In 2010, Justin Bieber’s “Baby” was released on his debut album, My World 2.0. The official YouTube music video has over 1 billion views. This was the 16-year old, pre-DUI, pre-assault and dangerous driving, pre-thug life Bieber. (Did you know he’s only 20?!) Much like the rebellious Bieber, WhyDev has grown since 2010, when we released our first blog post. Like “Baby”, we look back at it with a mixture of pride and cringe. But, it was our baby.
Two Justin Bieber albums and 499 blog posts later, we hit 500 with this post. We started WhyDev while becoming Masters of Development Studies in 2010, and our early blog posts reflect this; they were reflective pieces about issues with which we were grappling. Many of the issues were macro, complex and seemingly out of our reach. However, from the start, WhyDev’s aim was always to be participatory and collaborative. New authors started contributing, networks were formed and discussions matured.
We found our voice in a community of practice, a community that was critical, passionate and committed to getting development right.
Now, we want to get to 1,000 posts. We are ad-free, don’t charge anything for access and don’t pay our team either. You can show your love for WhyDev, by donating using the big button in the right sidebar. Show us the money! Or, at least a little love.
We received some great feedback from our readers in our recent survey. Feedback that, well, really took us aback and touched that place reserved for kittens, puppies and Feminist Ryan Gosling.
“Intelligent, insightful writing. It feels like it’s a collection of people with very sharp insights about the nuances of the work that we do. This is so needed! WhyDev is really one of the best sites out there.”
There were also some head scratching responses:
“Honestly I don’t read it much, therefore not enough to comment.”
And, of course, the critical, lessons-learned section we want to pay the most/least attention to:
“Many posts are naive. It has a very 101 approach.”
“The people tweeting seem very cynical and jaded. The critiques they raise aren’t necessarily new, even to someone like me (not in development), so they sometimes just come across as assholes.”
I’m always amazed that people actually read WhyDev consistently. I often think I get more out of WhyDev than anyone else. It has been a constant source of strength over the past five years: the team, the writers and the readers. Thank you. Thank you for being a part of our community and for making time amongst the forest of Buzzfeed articles and cat videos to engage with our content. (I think I hear the get-off-the-stage music playing.)
Without further ado, in honour of our 500th blog post, WhyDev is launching a brand new regular feature. “Why We Dev” will be an open (and anonymous) Q&A series to help you get all your questions about aid and development answered by a special expert tyrant. Think of it as a Reddit AMA, but with a twist. This is your opportunity to ask almost anything, and WhyDev’s special guest will answer as many questions as they can in an upcoming blog post. Our first edition of Why We Dev is open for question submissions until midnight (Australian EST) on Monday, 2 March.
Our inaugural guest tyrant needs no introduction, but he will get one anyway – J. Although a pseudonym, J. is one of the most well-known names/letters in the online and offline humanitarian community. He began writing in 2007, and now blogs at AidSpeak and publishes fiction and non-fiction books under his own brand, Evil Genius. With over 20+ years of humanitarian experience both “in the field” and in HQ positions, J. keeps it real, incisive and insightful.
Now’s your chance. Ask J. anything.
Featured image shows Justin Bieber in 2010. Photo from Wikimedia Commons.
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