Paradigm

African Philosophy

by David Week on 15 February 2016

Yesterday, I listened to an interview with Katrin Flikschuh of the London School of Economics. Brilliant. Wonderful. It was as if a door opened on a new universe. I’ve been working in international development since 1978. In the late 1980s I began to realise that there was something amiss in our standard cultural understanding of […]

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More wicked than you think

by David Week on 28 May 2014

This post is inspired by a post by Duncan Green here, in which he invites comments on an ODI working paper by Ben Ramalingam, Miguel Laric and John Primrose, which is posted here: “From Best Practice to Best Fit: Understanding and navigating wicked problems in international development.” This post may not make sense unless you read that paper. The term […]

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Don’t knock aid

by David Week 7 September 2011

This post comes from a debate I became involved with on LinkedIn. You can find that debate here. Critiques vs knocking Critiquing aid is to take a specific aspect of aid practice which could be improved, showing comparatively that it could be better, analysing the problem, and proposing solutions. Knocking aid is to enter into […]

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The other SWEDOW

by David Week 18 August 2011

SWEDOW “SWEDOW” is an acroynm for: Stuff WE DOn’t Want. It was coined by @talesfromthhood, and has spread into the lexicon, to the point where it has its own wordspy entry. Up until five minutes ago, when I researched the term, I thought that the “we” in SWEDOW referred to the recipients, as in “please […]

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Three Cups of Skywalker

by David Week 6 August 2011

The furore around l’affaire Mortenson has died down. At its height, opinion and speculation filled the blogosphere. Some hoped Mortenson would make it through the flames. Some wrote of how he had inspired them to care. Others pointed out that his development model, based around school construction, was bad from day one; that anthropologists had […]

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The moral frame of development research

by David Week 22 July 2011

I’ve been reading a post by Tom Murphy entitled Aid’s God Complex and Bloggers Groupthink. Towards the end of the post, Tom says this: Critics of research will decry the wonky conversations that do not address the issues at hand. Some will say that things need to get done and it is a waste of resources […]

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The new colonial architecture

by David Week 15 June 2011

I saw today a picture of a school in Cambodia, designed by Finnish architects. It is very nice looking. It photographs very well. It will be picked up and circulated widely in the architectural press, online and off. Without doubt. You can see more here. In the comments box, I wrote this: This is artistically […]

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Why a slum house is like a factory

by David Week 26 May 2011

Commenting on my post on the $300 house, Yodan said: And yet, David, it seems that in every advanced economy housing does become a commodity and is predominantly produced by big companies, and financed by big banks and savings and loans societies, and that is usually connected with levels of poverty going down significantly. In […]

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Gangsters, bullies, liars and thieves

by David Week 7 March 2011

I’m a fan of political correctness. As one wag put it, political correctness is just another word for being polite. If the citizens of Indian have renamed their city Mumbai, I’ll call it Mumbai, not Bombay. I call the ni Vanuatu the ni Vanuatu, not Vanuatans. I don’t refer to adult women as girls, except […]

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The critical role of the “first mile” in development

by David Week 12 February 2011

I keep seeing the term “last mile” used in a development context. This terms seems to have currency in North America. I’ve never heard it used professionally in our hemisphere. Troublesome words The problem with language (as feminists and racial minorities well know) is that it perpetuates a mindset. In development, the classical mindset is […]

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Crossing the Streams

by David Week 12 December 2010

In “Aid as a conversation between cultures”, I recounted my early experiences in understanding aid as a two-way exchange, rather than a one-way flow. This paper, from 1993, was my first attempt, together with Howard Davis, to put that understanding in writing. On re-reading, I now see this paper as representing an important first step: […]

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Aid as a conversation between cultures

by David Week 12 December 2010

A few days ago, I posted this statement on twitter: “In my ideal world, aid is a conversation between cultures, on the subject of human development in both cultures.” A few of my fellow twitterers picked up on this idea: @debelzie @BonnieKoenig @meowtree @Ethnicsupplies @warisara @idealistnyc One exchange that stays in mind was this: @idealistnyc […]

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