Saturday Morning Reading #27

Here’s your (extra reflective) Saturday morning reading…

1) Cognitive dissonance: An unspoken qualification? | WhyDev – Jonathan Favini
“Certainly the intent of development is noble. At face value, the notion of alleviating human suffering, of improving living conditions or elongating lives, is unarguably good. That said, the disturbing truth is that academic and professional evaluations of the development industry have been largely negative.”

2) Africa’s economic ‘rise’ does not reflect reality | Jostein Hauge | Global development
“Raising the poverty line to $2 a day gives more startling results. In sub-Saharan Africa, this rate barely improved – from 72% to 70% between 1981 and 2010. In the same time span, developing countries in east Asia and the Pacific slashed this rate by more than two-thirds, from 92.4% to 29.7%. As a consequence, Africa’s share of world poverty has, in fact, been rising”

3) How To Write So You Won’t Be Ignored | Development Intern – Rowan Emslie
“We live in a world that is spectacularly, almost absurdly saturated with information. If you want people to pay attention to anything you are adding to this over-abundance, you’d better make sure it’s clear and easy to read.”

4) Flying off on holiday? You disgust me. | Aid Leap
“In order to reduce my carbon footprint, I try to avoid flying as much as possible. When I tell people this, they normally react with a kind of slack-jawed disbelief. Sometimes the reaction is mixed with amusement, as if I attempted to limit methane emissions by farting less. Sometimes it’s quite hostile, as if I slaughtered kittens to protect the mice living in my cupboard.”

5) Why you shouldn’t start an orphanage (from a woman who did) | Lessons I Learned
“Many things that I once believed about charity and aid turned out to be wrong.”

6) Book review: Letters Left Unsent | The DiA Blog
“The author emphasizes that the industry is not perfect. Nor is it entirely flawed either, however. It is an industry comprised of people who are capable of performing both good and bad actions, and who operate within a framework of power relations. In short, it is just like any other industry out there but with a twist: if it functions properly, meaningful change for the better can be achieved.”

7) Why the Internet makes the personal even more political | openDemocracy
“While online relationships may be a poor substitute for the emotional warmth of a face-to-face interaction, they are quickly surpassing community gatherings in their ability to reach huge numbers of people quickly. Those qualities are going to be important in any broader effort to transform society.”

8) Perverse Payment by Results: frogs in a pot and straitjackets for obstacle courses | Participation, Power and Social Change Research at IDS
“Until PbR is soundly evidence-based, while DFID may  be a world leader in payment by results, for aid to be cost-effective, and for the sake of people living in poverty, let there be no followers.  If DFID want to be a world leader, perhaps this could be in honest, insightful evaluation of PbR which goes deep into its externalities and  the realities of all who are affected.”

9) Development: not for people from different work and ethnic backgrounds? | Global Development Professionals Network
“Based on his international development experience alone Gates would not get a campaigning job with Oxfam or any other international NGO.”

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