If you only read one thing this week…


Cash transfer in emergencies. How to do it, and whether it works. by ifyouonlyreadonethingthisweek
August 28, 2006, 4:41 pm
Filed under: Development theory, If you have 30 mins

Disasters Journal this issue is focusing on cash transfers in emergencies, with a good editorial providing a basic introduction to the role of cash transfers in emergencies. Mercy Corps has two articles in this issue, some of which is available free on-line here.

Mercy Corps’ Michael Gabriel, Sean Collins and Peter Stevenson co-author with Shannon Doocy and Courtland Robinson from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health on a paper titled “Implementing cash for work programmes in post-tsunami Aceh: experiences and lessons learned“. The abstract is below, but for those who can’t get enough, Development Policy Review is also offering free content on cash transfers, with articles entitled: “Cash Transfers: Panacea for Poverty Reduction or Money Down the Drain?“, and “Reducing Child Poverty with Cash Transfers: A Sure Thing?“. Click the links for free pdfs of those articles, to read the rest of the issue, you will need to make them a cash transfer… Continue reading



The future of development in the Arab World – Asef Bayat reviews the UN Arab Human Development Reports by ifyouonlyreadonethingthisweek
August 27, 2006, 6:40 pm
Filed under: Book reviews, Development theory, If you only have 15 mins

Related to one of Mercy Corps’ ‘megatrends’, the journal Development and Change carries a review of the United Nations Development Programme‘s ‘Arab Human Development Reports‘, a series of reviews of human development indicators, focusing on the Arab World and prepared by a team of over 100 Arab intellectuals and professionals (available in English, Arabic and French).

His report is available free as a pdf download from the Development and Change Journal site here – it’s well worth a read, a fascinating and provocative insight into one view of the future of politics and development in the Arab World. Continue reading



50% of Google’s products started life as part of their ‘20% learning and innovation’ time that employees can use to explore anything they want. What can we learn from this? by ifyouonlyreadonethingthisweek
August 27, 2006, 5:46 pm
Filed under: Articles, If you have 30 mins, Management

Marissa Mayer is Vice President of Google’s Search Products & User Experience, and she recently gave a presentation at Stanford University about how to foster creativity and innovation in an organization. You can listen to it (it’s an mp3, which should play on any computer, of a 15 minute presentation, with another 15 minutes of questions).
She says that every Google engineer is encouraged to spend twenty percent of their work time on projects that interest them (anything – it doesn’t have to be directly related to their job, in fact, it shouldn’t be). It turns out that many of Google’s newer services, such as Gmail, Google News, Adsense, Suggest, and Orkut originated from these independent endeavors. Continue reading



Twenty Five Years of HIV / AIDS – where are we now? by ifyouonlyreadonethingthisweek
August 14, 2006, 1:31 am
Filed under: Articles, If you only have 15 mins

It has been twenty five years since the Centers for Disease Control first reported the condition that we now know as AIDS.

Jessica Quarles, Mercy Corps’ Program Officer for HIV / AIDS, recommends these two articles to mark the anniversary, the first, by Abraham Verghese (the director of the Center for Medical Humanities and Ethics at the University of Texas Health Sciences Center at San Antoni) published in the New York Times is called AIDS at 25: An Epidemic of Caring. It’s a personal account of his journey as a doctor practicing in this field.

The second is by Geoffrey Cowley, in Newsweek, about Peter Piot, the director of UNAIDS, the United Nations’ Joint Program on HIV/AIDS, entitled The Life of a Virus Hunter. “If we’ve learned anything in 25 years, it’s that communities can take control of this problem. Our role isn’t to rescue them. It’s to support them.



The impacts of climate change on the risk of natural disasters by ifyouonlyreadonethingthisweek
August 10, 2006, 6:09 pm
Filed under: Articles, Environment, If you only have 15 mins

The Journal of Disaster Studies, Policy and Management (AKA Disasters, published on behalf of the leading British thinktank the Overseas Development Institute) features a climate change focus in their March 2006 issue. One of the more interesting articles is Maarten K. van Aalst’s ‘impacts of climate change on the risk of natural disasters’.

The abstract is given below, you can download the free pdf here. It’s worth checking out their website, where you can subscribe to the journal, or read a number of free articles. Continue reading



Lost in the news cycle, world trade talks collapse. Why should we care? by ifyouonlyreadonethingthisweek
August 3, 2006, 1:00 am
Filed under: Articles, Development theory, If you only have 15 mins

As the middle east continues to dominate the news, the collapse of the World Trade Organization‘s Doha Round last week in Geneva should not slip off the page. This is complicated stuff, without clear good and bad guys, but it’s pretty important to the future of development and trade.

Initially slated to begin in Seattle in 1999, the talks began in 2001 in Doha after severe protests led to delays. The purpose was to agree on the Doha Development Agenda (an attempt to liberalize trade in ways which might help the poor, although Friends of the Earth, among others, say that it would make matters worse), and from there negotiate opening agricultural and manufacturing markets. The intent of the round was to make trade rules fairer for developing countries. Continue reading