Saturday Morning Reading #40

Here’s your Saturday morning reading featuring development reformers, change on a biblical scale, sexual harassment in Bangladesh, engaging with Nigel Farage, a cartoon on plunder in South Sudan, empowering people to advocate for themselves and resettling Syrian refugees…

  1. The mistakes made by most development reformers | Chris Blattman

This, along with the interview with Dani Rodrik it links to, really resonates with me. A question for the ‘thinking and working politically’ and ‘doing development differently’ crowds – how can you get governments to think in terms of adaptation when there are all sorts of incentives and norms against that kind of thinking?

“To me the important question is not “what is the right policy?”, but “what is the process for generating good policies over time?”, and more importantly “how to get governments and aid organizations to adapt to the good and throw out the bad?”.

I don’t know a good answer. To me, this is what makes most development aid and planning not just fruitless but downright dangerous.”

  1. We need a new Jubilee campaign to achieve equality and sustainability | Alex Evans – The Guardian

Tearfund have released an interesting new report looking at how we can frame ideas of equality and sustainability in a biblical context to build deep movements for change.

“To resolve the problem, a transformation of our economy is needed. And given the formidable barriers to this happening – inertia, vested interests, institutions built for another age, public apathy – a new theory of influence is needed too.

As the report sets out, this is going to mean less time spent on insider lobbying and more on building a movement that lives the values of a restorative economy and mobilises to demand political change – exactly what we saw in the US civil rights struggle, the campaign to abolish slavery, and other movements that have overcome apparently impossible odds.”

Also read about it on Alex’s blog.

  1. React every which way | Rachel Kurzyp – WhyDev

A discussion of the everyday realities of sexual harassment for a white Australian female living overseas.

“Sexual harassment is only a symptom of a much larger and complex issue of gender inequality as we all know but for those of us who don’t have to experience every day it’s hard to imagine just how unavoidable the issue is and more importantly the right way to react. After six months of the violating stares and leering comments I still don’t know what to do.”

  1. Nigel Farage is wrong on the aid budget – but it’s an argument that’s worth having | David Hudson  Global Development Professionals Network

“We can’t just dismiss Ukip and more general concerns about the aid budget and DfID as wrong and bigoted. That won’t achieve anything. Instead we need to make the public case for development in a way that makes sense, simple but honest. This – winning the argument and allowing people to engage – is a political and emotional task, not an intellectual or moral one.”

  1. South Sudan: Who Got What? | Alex de Waal & Victor Ndula

A comic written by Alex de Waal, who many consider to be one of the world’s leading experts on South Sudan, and drawn by Victor Ndula, one of Africa’s leading comic artists as well as editorial cartoonist for the Nairobi Star. In 8 pages it explains how South Sudan was bankrupt and at war within just three years after independence.

  1. Going from “On Behalf of” to the Whole Story | Ruth Levine – Hewlett Foundation

There is something crucial missing—it’s the voice of people who should be setting the agenda for their own better futures, and telling their own story to educate and persuade. To me, the active participation of people who are directly affected by bad policies is essential to the most powerful and sustained kind of advocacy, the kind that will demand the right responses. And it’s just not there often enough.”

  1. UK Election Notes: Foreign Policy Opportunities – Resettling Syrian Refugees | Dr Neil Quilliam – Chatham House

An opportunity for the next UK government with wins all round.

“A change in policy on resettlement and humanitarian admission would not only be a symbolic act of moral leadership, but would also serve the government’s policy of supporting stability in the Middle East and offer long-term benefits for British national life, foreign policy and security.”

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