All posts by Brendan Rigby

Brendan is an education specialist and co-founder of WhyDev. He is currently a PhD candidate at the University of Melbourne’s Graduate School of Education exploring complementary basic education and the literacy practices of out-of-school children in northern Ghana. Formerly, he was an Education Officer with UNICEF Ghana, and Director of Venture Support with StartSomeGood. Brendan has also been an education consultant and trainer for Plan, UNICEF, ScopeGlobal and the Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Authority. He is obsessed with tea, American football and karaoke.

How not to write about humanitarian work

By Brendan Rigby & Tobias Denskus

Under the headline “Violinist to volunteer: Medecins Sans Frontieres work in war-torn Africa life-changing for Adelaide nurse” Brett Williamson wrote a questionable piece of humanitarian journalism for Australia’s ABC News.

It is so bad it can almost serve as a template for journalism students on how not to write a piece on humanitarian aid and international development.

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Humanitarians against humanity

Humanitarian and development practitioners have often treated their world weariness with a combination of alcohol, cynicism or despair. Travel on enough missions or work in too many disaster relief contexts, and resisting the Dark Side can be an uphill battle. While advocates such as the likes of Bono and events such as the Global Citizen Festival preach humanity, goals and foreign aid, you’re stuck writing logframes and in uncoordinated cluster meetings, just trying to make it through to R&R.

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