Thoughts from an agricultural development gal in Ghana

Development Digest – 25/02/11

Trying out a new thing here: the Development Digest. I used to compile a weekly email of the same name when I worked for the EWB National Office in Toronto and got a lot of positive feedback. So here’s an attempt to revive the idea!

Basically, it’s a compilation of interesting things (to me at least) from the world wide interweb each week. Feel free to read it all, only what’s interesting or skip the whole thing – up to you! Also, feel free to comment, re-post, etc. – I’d love the feedback. Which articles did you like best? Which ones did you like least? Which categories do you like? Should I add any new categories?

Posting this on my blog is actually not the ideal way to share these things. What I’d really like is a system where I (and others) can share links, then users can star or upvote to indicate which ones they liked. Think Reddit or Hackernews. Or something similar to, but that only pulls links from Twitter. If you have any suggestions on a system that will do what I’m looking for, please let me know!!

Just a note, this week’s post is extra-long because I’ve included articles from the last 2-3 weeks. It will normally be a bit shorter, depending on how much interesting stuff I find that week.

Now, without further ado… the Development Digest!


Global news:

Roundup of global protests –
Earthquake in New Zealand –

Africa news:

Côte D’Ivoire biggest bank shuts down –
Increased violence in Côte D’Ivoire –
Failed Sub-Saharan protests –
In search of an African revolution –
Overview on Libya –

Canada news:

A test of our democracy –
Canadian agriculture –
The Rise of Grassroots Movements –
SNC-Lavelin building jail in Libya –

Agriculture news:

The Race for Rice –
Future of Cocoa –
Agriculture & Health –
Why Are Food Prices Skyrocketing? –
Dependent on Maize? –
GM Crops to address climate change –

Development thinking:

Bad, voluntourists, bad! ––porter-don-t-go-to-haiti-to-volunteer
Food Prices –
Owen Barder: 8 lessons from 3 years working on transparency –
Scott Gilmore of Peace Dividend Trust (who was at the EWB National Conference in January) gives EWB a thumbs up in his post on what makes a good volunteer model –

Guest post by Robert Chambers on “Aid on the Edge of Chaos”
Part 1 –
Part 2 –
Warning: it’s in his usual hard-to-read academic style. But I think well worth it! (especially part 2)

EWB Staff/Volunteer blog posts:

Duncan: What Communities Want –
Dan B: Behind the framework –
Ka-Hay: Feeling Full –
Erin: A Bitter Pill –
Erin: The Donor Effect –
Ben C: Racism –
Ben C: Saying and Doing –
Colleen: Small-scale Business Growth –
Alyssa: Bike Path Lessons in Dev’t Work –


Some beautiful writing on believing that change is possible –
Travel portrait tips –
P.S. Bev, you’re fired –
Stuff Expat Aid Workers Like –
If NGOs were animals, what would they be? –
WTF?? –


3 responses

  1. A simple way to track clicks is by using Once you create an account and shorten links using it, you’ll be able to see the clicking history.

    You can also use a type of post here on WordPress that’s called an “aside”, and put one link per post. That way it gives people the chance to “like” or comment on it, and would allow a conversation to start.

    You’d have to figure out which themes support it, but here is one example

    February 25, 2011 at 1:17 pm

    • Good suggestion, I’ll check it out. Thanks Jason!!

      February 25, 2011 at 1:52 pm

  2. The Montreal-based engineering giant has said the facility will be the “first to be built according to international human rights standards.”

    Yeah, SNC Lavalin has a long tradition of upholding human rights. The bullets they used to sell to the US military, I’m sure, totally met human rights standards.

    But anyway, SNC isn’t alone in its collaboration with brutal dictators. Obama and Cameron can say whatever nice things they want about their support for the Libyan people, but it’s American and British weapons that are being used to cut down the protesters.

    Such politricks are old news and we know what the game is about. Chomsky summarizes it beautifully*: “The doctrine traces far back and generalises worldwide, to US home territory as well. In the event of unrest, tactical shifts may be necessary, but always with an eye to reasserting control.”

    We support the dictators and “The dictators support us. Their subjects can be ignored – unless they break their chains, and then policy must be adjusted.”


    February 26, 2011 at 1:35 am

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