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A Bed for the Night: Humanitarianism in Crisis (2003)

15 Apr


Many of the topics and posts on this blog may come off to be rather cynical of humanitarian projects. The purpose however, is not to dismiss international development projects altogether, but rather to create more critical discussion and dialogue on the models being used and implemented. We recognize that the majority of development projects begin with good intentions, yet there are many cases where these projects further perpetuate issues in the target community and are ineffective due to a lack of awareness and thought. Reading a wide selection of work that have criticized development and volunteer projects may open one’s mind to analyze situations and issues from many different angles whether you agree or disagree with the author.

A Bed for the Night, by David Rieff may be a challenging read however, he explains his frustration at the limitations of humanitarianism in our society today. He investigates the gap between the norms of the human rights movement and the unpleasant reality of the humanitarian crises in Bosnia, Rwanda, Kosovo and Afghanistan.


Schooling the World: The White Man’s Last Burden (2010)

2 Apr

“In a world with extreme imbalances of power and wealth, the more powerful partner in the cultural exchange sometimes embeds deep – often unconscious – assumptions of its own superiority, and then projects the assumption of inferiority onto the weaker partner.   When development agencies, NGO’s, missionary societies, and volunteer groups travel to traditional cultures in order to “help” them, it powerfully reinforces the assumption of the superiority of the developed nations and the inferiority of traditional societies.  This can undermine people’s self-respect at a deep level.”- Schooling the World.

Here is an intriguing documentary titled, Schooling the World, which brings to question the historic and future impact of developed nations such as the United States, taking on the role of educators for children in indigenous cultures in the developing world.

It opens your eyes on the education development programs being implemented in developing countries. Many have criticized these programs for executing carbon- cut and widespread education models, failing to take into account indigenous knowledge and traditional values which ultimately has negative socio-economic effects in the community.  Is it really the “White Man’s Burden”? What do you think? Is it effective? Who is it actually helping??

22 Must-Read Updates to Social Media for Social Good: A How-To Guide for Nonprofits

30 Mar


Which demographic use Social Media

26 Mar

Camfed, one of the organizations we researched and critiqued, does a great job with their social media. Social media has such an impact on our society, as we are surrounded by it. Here are some cool stats that we found on Camfed’s Pinterest account!

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TED talk – The way we think about charity is dead wrong

24 Mar

TED talk – The way we think about charity is dead wrong

This TED talk to is worth taking a look at. Dan Pollotta emphasizes the significance of involvement. Sponsors want to show their support beyond financial contributions but active involvement as well. We also believe that involvement is important, as partnerships should be made between organizations and existing local communities as well as their sponsors.

Why a blog?

11 Mar

Our blog seeks to inform the global north, specifically those going abroad on humanitarian trips, about harmful assumptions that create unequal power relations between the ‘donor’ and ‘recipient’ countries. These assumptions are visible in the policies and language of many development programs. We hope to provide suggestions for an alternative model of educational programs, encouraging a dialogue between the global north and south, and centered around the importance of creating partnerships as opposed to approaches that implement solutions based on Western ideals alone.