Saturday Morning Reading #20

Here’s your Saturday morning reading…

1. 52 pieces of advice for aspiring humanitarian workers | WhyDev
From tampons to Tinder, the WhyDev team give some very honest advice about what it’s really like to work in the humanitarian sector. Just remember…
“9. You know nothing, humanitarian worker”
and also…

“44. You may have lofty dreams of improving lives, but if you can’t be good to those in your immediate vicinity, you ain’t going to improve nothing.”

2. Capacity, institutions, and relationships | Find What Works – Dave Algoso
“The capacity of a system hinges on the social relationships within it.”
Anyone who has been engaged in capacity building will know that it’s often not what it’s built up to be. We concentrate on improving individual expertise/skills (often through death by PowerPoint) without thinking about how stuff actually happens – i.e. when people discuss ideas (formally and informally) and then take action. I’m trying to work out the implications of this for my own work.

3. Refugee Flows and Disorder in the Global System | Dart-Throwing Chimp – Jay Ulfelder
It’s rather depressing but unfortunately this might make sense. With the number of people displaced by violent conflict hit the highest level since World War II at the end of 2013, Jay sees this only getting worse, as the world heads into a period of systemic disorder. If this is the world we’re working in, how should development organisations respond?

4. Microcredit: Are borrowers different? | The Economist
The microcredit debate rumbles on.
“The results imply that borrowers indeed are different. On average, they seem to have higher returns than those who choose not to take up loans. However, this does not mean that expanding the access to credit for poor people is a bad policy. If anything, the positive effects of both loans and grants that the researchers found show that many poor people face liquidity constraints that prevent them from investing in capital.”

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