Saturday Morning Reading #35

Here’s your Saturday morning reading, featuring a bit of everything – volunteering attacked and defended, reflective answers from J., a handbook for revolutionaries (NOT by Russell Brand), girls’ empowerment and mobiles, mental health and how China’s rise is making it harder for others.

“By effectively requiring new humanitarian workers to have worked as volunteers, we are instilling the idea that aid is just volunteerism plus money and better technology.  These new aid workers often come from an environment where they were never asked to think about whether they could do harm, and where it was inherently assumed that they were doing good just from being there.  The attitudes which are instilled at these early stages of a career are apparent throughout the aid sector.  If we want to professionalise the sector, we could start off by professionalising our volunteers.”

“The increase in travel, connectedness through digital technology and popularity of helping others isn’t a trend. People are involved in the development sector whether we want them or not.
So, we have two choices: not help them and then complain they’re doing it wrong, or help them do it right.”

2. Why We Dev with J. | WhyDev
Which is the best INGO? Which skills are most vital in development? Which tech will save the world?
I’d recommend reading all three parts of this interview with J. with questions submitted by readers (including some of you very probably).

Tips for protest groups:
Branding matters, dream big, use food as an entry point, practice laughtivism, be cool, stick to non-violence because it works, make them oppress you, invest n building and maintaining unity and know how to win.
“His twin sources of inspiration are Tolkien – ‘If I had to choose one book to call my scripture, it would be Lord of the Rings’ (activists are hobbits, ordinary folk allying with a motley collection of unusual suspects – dwarves, elves etc – to take down the Dark Lord) and Monty Python (dictators can’t handle humour, and it makes being an activist fun).”

4. 10 myths about girls’ empowerment and mobile learning | Linda Raftree – Wait… What?
Mobiles are not a standalone solution, girls are not all tech-savvy and mobiles can both put girls more at risk and make them feel safer in different circumstances.

Old school attitudes, reliance on stress management and self-care rather than dealing with root causes and a lack of soft skills and sustainability all get in the way of better staff care.

Asia’s dominance in manufacturing makes it hard for others to follow their their footsteps.
“China and its neighbours may have been the last countries to be able to climb up the ladder of development simply by recruiting lots of unskilled people to make things cheaply. Exports still remain the surest path to success for emerging markets. Competing in global markets is the best way to boost productivity. But governments outside the gates of Factory Asia will have to rely on several engines of development—not just manufacturing, but agriculture and services, too. India’s IT-services sector shows what can be achieved, but it is high-skilled and barely taps into the country’s ocean of labour.”

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