Comments for Unpacking Development http://www.unpackingdevelopment.com Just another WordPress weblog Tue, 30 Nov 2010 07:54:06 +0000 http://wordpress.org/?v=2.7 hourly 1 Comment on About by <span class="CA_comment_author">Jennifer Lentfer</span> http://www.unpackingdevelopment.com/about/comment-page-1/#comment-1027 Jennifer Lentfer Thu, 12 Aug 2010 19:31:11 +0000 http://www.unpackingdevelopment.com/?page_id=2#comment-1027 Congratulations on “Unpacking Development.” I look forward to reading more. In working with international development agencies over the years, I found myself continually experiencing the limitations of donor-controlled, project-based funding and the need for community-driven development initiatives that were genuinely responsive to local needs. Much of the feedback from colleagues over the years echoes the same. That’s why I’ve launched http://www.how-matters.org. My blog explores the skills and knowledge needed by all international “do-gooders” to truly raise the level of human dignity within international assistance and to put real resources behind local means of overcoming obstacles. From my perspective, it’s not about what we do, but HOW we do it. Postings include good practices, reflection & rumination, guest bloggers, links and resources, and will (hopefully) inspire dialogue among a fuller, more inclusive community of those involved with foreign aid and international assistance around the world. I would appreciate if you would include “How Matters” in your list of related blogs. I’ve already done the same for Unpacking Development. How-matters.org is an expression of my professional, but more importantly, a personal resolve to nurture alternative models of international development that genuinely build on the dignity, knowledge, skills, culture, and abilities of local people. The journey begins…and thanks for your support. Jennifer Congratulations on “Unpacking Development.” I look forward to reading more.

In working with international development agencies over the years, I found myself continually experiencing the limitations of donor-controlled, project-based funding and the need for community-driven development initiatives that were genuinely responsive to local needs. Much of the feedback from colleagues over the years echoes the same.

That’s why I’ve launched http://www.how-matters.org.

My blog explores the skills and knowledge needed by all international “do-gooders” to truly raise the level of human dignity within international assistance and to put real resources behind local means of overcoming obstacles. From my perspective, it’s not about what we do, but HOW we do it.

Postings include good practices, reflection & rumination, guest bloggers, links and resources, and will (hopefully) inspire dialogue among a fuller, more inclusive community of those involved with foreign aid and international assistance around the world.

I would appreciate if you would include “How Matters” in your list of related blogs. I’ve already done the same for Unpacking Development.

How-matters.org is an expression of my professional, but more importantly, a personal resolve to nurture alternative models of international development that genuinely build on the dignity, knowledge, skills, culture, and abilities of local people.

The journey begins…and thanks for your support.
Jennifer

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Comment on Toronto Events: February 22-28 by <span class="CA_comment_author">Juan Torres</span> http://www.unpackingdevelopment.com/2010/02/22/toronto-events-february-22-28/comment-page-1/#comment-1022 Juan Torres Tue, 13 Jul 2010 03:03:58 +0000 http://www.unpackingdevelopment.com/?p=716#comment-1022 i always watch current events on TV and also read newspapers daily to keep myself updated.`~ i always watch current events on TV and also read newspapers daily to keep myself updated.`~

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Comment on In the Community! HealthyHousing.ca Launched Today! by <span class="CA_comment_author">Jennifer Gait</span> http://www.unpackingdevelopment.com/2010/02/22/in-the-community-healthyhousingca-launched-today/comment-page-1/#comment-1015 Jennifer Gait Sun, 20 Jun 2010 03:14:00 +0000 http://www.unpackingdevelopment.com/?p=722#comment-1015 Well done Kate. It looks like a very useful website for PLWa's and those assisting them - and very well organised. I can tell that a lot of thought and work went into creating this site. Well done Kate. It looks like a very useful website for PLWa’s and those assisting them - and very well organised. I can tell that a lot of thought and work went into creating this site.

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Comment on Toronto Events by <span class="CA_comment_author">Claire</span> http://www.unpackingdevelopment.com/toronto-events/comment-page-1/#comment-881 Claire Thu, 25 Feb 2010 14:13:30 +0000 http://www.unpackingdevelopment.com/?page_id=48#comment-881 Development Drinks - Hosted by OCIC March 4th, 5pm, Bedford Academy Development Drinks - Hosted by OCIC
March 4th, 5pm, Bedford Academy

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Comment on Holy water or Wholly AIDS? by Guest Blogger Tania Khojasteh by <span class="CA_comment_author">Solo</span> http://www.unpackingdevelopment.com/2010/02/10/holy-water-or-wholly-aids-by-guest-blogger-tania-khojasteh/comment-page-1/#comment-873 Solo Mon, 22 Feb 2010 05:44:19 +0000 http://www.unpackingdevelopment.com/?p=672#comment-873 You guys don't even know the half of it. It remains shocking that the majority of the Ethiopian population firmly believes that "holy" water cures HIV/AIDS. What blew my mind while growing up there is that people believe that this regular clear fluid that flows out of the government tap as good ol' H2O turns int a magical elixir once a priest has dipped a cross into it. Oh, and it can cure EVERYTHING! Everything? EVA-RY-THANG! Hell, people FAST when they're sick in the hopes that depriving themselves of vital nutrition will cure them cos big G will give out gold stars for piety. It is so widespread, it is endemic. At this stage though, if Zenawi's administration wanted to truly get to the core of this issue and put a brake on the accelerating infection rates that are hurtling us right into the obliteration of our young workforce, they would have involved the clergy of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church a long time ago. The way millions of people believe in the church system (mind you, not the word of the Bible as it was written, but the mechanism that creates the industry of the Church) could be utilized to respect the tradition, while solving a crisis that doesn't give us the time to even think about attempting to deconstruct faith systems that have been embedded 3 thousand years ago. I remember when I was a kid and the churches, after their services, would blare from megaphones as a way of community outreach for new mothers to vaccinate their kids against the polio virus. The number of infections the following year plummeted due to the church's involvement in the campaign. The church needs to get involved in public outreach similarly. And the Zenawi's administration prevention and education campaign MUST act swiftly to incorporate youth leaders in Churches to get out there and educate the community on the physical realities of HIV. In the specific case of Ethiopia, we cannot separate the church's role in public opinion. We are the country that is the evolutionary and technological seat of humankind yes, but we need to get off our asses on this HIV thing! You guys don’t even know the half of it. It remains shocking that the majority of the Ethiopian population firmly believes that “holy” water cures HIV/AIDS. What blew my mind while growing up there is that people believe that this regular clear fluid that flows out of the government tap as good ol’ H2O turns int a magical elixir once a priest has dipped a cross into it. Oh, and it can cure EVERYTHING! Everything? EVA-RY-THANG! Hell, people FAST when they’re sick in the hopes that depriving themselves of vital nutrition will cure them cos big G will give out gold stars for piety. It is so widespread, it is endemic.

At this stage though, if Zenawi’s administration wanted to truly get to the core of this issue and put a brake on the accelerating infection rates that are hurtling us right into the obliteration of our young workforce, they would have involved the clergy of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church a long time ago. The way millions of people believe in the church system (mind you, not the word of the Bible as it was written, but the mechanism that creates the industry of the Church) could be utilized to respect the tradition, while solving a crisis that doesn’t give us the time to even think about attempting to deconstruct faith systems that have been embedded 3 thousand years ago.

I remember when I was a kid and the churches, after their services, would blare from megaphones as a way of community outreach for new mothers to vaccinate their kids against the polio virus. The number of infections the following year plummeted due to the church’s involvement in the campaign. The church needs to get involved in public outreach similarly. And the Zenawi’s administration prevention and education campaign MUST act swiftly to incorporate youth leaders in Churches to get out there and educate the community on the physical realities of HIV. In the specific case of Ethiopia, we cannot separate the church’s role in public opinion. We are the country that is the evolutionary and technological seat of humankind yes, but we need to get off our asses on this HIV thing!

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Comment on Holy water or Wholly AIDS? by Guest Blogger Tania Khojasteh by <span class="CA_comment_author">Amin</span> http://www.unpackingdevelopment.com/2010/02/10/holy-water-or-wholly-aids-by-guest-blogger-tania-khojasteh/comment-page-1/#comment-859 Amin Thu, 18 Feb 2010 22:24:46 +0000 http://www.unpackingdevelopment.com/?p=672#comment-859 Is it feasible to use their own logic to explain how to deal with such endemics? By bringing in policies regarding disease containment and preventative measures that are communicated through Christian dogma, local knowledge, and local traditions, i.e. using "traditional" means to justify the "modern" means of dealing with endemics. Is it feasible to use their own logic to explain how to deal with such endemics?

By bringing in policies regarding disease containment and preventative measures that are communicated through Christian dogma, local knowledge, and local traditions, i.e. using “traditional” means to justify the “modern” means of dealing with endemics.

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Comment on Holy water or Wholly AIDS? by Guest Blogger Tania Khojasteh by <span class="CA_comment_author">katej</span> http://www.unpackingdevelopment.com/2010/02/10/holy-water-or-wholly-aids-by-guest-blogger-tania-khojasteh/comment-page-1/#comment-857 katej Thu, 18 Feb 2010 14:38:26 +0000 http://www.unpackingdevelopment.com/?p=672#comment-857 Great article! I recently read this book called Sizwe's Test by Jonny Steinberg. The author follows a young man in South Africa over the course of one year to find out why he won't test for HIV, despite his high risk. Of course, South Africa and Ethiopia are completely different, but the author tries his best to unpack the two different world views experienced by himself and his subject. Its really interesting! The thing I found interesting in Ethiopia as well was how pervasive these beliefs about HIV were - it was certainly not a fanatically religious few. For example, as I was researching my thesis at the University of Addis Ababa, I came across several graduate-level studies conducted around the role of holy water in curing AIDS (inconclusive). As well, one of my co-workers at a non-profit in Addis herself "knew" that AIDS could be cured through sufficient and meaningful prayer...this is someone who is paid by Canadian donors to fight against the disease! Great article! I recently read this book called Sizwe’s Test by Jonny Steinberg. The author follows a young man in South Africa over the course of one year to find out why he won’t test for HIV, despite his high risk. Of course, South Africa and Ethiopia are completely different, but the author tries his best to unpack the two different world views experienced by himself and his subject. Its really interesting!

The thing I found interesting in Ethiopia as well was how pervasive these beliefs about HIV were - it was certainly not a fanatically religious few. For example, as I was researching my thesis at the University of Addis Ababa, I came across several graduate-level studies conducted around the role of holy water in curing AIDS (inconclusive). As well, one of my co-workers at a non-profit in Addis herself “knew” that AIDS could be cured through sufficient and meaningful prayer…this is someone who is paid by Canadian donors to fight against the disease!

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Comment on Holy water or Wholly AIDS? by Guest Blogger Tania Khojasteh by <span class="CA_comment_author">Tarini</span> http://www.unpackingdevelopment.com/2010/02/10/holy-water-or-wholly-aids-by-guest-blogger-tania-khojasteh/comment-page-1/#comment-856 Tarini Thu, 18 Feb 2010 14:11:04 +0000 http://www.unpackingdevelopment.com/?p=672#comment-856 At first, my instinct is to scoff at her "holy water" but faith works in mysterious ways. Even doctors have studied the placebo effect - how one's own belief can cause your body to heal without chemical effects of medication. The problem for me, is that as western, modern individuals we have knowledge. About HIV and prevention, survival, treatment. But we are groping in the dark for a cure. We rely on the dribs and drabs of news that come from the medical world with its talks of a HIV vaccine in the works.. That is hardly enough when faced with the implacable belief in god's will. Who are we with our knowledge but no real answer to the question of cure when faced with unswerving belief? At first, my instinct is to scoff at her “holy water” but faith works in mysterious ways. Even doctors have studied the placebo effect - how one’s own belief can cause your body to heal without chemical effects of medication.

The problem for me, is that as western, modern individuals we have knowledge. About HIV and prevention, survival, treatment. But we are groping in the dark for a cure. We rely on the dribs and drabs of news that come from the medical world with its talks of a HIV vaccine in the works..

That is hardly enough when faced with the implacable belief in god’s will. Who are we with our knowledge but no real answer to the question of cure when faced with unswerving belief?

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Comment on Holy water or Wholly AIDS? by Guest Blogger Tania Khojasteh by <span class="CA_comment_author">Tania</span> http://www.unpackingdevelopment.com/2010/02/10/holy-water-or-wholly-aids-by-guest-blogger-tania-khojasteh/comment-page-1/#comment-854 Tania Thu, 18 Feb 2010 10:46:57 +0000 http://www.unpackingdevelopment.com/?p=672#comment-854 Amin, the workshop finished and I walked away with "confliction and confusion" about the work/workshop I was doing and how effective out HIV/AIDS education was. It's hard to probe discussion on these delicate subjects because people's belief or what I call their "life logic" is at stake. Ultimately that woman's comment was just an example of the kind of responses that I sometimes had in my workshops which led me to thinking about what I said at the bottom of the article about "two logics" clashing - with neither one being better, but just a different approach to life. The question I ask myself is how can one stop an endemic when there is a different "life logic" at work in areas where the disease has so widely spread. How do I, as a well-meaning development worker, effectively work towards stopping the spread of the disease when people's logic that god and family can get you through anything is at work!? How do I do this without emphasizing the role of individualism (in self-protection, standing up for your rights etc), which is contradictory to their life style, and criticized/rejected for being "western" and "modern" concepts? Pedja, you are right that there may never be a "safe middle line", and perhaps there will always be a bias reflected in the change that comes about. The only thing I would add is that as development practitioners, we have to come up with programs that suit the life logic of people (not impose our "beter/educated ways". After all, the way to make effective change is to respect the rationale the local people use to govern their lives - we are no imposing missionaries (albeit receiving similar criticism from "arm chair scholars"). But how does one stop rampant diseases, abuse, oppression while not to a certain degree impose our "scientific/educated/western/modern" ways for which we are harshly and sometimes unfairly judged for by academics (after all there are some good benefits from modern science and the things it can teach us about HIV/AIDS - and it's only fair that everyone has access to this knowldege)? It's certainly not an easy job! I guess in a way I am not just asking a rhetorical question (which I subtly answered in the article), but I am more so pushing for some food for thought on this subject, as I will be writing a bigger article on this topic. Amin, the workshop finished and I walked away with “confliction and confusion” about the work/workshop I was doing and how effective out HIV/AIDS education was. It’s hard to probe discussion on these delicate subjects because people’s belief or what I call their “life logic” is at stake. Ultimately that woman’s comment was just an example of the kind of responses that I sometimes had in my workshops which led me to thinking about what I said at the bottom of the article about “two logics” clashing - with neither one being better, but just a different approach to life. The question I ask myself is how can one stop an endemic when there is a different “life logic” at work in areas where the disease has so widely spread. How do I, as a well-meaning development worker, effectively work towards stopping the spread of the disease when people’s logic that god and family can get you through anything is at work!? How do I do this without emphasizing the role of individualism (in self-protection, standing up for your rights etc), which is contradictory to their life style, and criticized/rejected for being “western” and “modern” concepts?

Pedja, you are right that there may never be a “safe middle line”, and perhaps there will always be a bias reflected in the change that comes about. The only thing I would add is that as development practitioners, we have to come up with programs that suit the life logic of people (not impose our “beter/educated ways”. After all, the way to make effective change is to respect the rationale the local people use to govern their lives - we are no imposing missionaries (albeit receiving similar criticism from “arm chair scholars”). But how does one stop rampant diseases, abuse, oppression while not to a certain degree impose our “scientific/educated/western/modern” ways for which we are harshly and sometimes unfairly judged for by academics (after all there are some good benefits from modern science and the things it can teach us about HIV/AIDS - and it’s only fair that everyone has access to this knowldege)? It’s certainly not an easy job!

I guess in a way I am not just asking a rhetorical question (which I subtly answered in the article), but I am more so pushing for some food for thought on this subject, as I will be writing a bigger article on this topic.

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Comment on Holy water or Wholly AIDS? by Guest Blogger Tania Khojasteh by <span class="CA_comment_author">Amin</span> http://www.unpackingdevelopment.com/2010/02/10/holy-water-or-wholly-aids-by-guest-blogger-tania-khojasteh/comment-page-1/#comment-849 Amin Wed, 17 Feb 2010 22:34:00 +0000 http://www.unpackingdevelopment.com/?p=672#comment-849 Its a good question...I hope someone has an answer for this... I like the holy water analogy...I would like to know what happened after...did you carry on the discussion? Its a good question…I hope someone has an answer for this…
I like the holy water analogy…I would like to know what happened after…did you carry on the discussion?

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