All posts by WhyDev Team

The WhyDev writing team consists of Brendan, Weh, Rachel, Jennifer & Laurie. Check out more about the team on the "About Us" page.
Photo from CareerStair.

Last Week Today: What’s wrong with cheap clothes?

Committed to giving you last week’s globaldev news today

Career advice from WhyDev

There’s new research out on how to network over e-mail! Begin with a disingenuous question about the other person’s personal life. Then, seal the deal by ending with a vague reference to one of their hobbies.

So, three steps to e-networking in development: “How’s your infidelity? I’m looking for a job and hope you’ll hire me. Enjoy the next Hash!” UNDP, here we come.

The week in news

After a mob attacked a Nairobi woman for dressing “inappropriately,” over 200 people marched in protest. #MyDressMyChoice

A new documentary has shed light on Firestone’s relationship with Charles Taylor and the company’s role in the Liberian civil war.

A new ISIS video depicts a mass beheading of Syrian hostages and the alleged beheading of a third Western aid worker, Peter Kassig.

The week on the blog

The reality (and absurdity) of the aid sector

The aid industry can be ridiculous, and Michael Keller knows it all too well. But one new company is trying to help NGOs function a little better.

Jaden and Willow Smith’s guide to global development

Bono and Clooney have been the go-to celebrity humanitarians for ages. But, Brendan Rigby realised a famous brother-sister pair actually has a pretty solid development strategy.

The week in globaldev

Ebola? There’s an app for that.

The myth of cheap clothes

Refugees, IDPs and the trouble with labels

Saying “no” to Bob Geldof

Who’s donating to the Ebola response, really?

Audio Mark Goldberg talks about human rights abuses in Myanmar and the plight of the Rohingya minority.

Upcoming events

The Institute for Human Security and Social Change: Two seminars with Duncan Green | Melbourne, 24 November

Want to get involved? Apply to be our Community Manager, or the Fundraising Director for our friends at OIC: The Cambodia Project. And don’t forget to join AidSource – one member who signs up in the next week will receive a WhyDev postcard!

You can also check out our other events and listen to the MissionCreep podcast.

Always on the go? Have a version sent to your inbox every Friday. Just sign up to the Last Week Today newsletter.

Featured image from CareerStair.

Bono during a visit to Brazil. Photo from Wikimedia Commons.

Last Week Today: Is there Christmas in Africa?

Committed to giving you last week’s globaldev news today

Thirty years worth of anthropological research has revealed nothing about holiday practices in Africa.

Today, the world’s leading experts on the continent are asking the same question they asked in 1984. “Do they know it’s Christmastime?”

The next generation of Africa experts. Photo from Wikimedia Commons.
The next generation of Africa experts. Photo from Wikimedia Commons.

We hope in another thirty years, their protégés, the members of One Direction, will finally be able to answer this puzzling question.

The week in news

Russia’s in the news twice this week: for invading Ukraine (again) and for agreeing to build nuclear reactors in Iran.

In India, a government program that pays women $23 to undergo a sterilisation surgery became even more questionable when 11 women died following complications.

Tension between Israel and Palestine seems to be on the rise again, with an arson attack on a West Bank mosque the latest in a series of clashes.

A Canadian man responds to last week’s midterm elections in the U.S. – and essentially asks Americans, “What were you thinking?”

The week on the blog

Famous founders: A blessing or a curse?

What happens when NGO founders become famous – even too famous? Anna McKeon and Natalie Jesionka list some red flags.

AidSource: Under new management (ours!)

The founders of AidSource: The Humanitarian Network were ready to pass the torch, and they passed it to us! We’re very excited to be taking over the management of the site – stay tuned for additional updates.

The week in globaldev

Infectious disease is not a security threat.

Click-bait and stereotypes

Not just Chibok

The neocolonialism of global health

Celebrity humanitarians, or celebrity trolls?

Video Newsflash, Bono: A group of African musicians has already made a great song about Ebola.

Upcoming events

The Institute for Human Security and Social Change: Two seminars with Duncan Green | Melbourne, 24 November

You can also check out our other events and listen to the MissionCreep podcast.

Always on the go? Have a version sent to your inbox every Friday. Just sign up to the Last Week Today newsletter.

Featured image is Bono during a visit to Brazil. Photo from Wikimedia Commons.

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AidSource: Under new management (ours!)

First, a note from the founders of AidSource (J., Alanna Shaikh & ShotgunShack):

The founders and owners of AidSource: The Humanitarian Social Network would like to announce that, effective immediately, AidSource will owned, maintained and moderated by our friends and aid blogosphere colleagues at WhyDev.

Some of you will wonder why. The answer is that over the past year, each of us have made significant changes in various aspects of our lives and jobs, and at this point, we simply lack the collective and individual bandwidth to give AidSource the time it needs and deserves. We will remain “normal” members of AidSource, and we expect to continue to interact there from time to time. We’re very pleased to have found such capable hands to take over what we still believe is a great resource for anyone in or interested in the humanitarian aid and development industry.

We wish to express our sincere thanks to everyone (too many to name individually) who helped bring AidSource into being, as well as all those who cared enough to join and participate as members. Lastly, we wish the very best to our friends at WhyDev as they take on the task of managing The Humanitarian Social Network.

***

With great power, comes great responsibility.

It is with tremendous pleasure and trepidation that we take on the job of managing AidSource: The Humanitarian Social Network. As we move towards a post-2015 brave new world, fostering a community of practice in global development remains critical. We need to continue to break down institutional and organisational barriers to form true partnerships and change how development works. This is at the heart of WhyDev’s mission.

We believe AidSource is a lynchpin of this community. With 1,700+ members from around the world, it brings together aid workers, NGO staff, nationals, ex-pats, academics, journalists, students and donors. AidSource is the space for you to network with industry colleagues, share your knowledge, reflect critically and have a little fun.

Want to get more involved? We’re recruiting a volunteer Community Manager to help manage and run AidSource. This is a great opportunity for someone looking to gain experience in community engagement, social media, communications or partnerships. If this sounds like you, please review the position description, and send your resume and a cover letter describing your vision for the AidSource community (max. 600 words) to info[AT]whydev[DOT]org by 4 December.

We’ll be making some exciting updates to AidSource in the coming weeks, so stay tuned!

Featured image is Cape Coast, Ghana. Photo by Brendan Rigby.

Tinder app. Photo from StunnaLife.

Last Week Today: Four magic words

Committed to giving you last week’s globaldev news today

It’s happened to all the humanitarians on Tinder. A pic of some hottie pops up, you’re only half paying attention – maybe you’re preoccupied with your swag bag or indigenous alcohol – and you accidentally swipe left. And the person who could’ve been The One is gone from your life, forever. (So are the African children in their profile picture.)

Soon, you won’t have to worry about accidentally left-swiping that sexy humanitarian. Tinder is releasing an “undo” feature – you’ll get a second chance to swipe right! It’s going to cost you, though, maybe as much as $20. That’s sure going to eat into the per diem.

The week in news

Aung San Suu Kyi makes a disappointing announcement that reforms in Burma have stalled.

Thousands of people in over 450 cities worldwide took part in masked protests on Wednesday, put on by the anti-capitalist hacktivist group Anonymous.

A Palestinian man drove a van into a crowd of people waiting at a train platform in Jerusalem, injuring at least 15 and killing an Israeli policeman.

The week on the blog

Five ways I hope to avoid Founder’s Syndrome on my project

Found-er-i-tis (noun): When more focus and recognition is on the founder of an organisation than on its work (see also: Somaly Mam). As a new founder, Weh Yeoh explains how he’ll avoid the disease.

What really happens to your donated clothing?

Want to get rid of torn or out-of-date clothes you don’t want and help people at the same time? Shannon Whitehead explains why donating them to charity is not the answer.

The week in globaldev

An MSF doctor in Sierra Leone

The future of ex-pats

Four magic words in development

Coup or no coup?

Ebola and comms4dev

Video John Oliver explains what actually mattered in Tuesday’s elections in the U.S. (17:17)

Upcoming events

OIC: The Cambodia Project: Launch extravaganza | Melbourne, 12 November (Use the promo code “BONO4AFRICA” for a discount!)

You can also check out our other events and listen to the MissionCreep podcast.

Always on the go? Have a version sent to your inbox every Friday. Just sign up to the Last Week Today newsletter.

Featured image is from StunnaLife.

Weh Yeoh and Roum Phearom providing speech therapy services. Photo by: Anna Bella Betts Photography.

Last Week Today: Oh, I see!

Committed to giving you last week’s globaldev news today

By the water cooler: An impromptu chat with Weh Yeoh about OIC

Who is OIC: The Cambodia Project, and what do you do?

OIC is a project that aims to bring speech therapy services to the 600,000 Cambodians with communication and swallowing problems. Despite this huge need, there are no Cambodian speech therapists. OIC stands for that moment when you suddenly understand something you didn’t before. “Oh, I see!”

Why did you create OIC?

I never wanted to go to Cambodia and create another organisation for the sake of it. OIC is a project bringing together existing organisations that are doing great work. For me, it’s very much about Cambodians helping other Cambodians, so that one day, as a foreigner, I can walk away.

What motivates you to do your work?

For over a year, I worked side-by-side with a Cambodian health worker named Phearom, who told me that about 70% of the children she worked with had a problem with communication. Yet, she was unable to use speech therapy to help them. There are 600,000 people like the children she works with, who struggle to communicate with their family, friends or community every day.

Why should WhyDev readers support OIC? 

There are issues in the world that get lots of the attention and therefore plenty of resources, and then there are those that get swept under the carpet. WhyDev readers should support OIC because it’s addressing something that is a huge need, yet doesn’t receive the attention of other issues. People who are in Melbourne can come to our launch extravaganza on the 12th of November to find out more.

Can our readers get a discount on the OIC launch tickets? 

Absolutely! As a limited offer, we’re offering a 50% discount on tickets to the first 20 WhyDev readers who sign up to come to the launch. Simply enter the promo code “BONO4AFRICA” at the check-out.

Stay up-to-date with OIC through Facebook, Twitter, or their newsletter.

The week in news

Zambian President Michael Sata died in a London hospital at the age of 77. VP Guy Scott is the acting President until elections in 90 days, making him continental Africa’s first white leader since apartheid. Under the country’s constitutional “parentage clause,” Scott, whose parents were born in the U.K., won’t be allowed to run in the election.

A contingent of at least 150 Kurdish fighters has started crossing into Syria, to join the fight against ISIS for the town of Kobani.

In response to President Blaise Compaore’s effort to change the country’s law on term limits so he can stay in power (27 years wasn’t enough!), thousands of protestors have taken to the streets and set  fire to the Parliament building and government officials’ homes. Today, the President declared a state of emergency and dissolved the government.

The week on the blog

A dangerous crossover: Non-profits and the “view from nowhere”

That journalism – and, by extension, NGO communications – should be objective seems like a given. But Rowan Emslie questions the conventional wisdom, and the real implications of objectivity.

Bringing sexy back to resilience and well-being of aid workers

In her effort to usher in an era of aid worker wellness, Nuran Higgins launched Emergency AIDio, an online radio show. She shares the impetus behind the show – and chats with WhyDev co-founders Brendan Rigby and Weh Yeoh on the latest episode!

Resilience: Moving the focus from our projects to our selves

We talk a lot about aid worker wellness practices, and now there’s scientific evidence they really work. Amanda Scothern explains the latest research findings on well-being.

Globaldev special edition: Catching up on disability and development

More than just a statistic

An underdog story

The people who “don’t count”

Seeing past disability

The therapy that speaks volumes

Payment for the people in NGO adverts?

It’s easy to criticise.

Social justice tours, or poverty tourism?

Video International migration and remittances – explained with Legos. (01:59)

Upcoming events

OIC: The Cambodia Project: Launch extravaganza | Melbourne, 12 November (Use the promo code “BONO4AFRICA” for a discount!)

You can also check out our other events and listen to the MissionCreep podcast.

Always on the go? Have a version sent to your inbox every Friday. Just sign up to the Last Week Today newsletter.

Featured image is Weh Yeoh and Roum Phearom providing speech therapy services. Photo by Anna Bella Betts Photography.

Hazmat Legos. Photo from Flickr.

Last Week Today: Stop. Donating. Your. Crap.

Committed to giving you last week’s globaldev news today

WhyDev presents: An Ebola update

Tragically, the Ebola outbreak continues to ravage the United States, a country whose third-world healthcare system is already devastated by one of the highest obesity rates in the world. The country is so unequipped to handle this threat, future Ebola patients will be sent to a provincial health center in Montana, an isolated state in the West even locals refer to as “Wild.”

Some locals, mostly members of a group that calls itself the Republicans, are purchasing special clothing, in the belief it will shield them from the disease. Well-to-do Americans have also tried seeking refuge in Ebola-free areas, such as Rwanda – sometimes in tandem with delivering unfashionable clothes and expired medicine – only to be subjected to invasive and humiliating tests upon arrival.

The week in news

An unprecedented shooting at the Canadian Parliament in Ottawa left a soldier dead, two days after two other soldiers in Quebec were run down by a man believed to be an ISIS supporter.

Sadly, Australia’s former Prime Minister Gough Whitlam, the country’s first to visit China, has passed away.

Following the disappearance of 43 students and the discovery of numerous mass graves and unidentified bodies, protests have broken out across Mexico.

Students in Hong Kong are holding meetings with officials, but little progress has been made. The protestors have a new supporter, though – Kenny G.

The week on the blog

Don’t create a mood, just tell good stories.

When it comes to NGO communications, Daniel Lombardi argues that telling a story well is more important than whether it’s happy or sad.

No amount of yoga will spare you from burnout. Unless…

Yoga is often touted as a good coping mechanism for aid workers. Marianne Elliott explains what it really takes to benefit from the practice.

The week in globaldev

Gaming4dev?

The Ebola stories you should be looking for

Making non-profits lie

The value of a floor

Once more, with feeling: Stop. Donating. Your. Crap.

Do they want our help?

Video Saturday Night Live made a charity commercial. Enough said. (3:00, U.S. only)

Upcoming events

OIC: The Cambodia Project: Launch extravaganza | Melbourne, 12 November

You can also check out our other events and listen to the MissionCreep podcast.

Always on the go? Have a version sent to your inbox every Friday. Just sign up to the Last Week Today newsletter.

Featured image from Flickr.

Naomi Campbell's Instagram selfie for the #WakeUpCall campaign.

Last Week Today: WhatsApp vs. humanitarian aid

Committed to giving you last week’s globaldev news today

What do NGOs have in common with this woman?

The obsession with the perfectly composed selfie.

This week, celebs are taking selfies for UNICEF’s #WakeUpCall campaign. But are NGOs trying too hard to create the next viral campaign?

The week in news

Protests in Hong Kong are raging on, intensified by police beating of activists. ISIS is nearing a strategic town in Iraq’s Anbar Province. And fighting has erupted over the Libyan city of Benghazi.

Kim Jong Un has evidently reappeared. Don’t worry, there are still plenty of rumours – but now, most of them are about his new cane.

And in this week’s edition of “naked photo scandals,” 100,000 SnapChat pictures have been hacked, including nude pics of teenagers.

The week on the blog

Cognitive dissonance in aid: A job like any other

In our final post on cognitive dissonance, J. reminds us that aid is like any other industry – imperfect.

Why I’m anti anti-poverty

It’s Anti-Poverty Week in Australia, but WhyDev Director Brendan Rigby asks what it actually means to be “anti-poverty” – and whether it’s useful.

Inequality and the struggle for land rights

For Blog Action Day, Alison Rabe reports on one Cambodian community’s struggle with a common problem: protecting local land from multi-national corporations.

The week in globaldev

The feminists you’re really looking for

When Africa is on TV, people go to the bathroom.

You don’t join ISIS to feed your family.

Australia at the top

Ebola: So African, so dark, so black

Why do we even know Malala’s name?

WhatsApp vs. humanitarian aid

Audio In the latest episode of EMERGENCY AIDio, Nuran Higgens talks to Andy Puddicombe about using meditation for a healthy mind and better life. (1:11:19)

Upcoming events

OIC: The Cambodia Project: Launch extravaganza | Melbourne, 12 November

You can also check out our other events and listen to the MissionCreep podcast.

Always on the go? Have a version sent to your inbox every Friday. Just sign up to the Last Week Today newsletter.

Featured image is Naomi Campbell’s selfie for the #WakeUpCall campaign. Photo from Instagram.

Last Week Today: 10 October 2014

Committed to giving you last week’s globaldev news today

Blake Lively and Ryan Reynolds are expecting! And it’s pretty likely this will be the world’s most beautiful baby. You can already see predictions of what he or she will look like.

Although, here at WhyDev, we’re disappointed they haven’t adopted a Cambodian child. Blakan could give Brangelina a run for their humanitarian money.

The week in news

Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta has temporarily stepped down (the ICC hearing on his crimes against humanity and all).

ISIS is set to take the key town of Kobane, on the Turkish-Syrian border. Meanwhile, Turkey is garnering support for a buffer zone to protect displaced people.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un seems to be missing. Unsubstantiated rumours suggest he has gout, is under house arrest, fractured both ankles because of his weight or was tapped on the shoulder by Ban Ki-moon to negotiate a ceasefire between ISIS and the world.

The week on the blog

The difference one tree can make

What can be done to combat deforestation in developing countries? Kathleen Buckingham draws lessons from some major tree-planting initiatives.

What Tim Minchin can teach you about working in global development

Musician-comedian Tim Minchin doled out some unconventional but inspiring life advice in a graduation speech – and WhyDev Director Brendan Rigby turned it into lessons for aspiring aid workers.

The week in globaldev

Where my senior consultants at? Hola!

UNDP Number 1!

So much panic, so little action on Ebola

Down with all-male panels!

Generalists and specialists are so last year. This season is all about the “integrator.”

Ebola is the Jeffrey Sachs of cold sores.

A “Homeless Bill of Rights,” so people can legally sit and stand in public

No money left for food aid – USAID spent it all on shipping costs.

Comic In the real world, do we actually love the underdog?

"The Underdog Myth," a comic by Mike Dawson.
“The Underdog Myth,” a comic by Mike Dawson.

You can also check out our events and listen to the MissionCreep podcast.

Always on the go? Have a version sent to your inbox every Friday. Just sign up to the Last Week Today newsletter.

Featured image by Guillaume Horcajuelo/EPA.

Last Week Today: 3 October 2014

Committed to giving you last week’s globaldev news today

What happens when Thor gets too tired to pick up his hammer? It looks like a new Thor steps in. Only this Thor is a woman.

Marvel Comics recently made waves when they announced they were making the God of Thunder female, and now a preview of her first issue is out.

Just to clarify, “This is not She-Thor. This is not Lady Thor. This is not Thorita. This is THOR. This is the THOR of the Marvel Universe. But it’s unlike any Thor we’ve ever seen before.”

Fox News apparently disapproves of the change.

The week in news

Tens of thousands of Hong Kong residents have taken to the streets in unprecedented (and unusually polite) pro-democracy rallies. Beijing is responding about as you’d expect.

Tragedy struck in Japan, as Mount Ontake erupted unexpectedly, killing at least 47 people so far. And two suicide blasts hit Kabul, killing eight Afghan soldiers, just two days after Ashraf Ghani was inaugurated as the country’s new President.

In other news, David Cameron announced that Tories resent poor people. #FreudianSlip?

The week on the blog

Wearable impact: Ethical fashion explained

From t-shirts made of organic cotton to shoes made of old tires, ethical fashion is getting more trendy. But do these efforts to be responsible have an impact? Liza Moiseeva explains the fashion industry’s potential to make a difference, and its shortcomings.

Accepting flaws and doing good: Some thoughts on cognitive dissonance

How can aid workers sleep at night? Erol Yayboke continues the conversation on cognitive dissonance with advice on how to handle working in a flawed industry – and how we should be thinking about development work in the first place.

The week in globaldev

The problems with praising the female pilot who bombed ISIS | Vox

Jude Law, Akon and the DRC | VICE

A toast to Scott Morrision for his plan to send refugees to Cambodia | Sydney Morning Herald

Life in the time of Ebola | Think Africa Press

Support for volunteers with disabilities | Devex

Audio Laura Seay says we need to stick to the facts on Ebola. | On the Media (09:11)

Upcoming events

Learn how to utilise crowd funding in your organisation: A NetSquared Meetup | Melbourne, 7 October

You can also check out our other events and listen to the MissionCreep podcast.

Always on the go? Have a version sent to your inbox every Friday. Just sign up to the Last Week Today newsletter.

Featured image from Marvel comic book.

Frozen

Last Week Today: 26 September 2014

Committed to giving you last week’s globaldev news today

Peruvian writer Isabella Tanikumi is suing Disney for $250 million, claiming they  stole her life story – the story from the movie Frozen.

Yes, she says a movie that features a talking snowman and a kingdom that’s trapped in winter was based on her life. Because she wrote a book about growing up in the mountains, and, you know, Frozen has mountains. And also, it has the same “feelings” as the book. We wonder if Tanikumi has a pet reindeer, too?

The week in news

Tragically, Soldiers of the Caliphate, an Algeria-based group loyal to ISIS, beheaded French hiker Herve Gourdel and released an all-too-familiar video online.

The U.S. has begun launching airstrikes against ISIS, a move that’s facing an unusual lack of resistance from peace activists. Meanwhile, the French government has a new name for ISIS, and they’re not too happy about it.

Despite intense scrutiny from human rights groups, Australia is set to sign a resettlement deal, which will send refugees seeking asylum to Cambodia.

This time last week, we were waiting to see if the world would have a new country – but Scotland voted to remain part of the U.K. (although Scots will be “incandescent” if London backs out on promises of increased sovereignty).

Emma Watson gave a speech on feminism, which introduced the UN’s “He for She” initiative, and it went viral. The speech earned her a huge amount of fanfare, a lot of criticism and a threat to release nude photos, which turned out to be “just a hoax” (but, really not).

Photo from MoodyChick.
Photo from MoodyChick.

The week on the blog

From voluntourism to ice buckets: Narcissism in social media

With the hype of the #IceBucketChallenge mostly over, Alison Rabe explains what it revealed about our narcissism and social media addiction – and how it’s not so different from voluntourism. Really, we’ll do anything for a good profile pic.

Disability is not our priority area

After submitting proposals for disability-focused projects, WhyDev Co-Founder Weh Yeoh has gotten too many rejections saying, “Disability is not our priority area.” In an open letter, he explains why it should be.

Death on the mission

Being an aid worker often means living in countries with low life expectancies and high mortality rates. And that almost inevitably means losing friends and colleagues at some point. The Guerilla Researcher wants to start a conversation about coping with death in the field.

The week in globaldev

“Asia” is a Western construct. | The Diplomat

Traits of politically-smart, locally-led development | From Poverty to Power

Wartime sexual violence is more than a “weapon of war.” | Monkey Cage

A take-down of Nick Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn’s empire | Truthout

Why is West Africa so spectacularly ill-prepared to handle Ebola? | Africa Is a Country

Drones as a tool for activism? | ICTworks

The crippling costs of measuring progress on the SDGs | The Guardian

Just in case anyone still thought One Laptop Per Child was effective | Development That Works

What about the safety of national NGO staff? | Aid Leap

Upcoming events

Learn how to utilise crowd funding in your organization: A NetSquared Meetup | Melbourne, 7 October

You can also check out our other events and listen to the MissionCreep podcast.

Always on the go? Have a version sent to your inbox every Friday. Just sign up to the Last Week Today newsletter.

Featured image from Disney.