There has been a series of excellent articles this week and my internet would even let me see anything from yesterday or Thursday. Without further ado, here’s your Saturday Morning Reading…
1. The complexity of being an aid worker in a brave new post-2015 world | Brendan Rigby – Oxfam America The Politics of Poverty Blog
Really great article for anyone thinking about how they can be effective over the next few decades (that’s all of you, right?)
Attributes needed by aid workers, taking complexity theory into account:
(1) No more heroes, (2) more innovators, (3) demonstrated interpersonal skills, (4) more networked people, (5) nuanced communicators and (6) willingness to fail.
2. Aid Industry Career Advice | J. – AidSpeak
- Don’t start your own NGO
- Adjust expectations and buckle in for the long-term
- Pursue an advanced degree
- Understand the aid industry
“The value that foreigners (us) bring to the table is less and less about our knowledge and understanding of the details of local culture (local staff usually know organically in a few seconds those things that take us months or years of study to get right), or our ability to endure harsh conditions (the fact that we might be able to live like refugees for a few days almost never impresses real refugees), and more and more about our ability to engage with the global humanitarian system. You need prioritize learning about the aid system, about management, get good at writing, and developing people skills.”
3. Grading the 2015 Bill and Melinda Gates letter on poverty alleviation | Chris Blattman – The Washington Post
The Gates’ letter is becoming one of the big set-pieces in development each year and is therefore worth interrogating.
“All the things we want from development — an end to extreme poverty and suffering — is synonymous with political stability, capable states, industry and financial systems. I can’t see how a country gets from $1,000 to $5,000 a person (let alone $12,000) without them. […]
To their credit, the letter attacks the problems that an outside funder can actually achieve and what the Gates Foundation does better than almost anyone else. This sounds like exactly what they should do. It’s why I admire them. But let’s not claim that a few new technologies can make unprecedented and fundamental changes in poverty in 15 years. They’ll make little, useful changes. That makes for a humbler, less exciting letter. But I think it’s the right one to write.”
4. 14 ways to better promote active citizenship | Duncan Green – Oxfam GB Policy & Practice
A summary of the findings of a series of Oxfam case studies. From choosing the right partners and starting from the ‘power within’ to windows of opportunity, implementation gaps and funding structures, this is especially useful for anyone involved in advocacy.