Saturday Morning Reading #23

Here’s your Saturday morning reading…

1. Devsplaining | Wait… What?
This happens far too much.
“Devsplaining – when a development worker, academic, or someone who generally has more power within the ‘development industry’ speaks condescendingly to someone with less power. The devsplainer assumes that he/she knows more and has more right to an opinion because of his/her position and power within the industry. Devsplaining is rooted in the assumption that, in general, development workers are likely to be more knowledgeable about the lives and situations of the people who participate in their programs/research than the people themselves are.”

2. Shouldn’t Humanitarian Aid Come First? | Campaign for Boring Development
Maybe it’s time to ask this question. Current trends in demand for humanitarian aid demand that we have a damn good answer.
“Last year, the world spent $135 billion on International Development Aid. It also spent $22 billion on Humanitarian Aid. […] The EU Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid tells us we should “get used to it” when it comes to not enough resources for Emergency Response. People starving inside UN facilities is, we’re told, “the new normal.” […] This situation strikes me as perverse. The rich countries spend plenty in the developing world, it’s just that 6 out of 7 aid dollars are directed to programs where it’s hard to tell if they’re doing any good.”

3. What can Islam teach secular NGOs about conflict resolution? (and human development, climate change, gender rights…) | From Poverty to Power
Some food for thought…
“On obligation to take action on injustice (and not just speak or think about it): According to a well-known Hadith (saying or tradition of the Prophet): “Whosoever of you sees an injustice, let him change it with his hand; and if he is not able to do so, then with his tongue; and if he is not able to do so, then with his heart – and that is the weakest of faith.” And I don’t think ‘with his hand’ includes clicktivism…”
“Lucy’s advice to secular NGOs wishing to work with faith groups was a) don’t start pretending you’re a theologian; engage with faith leaders instead and b) treat them as ‘architects’ not just ‘gatekeepers’”

4. Episode 43: Complexity | Development Drums
I have a lot of nerdy excitement about this…
“In the podcast, I ask Ben to pin down what we’re talking about when we talk about complexity and complex systems, and ask Stefan whether any of this is actually new to development economics research or policy, which has long incorporated elements of complexity thinking. We debate whether systems thinking gives donors and governments new and useful tools, including for humanitarian intervention.”

5. 15 ways to make your mark as a volunteer | Global Development Professionals Network
Ask questions, talk to the volunteer there before you, set clear goals, be useful, respect the local culture and learn from your mistakes. It’s all common sense but a useful reminder and can be applied beyond volunteering.


There will be another hiatus next weekend due to being somewhere in the Serengeti (hoping I won’t be blessing the rains) but I’m hoping to be providing a more regular service from then until Christmas. I also have a lot of blog ideas up my sleeve that may see the light of day at some point.

One comment

  1. I actually thought Owen Barder shot a rare dud in Dev’p Drums 43. It was testy and ill-natured and stuck at a sterile level of abstraction if you ask me, mostly cuz that DFID official seemed so defensive. First not-excellent episode I’ve heard in the series… 🙁

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