Are NGO & civil society regulations the development version of 20th century copyright laws?

In a comment a while ago I compared traditional, large development organizations to the music industry, suggesting that they risk of becoming the equivalent of CDs in the digital age if they do not embrace digital innovations. But current developments in Canada, the UK, the USA and elsewhere suggest that something more serious is happening and that governments seem to rely on outdated, 20th century rules, legislation and understandings of ‘civil society’ that can have a serious impact on global development organizations and their capacities to embrace innovation and new global challenges. In Canada , a group of NGOs and Think Tanks recently wrote an open letter to the government : The "public good" letter was initiated by Environmental Defence executive director Tim Gray. It asks all political parties to sign on to "new legal and policy direction that enhances and protects the ability of registered charities to participate in public policy debates," without fearin

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Hi all, Welcome back from the Easter break that most of you enjoyed in one way or another! There are quite a lot of Development news items this week starting with Oxfam's relocation to Nairobi, locally embedded disaster preparedness in Vanuatu, over-paid & over-used consultants, Unilever as a philanthropic player, journalism about 'poor people', the almost impossible task of impactful volunteering with children and Canada's emerging fight against outdated NGO legislation. Our digital lives uncovers why Stanford students turn down 150.000 Dollar jobs so they can look for meaningful engagements-so probably the development industry will be flooded by Ivy league graduates soon?! In Academia , reflections on the 'gender carnival' in post-war Afghanistan, (not) visiting 'the field' & the latest academic outsourcing technologies courtesy of Warwick University. Enjoy! New from aidnography Honor Among Thieves (book review) I find it difficult to ju

Honor Among Thieves (book review)

As more and more great reviews come in for J.’s latest installment of his aid work(er) romance novel, I am pleased to share some of my reflections on J.'s Honor Among Thieves . Since I have followed and reviewed the writing evolution of J. in his first two novels ( Missionary, Mercenary, Mystic, Misfit & Disastrous Passion ) I found HAT a very good transition from more traditional notions of ‘the field’ to an established development ‘Aidland’. Cambodia, the country, people and politics, makes an enticing, but also very sobering backdrop to the book ’s main story line : While creating a project for a 500,000 Dollar corporate donation, Mary-Anne shuttles between the country office in Phnom Penh and the World Aid Corps’ headquarters in Washington, D.C., becoming more and more entangled in office politics, donor realities and contemporary aid discourses. A general sense of tiredness with the aid industry About half-way through the book I made a note that the book is definitel

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Hi all, The last week was just crazy and we essentially skipped one iteration of your favorite link review. But I enjoyed the debates around my reflections on development volunteering and the rise of a new precariat... So before we break for Easter (if you celebrate) let's catch up with some good readings! From a critical CBC volunteering documentary to essential aid life hacks, Nepal's ever failing development, UNICEF's Twitter secrets, the lure of charity porn and an academic essay on 'Bankspeak', the language and discourse of World Bank report language, there is breadth and depth in the development news section! In Digital Lives we have a guidelines for immersive media projects, an Instagram project that challenges community guidelines and censorship and why Twitter maps should be approached with caution. Last not least, Academia looks at peer review fraud once again and academic book reviews. Enjoy! New from aidnography The professionalization of development vo

The professionalization of development volunteering – towards a new global precariat?

Recently, three separate incidents have caught my attention: A new report from the Institute of Development Studies (IDS) on The role of volunteering in sustainable development was launched, a post on the GUARDIAN asked the critical question: Volunteering overseas: the best method for creating new aid workers? and discussions with Danish colleagues revealed that the Danish Foreign Ministry wants to fund a new volunteering scheme in cooperation with Denmark’s leading NGOs. While the debates on volunteering and voluntourism are prominently featured in virtual debates ( as early as 2009 ) and research , including on this blog (e.g. Are 80 million potential voluntourists, slacktivists & DIY humanitarians the future of charity? or There always needs to be a product: 'Self-reflection', volunteering & the emerging development entertainment industrial complex ) , I find it important to add a more nuanced, shall we say, ‘political economy’ discussion to the topic. The

Links & Contents I Liked 140

Hi all, New week, fresh linkage! ' Yoga is helping to end poverty in Africa '-you, I & Jeff Sachs knew it all along! But there are better stories from Africa, including storytelling from South Sudan and the question when 'immigrants' become 'expats'; there's a great section on the issue of how NGOs need to be political to stay relevant for social change; the World Bank realizes that Google maps don't solve resettlement issues; research communicators need to be political, WhyDev celebrates some kind of anniversary; and we have tech debates around radio call-in shows, girls’ empowerment and crowdsourced data. Our digital lives looks at instagrammed fashion moments, Air bnb ’s tricky maps, and upscale Monocle magazine and what we can learn for development communication. Finally, the question whether we need more adjunct administrators rather than teachers in higher education. Enjoy! New from aidnography Why I promote book reviews Book reviews are