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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‘People to People’: an alternative way of delivering humanitarian aid

by David Week 21 December 2010

Azwar Hasan is the founder of Forum Bangun Aceh (FBA), a good friend, and a great colleague. He and I worked for three years on LOGICA: Local Governance and Infrastructure for Communities in Aceh. Az was Deputy Team Leader; I was the infrastructure Adviser. LOGICA took a community-driven development approach to assist 200 of the hardest […]

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Marilyn Waring is someone you should know

by David Week 5 December 2010

Marilyn Waring At last, thanks to the National Film Board of Canada, this classic doco on my favourite feminist economist is now available for viewing online. In 1975, at the age of 23, she became the youngest MP in the New Zealand Parliament. As a member of the National Party, she famously (or infamously) crossed the […]

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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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What Tolstoy said to the development worker

by David Week 6 October 2010

Games people play I find two there are two types of commentary on development which I find really push some kind of button with me. Ain’t It Awful The first is “the world is a mess, and it’s only getting worse, and nothing we’re doing is really going to fix it.” In 1964, the psychologist […]

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Questioning our poverty prejudices

by David Week 28 September 2010

Examining our own preconceptions MJ, in a comment here, says: It may be that they actually are happier than city slickers in Sydney, but your experiences do not amount to very much evidence. It’s true that my experience does not amount to evidence, but my experience did lead me to start looking very carefully at […]

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Poverty is not misery

by David Week 21 September 2010

Many events and situations can make people miserable: natural disasters, in which they lose their homes, livelihoods, and loved ones internment in refugee camps with uncertain futures and time frames conflicts in which they are daily put in fear of their lives. But poverty, in and on of itself, does not cause misery. I met a […]

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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. 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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The power of co-investment

by David Week 18 September 2010

Sharing the load Recently, I was advising a client who had the following problem: Four years ago, they had agreed to fund a project to the amount of USD1.0m. Now, for a variety of reasons, the cost at the commencement of implementation had increased to $1.6m. The question they asked me was: should they provide […]

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Finding a job in development

by David Week 13 September 2010

I’m planning to write a series of posts about building a career as an architect in development. That’s in the pipeline. In the mean time, I thought I would post a set of sites where you can find jobs in development. Saundra over at Good Intentions Are Not Enough is putting together a comprehensive list […]

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