Saturday Morning Reading #31

Here’s your Saturday Morning Reading…
1. CV mistakes: how to lose a job in development before you press send | Rachel Banning-Lover – Global Development Professionals Network
Mostly obvious advice (e.g.Don’t cut and paste cover letters to different organisations) – but sometimes we need to hear obvious advice!
“The worst cover letter I ever received was one where the applicant included a picture of their entire family tree just to point out they were related to some great social campaigner,” recalls Graham Salisbury. “But I wanted to interview him, not his great grandfather.”
2. DevQuest-ing your way into a development career | Giles Dickinson-Jones – WhyDev
Some DevQuestLove from WhyDev – my own profile should be up there shortly.
“This is the first reason we started DevQuest: as a simple avenue for newcomers to learn from their peers, hopefully making those initial steps a little less daunting. But there is another reason we thought the idea was long-overdue: despite a trend towards unpaid internships and young professionals programs, there is nowhere a person can read reviews of development entry points. Unless you know somebody who has gone before you, it’s hard to know what to expect when taking those first steps in your development career.”
By seeing ourselves constantly as the “helpers,” we often forget that we also need help, and that the work we’re doing is often more nuanced and complicated than an easy moral black-and-white. And also, we tend to forget that being of service includes being open to receiving support as well. When we are stressed and unconscious about ourselves and our actions, we are more likely to look down on someone in our host country who is poorer or more powerless than us, and we are more likely to be rude. It’s not pretty.
Unfortunately, this is something many of us will recognise – but by acknowledging it we (and others) can change.
“It’s all so pointless,” I said. (I’d had several pints at this point.) “I spend my time helping charities to collect high quality monitoring data – and then they just ignore it.” “Why is that?” my friend asked. “That seems completely stupid.”
The TL:DR is that incentives are often pointing in the wrong direction and leaders need to really care about learning.
You can quibble with the numbers in Oxfam’s inequality campaigning but that doesn’t hide that wealth is power and a few people control far too much.
“A 21st-century development policy means paying more attention to the impact of all our policies on the rest of the world. It does not mean making big sacrifices for the world’s poor. Better policies at home would be good for our own citizens as well as for the rest of the world. Getting rid of tariffs on imports of clothing made in India, for example, would be good for British consumers and it would be good for Indian workers and—by increasing household income—their families too.  And the same is true of almost everything else that forms part of a 21st century development agenda, from ending agricultural subsidies to allowing universities to accept more foreign students”
Let us hope that development policy is moving in this direction – now 0.7% is secure, is this where our advocacy should be directed?

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