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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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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It’s the elites, stupid

by David Week 8 August 2011

Aid-bashing I’ve spent most of my professional life working in the Pacific and Asia, and have only recently been invited to participate in a couple of projects in Africa. As a result, I’ve started to pay more attention to what’s happening in Africa, and I’m astonished to see the aid-bashing seems to be a popular […]

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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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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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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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Critique of the $300 house

by David Week 10 May 2011

In the 30th April issue of “the capitalists’ bible”, The Economist, I read that: …Vijay Govindarajan, of Dartmouth College’s Tuck School of Business, along with Christian Sarkar, a marketing expert, issued a challenge in a Harvard Business Review blog: why not apply the world’s best business thinking to housing the poor? His idea is to […]

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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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A question of clearance

by David Week 28 April 2011

Social distance Every culture has its own sense of space. This was elucidated most clearly by the anthropologist Edward T. Hall in his book The Hidden Dimension. He also coined the term “proxemics”. According to Hall, we each have a sense of how much distance is comfortable between ourselves and another person. If the other persons get […]

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