Knowhow

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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QA4D

by David Week on 20 November 2011

Okay: we don’t really need yet another of those cutesie “4D = for development” labels, but for a blog post heading, it’s acceptable. In my last post, Fad Surfing in the Development Boardroom, I took issue with those (and there are many) who think that “development” is completely dissociated from the rest of the world. […]

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Reinventing the wheel (all over again)

by David Week 11 September 2011

Because I come to development from a professional background (architecture, and through architecture, project management) I’m familiar with a pre-existing knowledge base that lies outside that industry we call “development”. As a result, I often come across areas of development assistance which appear to me to be reinventions of the wheel—in complete apparent ignorance that […]

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Who guards the RCT guardians?

by David Week 27 May 2011

I just today read two good posts by @edwardrcarr, outlining a critique of RCTs based on the qual vs quant distinction: The Qualitative Research Challenge to RCT4D: Part 1 and Part 2. I agree with Ed’s points. My beefs are different. The main ones are: RCTs may well measure “if something worked”. But the tacit […]

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Difference, respect and money

by David Week 6 May 2011

Don’t be tolerated Tales from the Hood recently wrote a post about tolerance. It begins: I remember several months ago sitting in the Karachi airport McDonald’s chatting with @ayeshahasan about the foreigners who go to Pakistan and try to blend in by wearing a salwar kameez… and asks, mid-stream: How do you know that your […]

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Eugene Smith, Albert Schweitzer, moral dilemmas, local knowledge

by David Week 27 January 2011

Eugene Smith I’m in Amsterdam, and yesterday I went with my daughter, and with a friend, to see a Eugene Smith exhibition at FOAM, Amsterdam’s photographic museum. Eugene Smith was an American photojournalist who documented WW2, and later worked for Life, and for Magnum. Some of his photographs are iconic, and you may recognise them: […]

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“Smart Aid”: A cautionary note

by David Week 24 November 2010

Thanks to Good Intentions for inspiring this post, which started life as a comment. I have some qualms about the very idea of “smart aid”. It seems to imply that this is something new, while all has been done in the past is “dumb aid”. I think of the development of aid (the development of “development”?) […]

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How to become an aid professional

by David Week 5 November 2010

First: you need to know what an aid “professional” might look like, and the hazards (and potential strengths) of being an aid “amateur.” There’s been a small debate on the blogs recently, and Saundra of Good Intentions has posted a cool summary of the results, here. Everyone starts at some time as an amateur, and learns […]

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TED’s background briefing on the MDGs

by David Week 21 September 2010

The Millenium Development Goals Various criticism have been made of the MDGs, but I think they have done an excellent job of uniting the development community on a global basis. TED.com TED.com has done a superlative job of putting new ideas out to a broad audience, in part by restricting their talks to 20 minutes, […]

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What development teaches you about architecture

by David Week 20 September 2010

I recently registered for a new initiative of The Guardian newspaper concerning global development. (Thanks to Craig Zeliger of the Peace and Collaborative Development Network for alerting me to this.) In introducing myself on this site, I felt like saying something about how development has changed the way I understand my profession. I think this is […]

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About “Architecture for Development”

by David Week 27 April 2010

Why this blog Below, I’ve pasted my professional “about” blurb from my CV, written in some version of bureaucratese. It serves as a potted history of my professional life, and provides some insight, I guess, into my professional persona. But I’m not blogging to further my professional career, which is doing just fine. Here are […]

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