My browser is being overstretched...why? I blame twitter and my sudden obsession to know what is happening in the rest of the world. I have one too many things open now, all demanding a blog post/my unsolicited opinion.
I'm terrified (in my hyperbolic American way) to lose any of the info so I'm just going to write mini blurbs around all it..
I should prolly categorize but given that I recognize this as me procrastinating before i actually hunker down and do some work, I need to just get this over with.
First up: Haiti and Cash For Work.
My biggest pet peeve. I fucking hate CFW at this moment in time. The actual definition, for anyone who cares, of CFW is: Payment for work on community or public works programmes to improve or rehabilitate the community.
What has ended up happening instead is PAID LABOUR. The objectives of CfW programmes have started reading like food security objectives: ie: people will have cash in order to meet their food requirements. I fine this abhorrent and offensive. In the start of an emergency, people have MUCH BETTER THINGS TO DO than be part of CfW schemes in order to have some money in order to buy what they need. Examples of things they need to be doing includes getting their documentation in order. People lose stuff (Haiti-earthquake, Pakistan-floods...think back to tsuanami...things are lost)...if they don't have their IDs, home documents etc, they can't register for aid (government or otherwise as well in many cases).
In the Haiti example, and I was there and I saw this: rubble removal was the pet project for CfW. There is SO much freakin rubble in Haiti that even big mac trucks (and the country has 300 and no proposed dumping ground...it's an ISLAND), if these trucks were to work ever single day...it would take ten years. I heard other figures as well but all pointing to how massive the problem is. Get some professionals in to sort it out...stop giving people gloves, vests and wheelbarrows and getting them to haul it off. For what purpose? You want them to have money...just GIVE IT TO THEM...don't force them to work for what should be a basic right (food and basic needs being met in an emergency situation). It's gross.
The article I link to is a good one. Read it. Pass it on. I am not done with my CfW rant but am happy to say that when I left Pakistan, at least the agency I was working for...I made sure we didn't have a separate CfW budget line. It was incorporated where it should be..within community projects and grants. I got yelled at for that, but I stuck to it. I am not about to further bad practice if I can help it. This whole current situation of CfW is a bad hangover from food for work, another disgusting form of programming.
Second up: Psychosocial work in Pakistan.
I need not say more...just click on the link. Diaries by Sara Klevmar...she writes wonderfully and simply and it's a way to see the work we do from the ground up. Well done, Sara.
Third: Sri Lanka. And Porn.
Yep, that's right...Sri Lankan porn. Why can't this country, which is so beautiful, and with beautiful people, get their shit in order? There is a hunt on for porn stars in Sri Lanka. No joke. Is there nothing else the police could be doing right now? They are publishing the photos (of what they guess to be teenagers) in the newspapers. Thankfully, there are sane people and advocates in the country that are pointing out that the people in the video might be there without their consent or through coercion and such a public exposure could harm them but the militant and weird brand of Buddhism in the country seems to support the moral outrage these porn videos (shot it seems, mostly with cell phones, by the way) are causing. No Sri Lanka story I read is complete without one classic line...Here's the one from this article: Police plan to publish images, taken from the films, of around 50 more in the coming days. The mug shots have been obtained by a special police squad viewing films "round the clock", officers said.
Fourth up: Haiti again. Media being offensive to me again.
Story written by a Ms. Georgianne Nienaber: Investigative journalist, author, Haiti relief worker.
My offense is simple....yes, I think what is happening in Haiti sucks and it should be reported on for transparency and accountability and with the aim of getting aid to people properly. She is talking about Camp Corrail...I have worked in that camp....Here is the offensive line:
This was our third visit to Haiti since the earthquake, and what this man says is completely accurate.
As ANYONE with ANY field experience knows...one TRIANGULATES information. I can already tell you that this mans outrage is completely justified however, what is he is saying is NOT completely accurate as Ms Nienaber says. Two examples: People were not forced to move from Petitionville Golf Course camp...they were given options and these were explained. They were also given more than one bag of rice on arrival to the camp. I know, because I was there...and the agency I was working with didn't move them and we didn't give out relief items so I am not being biased here. Now, this one mans story, could be completely accurate just for HIS situation...however, he is NOT representative of the first batch of people that moved to Corrail.
All I am asking for is what I exercise as a field person as well. Proper telling of stories. I think it's just irresponsible otherwise. A little bit more integrity please. It goes a long way...pass it on.
Fifth up: China and Pakistan and Nukes.
Pakistan, I don't know if I love you or not, but you never fail to disappoint. I look at Zardari's face and I feel sick. Ugh is all I can say to this article. Ugh, Ugh, Ugh.
Sixth up: A collection of just really cool stuff.
@blurb has put up this beautiful picture on his website. I heart it. Once I get paid, I'm gonna buy it and he's gonna sign it for me. WOOHOO!
I am obsessed with Fluevogs...they are shoes. Heels, in fact. Who knew I had that in me. But I am in love. It started with my sister buying a paid before I went off to Pakistan, or maybe even before that but I was like, yeah, ok, whatever. And all of a sudden yesterday, I was like, hey, let me see those shoes again...and I tried them on, and though she is like, three sizes larger than me, I put them on and was like, HOLY SHIT, this is amazing! I need to win the lottery in order to buy a pair. I am buying tickets starting tomorrow. You gotta be in it to win it.
Social change and media has my attention...I like it. Here is a piece on using mobile technology to gather data fast. It's important to be able to do that, and I like that I saw it being used in both Haiti and Pakistan. Real time info, as fast as we can get it and then use it to meet needs gets massive brownie points from me. The UN also has an initiative to harness this hype around technology called Global Pulse. There have been bits and pieces around mobile phone subscriptions in India and the continent of Africa and how the numbers are getting higher and higher and how people use the technology for all sorts of things (of course, they don't dis-aggregate African data but what? It's a continent, not just one BIG massive homogeneous country? Wha?)
For you apple mac lovers out there....some nice geek stuff on how to make full use of the automator.... I need to re read the piece in order to figure out how to actually do it and what added value, if any, it might bring to my life.
Seventh up: Gender Equality and Business.
I'm to tired to write anymore, but I have it up here so it's important enough for everyone to read it. I will post it in conjunction with a report from the Women's Refugee Commission...scroll down to the middle of the page and download the report: Peril or Protection: Link between Livelihoods and Gender Based Violence. . It's important. Read it and be educated.
WHEW! I'm done. For now. I need to stop reading and close my mind off to anything else for the time being and get some work done. If only things weren't so interesting and I didn't want to know something about everything.
Jane of all trades, Mistress of none.