I’m writing a letter to you, because I’m not sure you’ll listen when I talk. You claim that you want to come back to my house, and that in fact, your visit will be good for me. Dear colonialism, I do not agree.
Especially since you have yet to leave my house.
When you arrived you were uninvited. I do not need to document the tragedies that unfolded under your watch. I do not need to document the painful legacies that you created. Others have done so more eloquently, devastatingly, and, indeed, empirically than I might right now in this short letter.
I caught up with the creators of The MissionMarie-Marguerite Sabongui and Benedict Moran via Zoom in Istanbul to
learn more about their UN sitcom project. We discussed how to communicate
development and international politics issues differently in an age of
new TV platforms, satirical commentary as edutainment and what could be
the beginning of a global movement of creative talent taking on the absurdities of the aid
There is a
lot of crazy, absurd stuff happening in the UN
Aidnography: I am always intrigued about new and
different forms of how development issues are communicated-so naturally
your UN sitcom caught my attention. What triggered your project?
Marie: Ben and I broadly work in the field of international
development. I studied international development and environmental
issues and Ben and I were both working at the UN in New York. I was a
climate advisor for small islands at the UN and Ben the producer for
Al-Jazeera’s UN coverage. We kept crossing in the…
I am very excited to host another great guest post!
Milasoa Chérel-Robson works for UNCTAD and her reflections on the challenges and trade-offs of combining her international career with family duties highlight many personal insights into bigger debates in gender and development. This is a perfect long-read for the weekend after Mother's Day that spans a historical trajectory from Madagascar and the socialist aspirations of the 1970s to the limits of “leaning in” in Geneva and contemporary Rwanda where Africa is celebrating a bright economic future.
I'm back with another packed reading list for your weekend!
Development news: #AidToo updates from African Union, UN & EU; the dirty war in Cameroon; female Afghan coders & the opportunities of digital work; peak hype for insurance & development schemes? Ethnographic documentary from Maputo; will Mayors solve the refugee crisis? Journalists of color to follow; a major conference 'did not consider gender' when planning m/panels-plus tweets & fancy UN PR.
Our digital lives: Is the open plan office sexist? Does crypto repeat tech's gender inequalities? Do squatters need discipline? (Yes! to all of those questions!)
Publications: RCTs produce biased results (no really!); ICT4D & digital labor; mobile phones in the Pacific.
Academia: Powerful essays on depression & graduate studies, indigenizing Canadian academia & the competitive hardship of contemporary ethnographic research; plus, 10 types of meetings you love to hate!
Development news: Crack-down on war-zone child abuse; MSF & #AidToo; how can aid sector communicate ethical dilemmas? AI hacks humanitarian jargon; how development graduate education should change; value for money in UK aid; Germany's colonial past in Namibia; police, violence & vengeance in Africa; can aid organizations support social movements? Memory, violence & peacebuilding in Sri Lanka; the liminal space for foreigners in Vietnam.
Our digital lives: UK's growth of the 'digital compassionate industry'; clay jocks are a thing on Insta; digital PTSD is real.
Publications: The limits of participatory M&E; the limits of for-profit initiatives in the humanitarian sector; the limits of crowdsourcing accountability in Uganda.
Academia: Small ways to support your female colleagues.