Saturday Morning Reading #29

Here’s your Saturday Morning Reading…
1. Working in development: what you really need to know | Anna Marry – Global Development Professionals Network
“Aspiring development workers like Mary believe that they need prior experience to get into development. It’s a bit of a chicken-and-egg situation; you need experience in order to gain experience. Mary believes that she also needs a master’s degree to secure that first job. She knows that getting her foot in the door will be a struggle and therefore she is ready and willing to “do anything” as long as it’s related to development.
“Surely she’s right?” you ask. Well, not exactly.”
Main suggestions: Volunteer, get field experience, build transferable skills and take the initiative to specialise.
“There is no teleological inevitability about overcoming poverty – social justice is not a train journey from being Southern to being Northern. It is always a struggle, it is always about values and about power. When this truth is forgotten, or deliberately obscured, poverty gets worse. That is why we have seen the return to mass poverty in the global North. And the forgetting of that lesson also encourages failures to address poverty in the South.”
3. In Defence of Britain’s Overseas Aid | Tim Lankester – Centre For Global Development
A robust defence of ODA with counter-arguments to many of the common attacks, c.f. Moto, Easterly, Dichter and the Daily Mail.
“The British aid programme is not perfect. But it is better than most in terms of both size and quality, and it is doing an effective job in assisting development, reducing poverty and helping with humanitarian crises. It needs to be subjected to continuing scrutiny like all spending programmes, but it deserves celebration rather than the negativity to which it is too often subjected.”
4. Commitment to Development Index 2014 | Petra Krylová and Owen Barder – Center For Global Development
Essential reading if you care about development ‘beyond aid’.
“The Commitment to Development Index ranks 27 of the world’s richest countries on their policies that affect more than five billion people living in poorer nations. Moving beyond comparing how much foreign aid each country gives, the CDI quantifies a range of rich-country policies that affect poor people: (1) quantity and quality of foreign aid, (2) openness to trade, (3) policies that encourage investment and financial transparency, (4) openness to migration, (5) environmental policies, (6) promoting international security, and (7) support for technology creation and transfer.”
Here’s one for the M&E geeks – I know you’re out there (I’m one of them at times).
“If you really want to create strong M&E systems which allow you to understand success of the programme, reasons for this success, and emergent trends, indicators aren’t the place to start.”
6. Chasing Misery (book review) | Tobias Denskus – Aidnography
In the words of editor Kelsey Hoppe:
“Chasing Misery is an anthology of essays and photographs from 26 women involved in humanitarian responses. All of the women contributed their observations and insights from their experiences of humanitarian aid work over the past decade. Contributors come from a variety of countries-from Yemen to Australia-and most still work in either humanitarian aid or development around the globe.”
 
“After the first few reflections/chapters you feel that you are included in an interesting conversation, maybe hanging out with a group of friends on a weekend, listening to real, sad, enlightening stories from the lives and work of expat aid workers.”
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