Catching up…to take a break


The fundraising campaign is winding down and so am I. When I read, “When resting is resistance” by Janey Stephenson on OpenDemocracy yesterday, it was confirmation that it’s time to stop.

But before I go on vacation (proper) for the next two weeks, here’s some other interesting articles and links I failed to share over the swirl of the last couple of months. See you in February!


Ebola is back in Liberia. Here’s how the country can beat it again, by Dayugar Johnson for the Global Post (Here’s a hint: Invest in grassroots responders!)

But wait. Before charging in again, here’s two more articles. Pambazuka reviews ‘The Ebola Outbreak in West Africa: Corporate Gangsters, Multinationals & Rogue Politicians’, the first indigenous account of the Ebola outbreak written by Chernoh Alpha M. Bah. Is “Western journalism’s ahistorical reading of the Ebola outbreak’s genesis and transmission was just another manifestation of the general tendency to normalize the death and suffering of Africans”? In the mainstream, on NPR Goats & Soda Nahid Bhadelia asks Has The World Learned The Wrong Lessons From The Ebola Outbreak?


imagesWhat better places to debate the role of philanthropy than in our universities, and at our dinner tables? Two articles, one from UC Irvine and another from a father and daughter who take their Thanksgiving family debate to the web.

Reconceptualizing Charity: The Problem with Philanthropy and “Effective Altruism” by the World’s Wealthiest People, by Cecilia Lynch on the The Critical Investigations into Humanitarianism in Africa (CIHA) Blog.

The Gunther giving showdown: Social justice should drive philanthropy, by Marc Gunther and Sarah Gunther on Nonprofit Chronicles


pToA6M4Ac“Given the major organisational impacts for our agencies, at what point will we all awaken to the fact that if studies reveal between 66-79% of our personnel, indeed us, are affected by mental health issues, that something practical urgently needs to be done to finally tackle this?” writes Hitendra Solanki on behalf of the CHS Alliance on a blog discussing his new paper, Mental Health and Humanitarian Aid Workers:  A Shift of Emphasis from Treatment to Prevention.

Does “manufacturing confidence” contribute to these mental health issues? AidLeap also takes a look at why you may be why you’re disillusioned with aid work. Perhaps HopeBuilding would wonder if it’s the narcissist on your team. Aid Watch Palestine shares that the undue diligence of counterterrorism clauses on grants certainly aren’t helping.


Two articles by colleagues in my new co-working space that make me excited to be sharing offices with them:

“What kind of empowerment is that which makes you a gendered instrument of another’s agenda?” asks Renee Ho in The problem with girls’ empowerment on the Feedback Labs blog. And since you’re there, check out her blog about why you may only need to solicit feedback from five people.

Fighting corruption by “naming and faming”, by Blair Glencorse of AccountabilityLab via TEDxAtlantic. (See also ‘American Idol’ Can’t Compete With Liberia’s ‘Integrity Idol’ on NPR Goats & Soda.)


Speaking of friends…a beautiful reminder that it is the incredible people we meet along the way that make it all worthwhile.

An ode in memory of Chimusoro Sam Moyo, by Bella Matambanadzo via Kubatana.


Calling all development communications nerds! Get your fix with Malmö University’s journal on the subject, Glocal Times. Be buoyed with the hope that students turned out from their program will start producing content (and guidance for producing that content) that sets a new bar for amplifying peoples voices and no longer has the stench of paternalism.


To start, surely we need more than one dimension and a “winning” framework to validate and explain the approaches to our work.

The Top-Down, Bottom-Up Development Challenge, by Ken Banks in the Stanford Social Innovation Review

A tale of two indices: U.S. ranks top and bottom for development assistance, by Tom Murphy via Humanosphere


If development is like music, Motive, Means and Opportunity thinks that we can learn a lot about learning from jazz musicians.

Changing our “pattern entrainments” is one of our biggest challenges to this learning, according to Chris Corrigan. Pattern entrainment is the idea that once our brains learn something, it is very difficult to break that knowledge. He describes a current project where seeking single answers to complex problems reveals pattern entrainments and confirmation biases. “Both the funder and the service providers are suffering at the moment from the idea that a well designed set of interventions will address the root causes of poverty and vulnerability in communities.”


I learned of a new small, direct, responsive grant maker on GrantCraft. “We Are Congolese”: FFC’s Mission to Strengthen the Women’s Movement by Virginia Zuco highlights Fonds pour les Femmes Congolaises. Congolese women are all too often being advocated for by international activists, which is what makes FFC’s work all the more important.

Carrie Reiling discusses Local Reclamation of Transnational Activism: Bettering Advocacy in Conflict on the CIHA Blog, where she reviews Alex de Waal’s new collection of essays, “Advocacy in Conflict: Critical Perspectives on Transnational Activism.”

There is much to be balanced here as we walk with others. From the power of being a witness on HopeBuilding, to avoiding the infantilization of marginalized communities on Nonprofit with Balls.


26_blah-blah-blah_165013097Get your 2016 calendars out! You Won’t Believe How Many Special Days Are On The U.N. Calendar, by Vicky Hallet for NPR Goats & Soda

And finally, a great reminder for all bloggers in the new year from Marc DuBois on Humanicontrarian. In Thomas Jefferson and the 22nd Century, he writes, “Hell no doubt reserves a special pitchfork for the sanctimonious.”


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