks of the Nile River, which runs through the centre of Sudan. These groups, who have dominated government and state bureaucracy since independence in 1956, are not accustomed to people such as Hemedti at the seat of power. In forcing Bashir to step aside, Hemedti overturned an agreement that underwrote Sudanese politics for generations. The elites of the centre have the political power, and their partners in the peripheries enforce their agendas, but remain in the background.
Nesrine Malik with an essential long-read for the Guardian.
Darfur on edge as violence spreads amid Sudan power struggle
The humanitarian situation could deteriorate quickly in Darfur if the international community does not monitor the situation closely. Beyond local monitors, no international mission exists to document abuses. The last one was the joint United Nations-African Union peacekeeping mission, UNAMID, but its mandate expired at the end of 2020.
(...)
Osman, of HRW, agreed and said the outsourcing of the conflict to tribal militias in Darfur and elsewhere should be expected, given the history of Sudan.
“The bottom line is that every minute of fighting that continues is bad for civilians. These are forces that never showed any respect for the laws of war or international law,” he said.
Mat Nashed for AlJazeera reports from Dafur.

Why foreign aid isn’t as generous as the latest figures might suggest
The estimates also show that donor governments spent $7 billion more to help refugees at home (while still calling it overseas aid) than they did on humanitarian aid for the world’s most dire crises.
Irwin Loy for the New Humanitarian; regular readers will not be surprised as I've highlighted this trend for the UK more than once, but it has turned into a worrying global trend that undercuts vital humanitarian spending on various 'frontlines'.

Global aid 2022: Australia risks becoming a minnow on development
In 2022, Australia was among the world’s least generous countries when it came to aid, surpassing only Korea, the Slovak Republic and Greece out of a group of 30 donor countries. And Australia is now the least generous donor among key allies and partners, having fallen below the United States on this measure for the first time since 1965.
(...)
Australia is now the furthest below the DAC average it has ever been (-0.17%) and below the average for the longest period: eight years straight. Perhaps the government simply doesn’t care about this disparity given its increased focus on defence and deterrence. But it does seem wildly incompatible with the bipartisan rhetoric about “shaping our region” and “using all elements of statecraft” in the face of the most challenging global environment Australia has seen since 1945.
Cameron Hill for DevPolicy Blog takes up the issue of reduced #globaldev spending for Australia.

UN ‘taking years’ to investigate allegations of staff sexual misconduct
Lawyers are calling for a review of the way the UN handles sexual misconduct cases amid concerns its agencies are taking years at a time to investigate allegations of rape and assault made by staff against their colleagues.
(...)
Meanwhile, documents from the World Health Organisation’s legal archive show repeated concerns – stretching back 15 years – about the UN agency’s “excessively lengthy” proceedings when investigating allegations of harassment and sexual misconduct.
Samuel Lovett & Sarah Newey for the Telegraph; unfortunately, this is nothing really new, but worth pointing out time & again that the UN system has systematic problems bringing sexual misconduct cases to a swifter conclusion.

What’s changed since #AidToo? Not much, say sex workers in Sierra Leone
“Yes, we’ve been given the lectures about power imbalances and everything – and I understand that – but if we don’t pay women for this type of thing, then realistically that means they or their children may not eat for the day. It’s as simple as that,” said *Leonard, who visits sex workers and works for a UN agency in Sierra Leone, asking that neither his name nor that of his organisation be used because of the restrictions.
(...)
Others say foreign clients treat them better than local clients – and pay more.
“Some of the foreign men treat me very nicely,” said *Mariama, 19, who lives with other sex workers and their dependents in an abandoned nightclub on Lumley Beach. “I always look for white men when I go out. My friend married a man from Germany because he got her pregnant and now she lives there. I want that to happen to me.”
Shanna Jones & Ngozi Monica Cole for the New Humanitarian on the complexities of transactional sex, expat men & a political economy unchanged by #AidToo in Sierra Leone.

Former Gambian Minister of Interior to be tried in Switzerland for Crimes Against Humanity
Ousman Sonko will be tried before the FCC in Bellinzona at a date yet to be determined. He is accused by the Swiss prosecuting authorities of the killing of a perceived political opponent in 2000, of acts of sexual violence committed between 2000 and 2002 as well as in 2005, of having participated in acts of torture (including physical assault and sexual violence) and deprivation of liberty committed against individuals who were suspected of having plotted a coup in March 2006 as well as of the murder of a politician in 2011 . The OAG also accuses Ousman Sonko of having co-perpetrated deprivation of liberty and acts of torture – which led to the death of Solo Sandeng, one of the leading figure of the opposition party (United Democratic Party – UDP) – of peaceful demonstrators in 2016, when he was Minister of the Interior. These acts have been qualified by the Swiss prosecutor as crimes against humanity.
(...)
The indictment comes more than six years after Sonko’s arrest on 26 January 2017, one day after TRIAL International filed a criminal complaint against him. Quickly, an investigation for crimes against humanity was opened and Ousman Sonko was placed in pre-trial detention.
Trial International with very interesting news from the frontlines of global human rights jurisdiction.

Adrift
For nearly two years, The Associated Press assembled puzzle pieces from across three continents to uncover the story of this boat — and the people it carried from hope to death.
The vessel that reached Tobago was registered in Mauritania, a large and mostly deserted country in northwest Africa nearly 3,000 miles (4,800 km) away. Evidence found on the boat — and its style and color as a typical Mauritanian “pirogue”— suggested the dead were likely African migrants who were trying to reach Europe but got lost in the Atlantic.
(...)
These “ghost boats” — and likely many others that have vanished — are in part an unintended result of years of efforts and billions of dollars spent by Europe to stop crossings on the Mediterranean Sea. That crackdown, along with other factors such as economic disruption from the pandemic, pushed migrants to return to the far longer, more obscure and more dangerous Atlantic route to Europe from northwest Africa via the Canaries instead.
Renata Brito & Felipe Dana for AP News with a powerful investigation into contemporary migration.

'The Diplomat' is smart, twisty TV about being great at your job
There's a lot of fun to be had with the fact that Kate manages with exacting nuance questions like: What kind of a photo op will send what message at what time? What can a carefully structured speech communicate right out in public? What is too delicate to send via the most private and trusted channels? What kind of meetings can you have within the strict protocols of diplomacy? Which call can you make to which person, and when, and when that person answers, what can you say? Protocol is inherently entertaining because it's inherently silly much of the time, and yet it's a reality with which somebody like Kate lives all the time.
Linda Jones for NPR reviews Netflix' 'The Diplomat' with scenes many in #globaldev should have encountered as well...I still would have liked to see 'The Mission' given a chance to shine in the streaming world..

In Bangladesh, the War on the Press Rages On
In the 52-year-long history of Bangladesh, governments have seen the media mostly as a mouthpiece. Journalists and new outlets have faced the wrath of the powerful whenever they crossed the limits set by the authorities. Since 1971, both the Bangladesh Nationalist Party and the Awami League have heavily cracked down on the media whenever in power.
Zarif Faiaz for the Diplomat on Bangladesh's difficult history of press freedom with imminent danegrs looming in light of the forthcoming elections.
A New Image of Africa’s Future
Whether you label it African science fiction or African futurism, the common thread is its rootedness in culture, history, and mythology that does not centre the West. ‘It’s less concerned with “what could have been” and more concerned with “what is and can/will be”. It acknowledges, grapples with and carries “what has been”,’ writes Hugo award-winning Nigerian-American writer, Nnedi Okorafor. For Kodwo Eshun, African futurism ‘does not seek to deny the tradition of counter-memory. Rather, it aims to extend that tradition by reorienting the intercultural vectors of Black Atlantic temporality towards the proleptic as much as the retrospective.’
Artistic, literary, and cultural productions are sources of knowledge. They are types of knowledge that can be used, deconstructed, reformed and reused. This knowledge suggests the emancipation of paradigms; conjectures towards the moment when our imagined worlds live up to their speculative capacity and theorize liberation as the full expression of the richness of the people’s potential. While African knowledge has been thought to look back, scientists are now using knowledge to look forward.
Charles Ebikeme for the Republic on new imaginative horizons for 'Africa'.

Shifting Mindsets To Shift Development Systems (Part 3)
While there are many important dialogic interventions applied in the context of UNDP-supported governance, transitional justice, peacebuilding, food systems and SDG localization efforts, we recognized a gap in the ways we hold space for dialogue when formulating policy decisions in the face of uncertainty, or when trying to make sense of systems and the solutions that yield deep change.
This culminated in a co-designed HDR Dialogue Field Guide, intended to bridge some of the most important tools from the Leadership for Systems Transformation certificate, with the discursive spaces and policy processes where new modes of leadership and governance might ensure.
Laurel Patterson & Sophia Robele for SDG Integration; the Internet is full of surprises & 'SDG Integration' is one of them...it reads a bit like Oprah meets UNDP ResReps & maintains a careful balance between interesting reflections on #globaldev & SDG implementation bingo...probably not unique for large organizations...

‘Act of Creation’: The Birth of the UN Charter and Why It’s So Essential Today, a New Podcast Series
And now I introduce you to the first episode of a three-part podcast series of the same name, “Act of Creation,” which uses the book as a springboard to a fascinating conversation with Schlesinger, setting the scene when the UN Charter was born 78 years ago; how the negotiations for it ensued from April 25 to June 26, 1945; and taking stock of this singular moment and its enduring relevance today about lessons about leadership, about isolationism and about the power of an educated public.
Dan Becker for PassBlue; I really like UN history so this podcast should be great!

In Uganda, A Refugee Woman Is Paving The Way To A Dignified Life For Other Refugee Women
- We want the international community to:Give us ownership of projects right from the inception and design phases, so we can provide cultural context and community-driven solutions.
- Localise funding so that funds are directly accessible to us and do not trickle down through middle parties.
- Build the capacity of RLOs in proposal and grant writing, storytelling and outreach, and monitoring and evaluation.
- Advocate for mobilising more women-led groups: currently, in RELON, we only have five women-led RLOs among 900.
- Encourage quality and equitable opportunities for education for girls in refugee settings.
Chichi talks to Devyani Nighoskar for Samuel Hall Stories about her work with refugee women & girls.

20 years of global health – 5 things that inspire me and still keep me going
These people – scattered all across the globe, across different sectors – give me so much hope. A few have taken on what I call “insider” roles, and do their best to shift the agenda, culture and global health system from their positions. I know many will stay on the “outside” (important for me here to differentiate from astroturf “paid outsiders”), and create and shape the global health architecture from where they are, because they refuse to support or engage in the traditional model that dominates. This group may give me the most hope: they are building an alternative model and way of doing things. They inspire followers not by offering status symbols on business cards, or billion-dollar budgets to elbow your career path towards, but by providing thought-leadership, space to engage, and a culture based on respect and humility (and some silly fun too).
Katri Bertram reflects on her work in global health.

Michael Lipton obituary
The development economist Michael Lipton, who has died aged 86, credited an important part of his education to the people of the village of Kavathe in Maharashtra state, India. His research there in 1965-66 anchored a lifetime devoted to understanding, explaining and advocating for poor rural people around the world.
Simon Maxwell remembers Michael Lipton for the Guardian-another great #globaldev thinker with a career at the University of Sussex & IDS.

In other news

The Midas Touch
Many people in the fields of social sciences, humanities, decolonial studies, and also in the domain of activism and social change may be sharing the same feelings I have this week, after the news concerning Professor Boaventura de Sousa Santos and the research center CES
(...)
And that’s why my strongest frustration comes from the reactions of Professor Boaventura de Sousa Santos so far. If you did not see it, following the same textbook of power abuse, he is denying and blaming the victims. In my opinion, if he is indeed engaged with everything that he writes and says, he can do better. He can turn this situation into a healing moment to push change in the way academic institutions deal with abuse claims — and therefore change the culture of power abuse.
Ana Cristina Suzina shares her reflections as a new book an power & abuse in academia highlights among others the well-known scholar Boaventura de Sousa Santos.

Social media has changed – Will academics catch up?
The content of this encouragement tends to repeat motifs such as “get your work out there”, “publicise your research” and “make an impact”, which are becoming increasingly misleading with each passing year. These ambitions are not in any way impossible but achieving them in a sustainable way is becoming more demanding, with greater risks that are yet to be adequately handled within universities. It feels the professional normalisation of social media has reached its crescendo at precisely the point where the risk/return ratio no longer makes sense for many academics. Social media has changed and the guidance universities offer academics urgently needs to catch up with this new reality.
Mark Carrigan for LSE Impact of Social Sciences on #highered communication in a post-Twitter world.

What we were reading 5 years ago
(Link review 269, 9 February 2018)

Conan O'Brien visits Haiti-the remarkable story of how Team Coco is communicating development
His program is an important reminder that celebrities do not have to bring ‘stuff’ to impoverished people, adopt their children or set up an organization themselves because the aid industry is too slow and inefficient in their views.
Promoting tourism, cornflakes, art and culture are actually great ways of encouraging people to explore foreign places, meet different people and taste real hot sauce.
Me on Conan's travel show-sad, how the situation in Haiti has gotten so much worse since then...

'Most of the children still have parents': behind the facade of a Bali orphanage
Former volunteers and staff, in interviews with the Guardian, said up to five tour groups could be moved through the orphanage each day, bringing donations, potential sponsorships, food and gifts.
Only a handful of the children are orphans, despite the institution marketing itself as an orphanage for more than a decade.
Chester confirmed only six of the children were without both parents, 64 had a single parent living, 14 had both parents alive and 10 were described as “special cases”. She said she had never hidden the fact that some children had parents, and the centre’s website carried that information.
In recent months, as pressure mounted in the Australian parliament to stop orphanage tourism, the institution rebranded itself as Jodie O’Shea House. The word “orphanage” has been removed from parts of its website.
Christopher Knaus & Kate Lamb for The Guardian. A good 'post-Covid' reminder not to 'volunteer' in Bali-enjoy your holiday and leave-that's as much good as you should possibly thinking about doing!

The Problem With Capitalist Philanthropy
The Howard G. Buffett Foundation has presented its work carefully. Articles from the region published in reputable media agencies, including the Guardian and Al Jazeera, have received support from the International Women’s Media Foundation (IWMF), which in turn received funding from Buffett. His foundation directly contributes to the organization’s Great Lakes Reporting Initiative, which supports female journalists who work in the DRC, South Sudan, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda, and the Central Africa Republic on issues related to “empowerment, democracy, food security, and conservation efforts.”
(...)
In Morvaridi’s words, organizations, including the media, promote the priorities of “elite capitalist philanthropists” and thereby “contribute to the building of the political agenda they support.” The IMWF has successfully reshaped mainstream media narratives in the Great Lakes region, diversifying the range of stories that emerge from that area and influencing international opinion. However, in partnering with the Howard G. Buffett Foundation, it has legitimized Buffett’s activities in the region and his support for the Rwandan government.
T Rivers for Jacobin on the challenges of getting #globaldev & humanitarian journalism funding right...

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Links & Contents I Liked 500

The visible lessons of Invisible Children- #globaldev critique in the viral age (in response to Paul Currion)

Happy retirement Duncan Green!

Should I consider a PhD in International Development Studies?

Dear white middle class British women: Please don't send used bras (or anything, really) to Africa