Stuff wannabe aid workers like

The blog Stuff Expat Aid Workers Like is really tearing it up lately. Their latest post is#45 – Blogging to Display Their Superior Thinking. An excerpt:

Microlending?  Oversold uncritically as a silver bullet and only your Kiva-donating grandma still thinks this is a cure-all.  Girl Effect? Undoes its own message with its objectionable messaging.  Advocacy? You mean, “badvocacy?” Perilously reductionist and, anyway, spearheaded by way too many celebrities, neo-hippies and naive idealists for it to do any real good.  In-kind donations?  Logistical nightmare and destroyer of local markets.  Popular journalists on the developing country beat (and Nicolas Kristof in particular)?  Dangerously oversimplify complex global issues that only the real EAW bloggers truly understand.

The secret and deep hope of the EAW blogger is to get the blessing of the aid blog patriarch, Bill Easterly, and any of his disciples, and get a shout out or, better yet, featured on his blogroll.

Ouch. Of course, none of this applies to me yet because I am not a real expat aid worker, but rather a grad student intending to be one. But hopefully this fall I will be able to start fulfilling this post (which I think is their best yet): #44 – Blogging for the Folks Back Home.

Update/clarification: the “wannabe” in the title is a reference to me. Thought that was clear, but maybe it wasn’t.


04 2011

6 Comments Add Yours ↓

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  1. Luc #


    Not sure I understand what you are insinuating with “wanna be”….that international development is only for University grad? PHd. MBA?

  2. 2

    I’m in school in the US, thus I’m not an expat aid worker, or aid worker at all. Not saying anything about limiting it to university grads (though I would hope that all professional aid workers have some sort of skill or qualification for that work, whether it’s obtained through school or work experience).

  3. Luc #

    Yes I did get that from your introduction that you are in school. I have also worked on VDP&I and social determinants of health. When it comes to international development…I think that the reason why more people or getting involved in this field “Do it Yourself – Foreign Aid” is because the international development community (B-INGO) think like you. It’s unfortunate that B-INGOs have failed to engage the rest of the world in their work. Outside of asking for “donations” – (passive action to an important world issues), B-INGOs have missed an important opportunity to create awareness and build passion around international development.

    The population at large is becoming more and more concerned with Aid Effectiveness and I sincerely believe that this “snobbish” attitude towards international development will results in less pressure from the public at large to ask their governments to increase ODA. Looking at what’s happening right now around Aid Effectiveness it’s a clear sign that B-INGOs forgot that effectiveness is the results of many actions measured in a greater context. Like social determinants of HEALTH – chronic diseases are the results of many factors that contribute to diseases.

    Engage people….increase transparency!

  4. 4

    To clarify, when I say “wannabe” I’m talking about *me* – not you or DIY aid workers. I’m gently ribbing the attitude behind the SEAW blog, which implies that the only people qualified to talk about this are those who are doing it hardcore, right now. If you didn’t get that, please re-read the post. Not sure how you read snobbish into this short post. I’m also not sure how we’re supposed to get better measures of effectiveness *and* de-emphasize having professional training in the field (whether that’s from a university or elsewhere). And of course effectiveness is the result of many actions measured in a greater context — I believe that and all the people I’ve met who do this sort of work do as well. Also not sure how writing this blog and discussing with you isn’t “engaging people.” I think you read way, way too much into this short post and should give me the benefit of the doubt. Thanks.

  5. Mark #

    Hilarious! I’m sure you can guess which of the quoted quips is my favorite. Wish I could be so concise and unobjectionable whilst commenting on potentially controversial subjects.
    Also, isn’t the point of essentially all blogging for people to display their superior thinking (at least all that moves beyond diary)?

  6. 6

    Mark — naw, I think a lot of it is about sharing interesting and useful information, and making connections with readers and other bloggers. But yeah, there’s an element of narcissism in blogging too.

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