“Compassion and love should underpin everything we do in the name of ‘development’”
The recent US election that has resulted in the victory of an openly misogynist and racist man has drawn our attention to the rise of right-wing movements in democratic countries. One of the many causes of the results of the US election and Brexit may derive from economically marginalised people using the only voice they had – their voting power – to speak out against their frustration. It is time to examine the inequality within countries in the Global North as part of the development agenda.
The field of Gender and Development has attempted to highlight inequality within development by using the lens of gender and intersectionality. These perspectives are needed more than ever to take into account the voice of the marginalised groups. Say for Development spoke to an expert of Gender and Development, Prof. Andrea Cornwall, the Head of the School of Global Studies at the University of Sussex (UK).
“Researchers need to earn the right to be heard”
The Evidence and Lessons from Latin America (ELLA) Programme is a three-year long research project in which researchers from Latin America and Africa collaborate to conduct comparative research on issues currently on the agendas of policy actors in their countries. The current phase is a collaboration between 12 countries on 6 research topics ranging from Informality and Inclusive Growth to Domestic Violence. More information can be found here: http://ella.practicalaction.org
Say for Development spoke to Dr. Ayobami Ojebode, the leader of the research team from Ibadan University, Nigeria. His team collaborated with a team from El Salvador on community based crime prevention, focusing on how communities work together to fill the gap of inadequate security provided by the state in Nigeria. The Ibadan University research team actively collaborated with key stakeholders (including the police force) throughout the research process. Say for Development spoke to Ayobami to understand what development practitioners can learn from his team’s experience with involving key stakeholders in the research process.
“We need to keep the wellbeing of individuals we are serving at the forefront of our thinking.”
Oxfam International has recently signed a deal to move its headquarter to Nairobi, Kenya. As one of the most recognisable and renowned development organisations in the world, the relocation is a clear statement of the need to strengthen Southern voices. This also means that Oxfam Great Britain (Oxfam GB), which to many people is the spiritual home of Oxfam, will undergo quite a change in its role and strategy. It is symbolic in an era where more attention is placed on thinking about development through the people.
Say for Development had a conversation with Mark Goldring*, CEO of Oxfam GB. From commencing his career as a volunteer teacher to heading one of the largest charities in the world, Mark talks about his journey in international development, the relocation of Oxfam International, and the importance of love and compassion in development.
“[Other than focusing only on policymaking and technical aspects of poverty reduction], we also need to create a powerful norm of care and compassion in society as a whole.”
The SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals) have placed particular emphasis on alleviating extreme poverty. For the first time among global goals, child poverty is being specifically targeted and recognised. Universality is also acknowledged – no longer is child poverty a challenge of the Global South, but it is also present in relatively developed countries.
Say for Development had a conversation with Richard Morgan*, Director of Global Child Poverty Initiative at Save the Children, and Co-Chair of Global Coalition to End Child Poverty. With 30 years of ample experience working with children’s rights issues in both Save the Children and UNICEF, Richard shares his insights on addressing child poverty and the SDGs, how interventions around children’s rights have changed over the years, and most importantly, how to ensure that children receive love and affection.
“Love, relationships, emotions and feelings have a place in development thinking and practice, as they are a big part of why we do what we do. After all, it is about the way we feel about the world and issues rather than just because they are academically interesting.”
The Institute of Development Studies (IDS), founded in 1966, is one of the world’s leading organisations for research, teaching, and communications on international development. Over the decades, IDS has made ground-breaking and influential contributions to the field of international development including studies and researches on addressing poverty and inequality, village and rural poverty studies that led to development from the perspectives of the poor, participatory approaches to development and democracy, gender dimensions to development, the role of emerging powers in international development and many more. In 2014-15, IDS along with University of Sussex topped the QS World University Rankings in development studies.
“People are the experts of their own lives. Development only happens if it is owned by the people and participation is fundamental to real development.”
Owing much to Robert Chambers’ insights into Participatory Learning and Action, and the educational theory of Paulo Freire, participation has become a very important concept and practice in development. Theatre for a Change (TfaC) is an NGO founded in 2003 that uses drama and interactive theatre to work with the most vulnerable and marginalised groups, particularly those at risk of poor sexual and reproductive health and who have limited opportunities to assert their gender rights. The methodology was first applied in Ghana in 2003 as a response to rising rates of HIV/AIDS. Today, TfaC works in Ghana, Malawi and the UK.
Say for Development had the opportunity to have a conversation with TfaC’s Founder and Executive Director, Patrick Young*, on how gender equality can be achieved through using participatory theatre methodologies.
Into the Door of Global Development: a Conversation with Donal Brown, Director of DFID’s Global Funds Department
“In a world where we are no longer a part of the EU, it might become even more important to show that we are very much connected to the world.”
UK’s Department for International Development (DFID) has played an important role and offered crucial support to the education and health sectors of various countries. Say for Development is interested in learning about the personal stories and career path of development professionals who play key roles in aid agencies, as well as their thoughts about international development.
Say for Development had the opportunity to have a conversation with Dr. Donal Brown*, Director and Board Member of Global Health and Education Funds at DFID. With more than 25 years of experience in international development, Donal shares how he started his career in international development, gives advice to young aspiring development professionals and offers his perspectives on DFID’s role in this post-Brexit era.