If you only read one thing this week…

An argument for more accountability by ifyouonlyreadonethingthisweek
November 30, 2007, 7:13 pm
Filed under: accountability, Development theory, If you have 30 mins

Take a look at this recent report by World Vision, Why do Accountability? A Business Case from Sri Lanka, which we have been kindly given permission to publish here. The report offers and interesting counter perspective to the HPN article we highlighted a couple of weeks back that challenged some of the humanitarian world’s uncritical focus on accountability. Continue reading


Social Entrepreneurship – what does it mean exactly? by ifyouonlyreadonethingthisweek
November 12, 2007, 9:38 pm
Filed under: Development theory, If you only have 15 mins

Social Entrepreneurship is a term we in the non-profit world have been applying for a while.  And I often get the sense that different people mean different things by it.  Thanks to research by one of our interns, Josh Levin, I now find out that I was right! This brief four-pager lays out the two definitions and what they mean as well as showing where the Ashoka folks fit in. It’s a quick read, provides useful comparisons and I recommend it for anyone trying to get their head around the definitions. Click the link to download the document Social Entrepreneurship – Definitions

Using Sport as a Vehicle for HIV/AIDS Education and Prevention by ifyouonlyreadonethingthisweek
November 12, 2007, 6:50 pm
Filed under: Development theory, If you have 30 mins

Mercy Corps has just published a report entitled, Commitment to Practice: A Playbook for Practioners in HIV, Youth and Sport, based on programming experience in Liberia and southern Sudan.
The paper looks at two distinct fields: within the HIV/AIDS sector, there is growing recognition that Sport for Development (SfD) approaches can contribute towards HIV prevention. Additionally, within the Sport for Development field, there is increasing emphasis on developing effective HIV/AIDS programs for youth.

The paper includes: program results; lessons learned and recommendations, and; a brief ‘how to’ guide on how to establish these programs. I’d recommend it to both HIV/AIDS and Sports for Development practioners, as well as generalists interested in this field.

What do Counter Terrorism Measures Mean for NGOs? by ifyouonlyreadonethingthisweek
November 8, 2007, 6:29 pm
Filed under: governance, If you have 30 mins

INTRAC – the International NGO Training and Research Center based in the UK – has been conducting research into the effects of Counter Terrorism Measures  (CTMs) on the way in which aid agencies work. They have published findings from a series of workshops and a great paper entitled, “Assessing the Implications of CTMs for NGOs“. Having heard so much about CTMs from the US perspective, it was refreshing to read a global perspective on CTMs that includes the current issues in Europe.  The easy-to-read paper talks about some of the challenges NGOs are facing and cites a chilling example a British charity that was designated as a terrorist organisation by the US Government. The Charity Commission found no evidence of any illegal activity. However, the British government has still not interceded with the USG to clear their name.

The NGOs that are most suffering from CTMs are smaller international organizations that cannot afford to put all the checking measures in place, and NGOs in the south who are also unable to comply. The paper also finds that NGOs are averse to speaking out against some of these measures because they are afraid of possible retribution and reduced funding in the future. In the US they have found that retalitory action has been taken against, “government grantees that have engaged in controversial policy discussions or active advocacy that includes points of view different from the administration’s” http://www.intrac.org/pages/CTM_analysis.html

This is a chilling paper, but is worth the read to understand some of the far-reaching ramifications of CTMs that we may not as NGOs be considering as we hasten to make sure that we ourselves are in compliance.

Failed States Index 2007 by ifyouonlyreadonethingthisweek
November 1, 2007, 8:44 pm
Filed under: Articles, Development theory, If you have 30 mins

One of Neal’s recommendations is Foreign Policy’s ‘Failed States Index’. It is an in-depth examination of the concept, and realities of weak and unstable governments. Take a look at it here.

Powering down for the future by ifyouonlyreadonethingthisweek

Jerry Mander of the International Forum on Globalization is the editor of the new Manifesto on Global Economic Transitions, subtitled ‘Powering down for the future – towards a global movement for systemic change, economics of ecological sustainability, equity, sufficiency and peace’. This 30 page document distills much of the thinking from the IFG on the three core threats to development and sustainability:

1. Catastrophic Climate Chaos

2. The end of the era of cheap energy – peak oil and gas

3. Global resource depletion – Fresh water, forests, oceans, soil and wildlife extinctions.

IFG’s thesis is that the solution to each of these threats is the same: technological ‘solutions’ to these problems are not working – we must live within our ecological means, and we must re-localize, and return local democratic control to economic systems.

If you can’t get enough, check out “Alternatives to Economic Globalization – A Better World is Possible” where you can download the ‘what you can do’ section of the book free.

World mapper – re-invisioning the world by ifyouonlyreadonethingthisweek
November 1, 2007, 12:38 pm
Filed under: Web sites

World Mapper is a website that produces ‘cartograms’ – maps that distort the shape of territories by some statistic – there’s no easy way to describe it really! The map shown here, for example, is “deaths from easily preventable causes” (infections, maternal conditions, perinatal conditions, nutritional deficiencies). You can see the territories most affected clearly. Check out the site, where they have hundreds of these, by every indicator you could want, here.