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.

We need you to mentor the next generation of development practitioners

Back in high school, I used to run track, or as we call it in Australia, “athletics.” I was lucky enough to have morning training sessions around Sydney’s famous harbour. We ran over the Harbour Bridge to the Opera House and back. At the last bridge pylon on the return leg, our athletics coach, Mr. Bookers, would be waiting for each and every runner. I can still remember him exhorting us on, pushing us to finish strong. Mr. B. also used  to persuade me to finish weekend race days with a 400m after just running the lung-bursting and lactic acid-building 800m (and usually after just having thrown up–a race day ritual). He was my first mentor both on and off the track.

Continue reading We need you to mentor the next generation of development practitioners

Where in the world are human rights abuses?

I’m part of the generation that learnt geography from playing Where In The World Is Carmen Sandiego? I played the Deluxe 1992 edition at home, honing my detective skills and knowledge of capital cities.


In this latest edition, I’d invite you to play Where In The World Are Human Rights Abuses? For this version, there is only one answer, and all the clues point to this particular country. You will be given clues from security guards, asylum seekers and a contracting company running an immigration detention centre.

First, let’s query the security guards of an immigration detention facility:

  • There are allegations that security guards paid female refugees for sex;
  • A security guard had “inappropriate” relationship with a 17-year old asylum seeker;
  • Another security guard hit an asylum seeker, who is a child, on the bum.

Hmm, this could be any country that hosts refugees and asylum seekers: Kenya, Ethiopia, Chad. There were recent reports of child rape in the Central African Republic, but these allegations were against French peacekeepers not security guards. Let’s query the asylum seekers and inspect the detention centre for more information:

  • The asylum seekers lodged 33 claims of rape or sexual assault against the security company;
  • A child who was sexually assaulted by a staff member remained in the centre;
  • 30 allegations of child abuse were made against centre staff;
  • Only two sanitary pads were given to women at any one time because these were deemed a “security” risk.
  • Asylum seekers were reportedly referred to by a number, rather than their names.

The fact that claims could be lodged by the asylum seekers and refugees suggests a bureaucracy, perhaps even a functioning one. It could be Jordan, Thailand or Pakistan. Last, let’s inspect the company running the detention centre, and the company contracted to provide healthcare, for the final clues:

  • The contract to run the detention centre is worth $1.2 billion over 20 months;
  • The current company running the centre has a human rights policy, but it has only been in place for little over a week;
  • The company spied on a Senator when she visited in 2013;
  • An unexploded bomb from WWII was found under the tent that acted as a primary school.
  • The company that provides healthcare to all detention centres for this country, worth $1.6 billion, is failing. Children are receiving required vaccinations only 7% of the time.

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Over to you. Where in the world are these asylum seekers and refugees, and which country has their duty of care?

Sources: Guardian, Buzzfeed, SBS

Featured image of the world on two hands from Pixabay.