Friday, 9 March 2018

Saferworld photo exhibition in SOAS

Saferworld have installed a photo exhibition in the Development Studies department corridor. It is a series of photographs that accompany some research they are doing in northern Kenya on the way that life has changed for people as the oil trade has affected the region.

The photos provide real insight into the conditions of the oil mining and the social and political context in which it is taking place; what is very apparent is the diversity of experience and interest among the people who are living in what has become a mining area.

A full set of the photos, and more details on the research, can be accessed through the link below.

Thursday, 1 March 2018

Aid, authoritarianism and how it all plays out

Last week I went to Oxford to give a talk to the Oxford Central Africa forum. I was presenting a chapter that I wrote for Tobias Hagmann and Filip Reyntjens' 2016 book "Aid and Authoritarianism in Africa."
It was really fun to meet the DPhil students and others who came to the seminar, and to hear about their research. The issues surrounding aid and governance are played out in so many different ways, and surrounded by a host of different narratives. At the centre of the discussion is what aid is for and how it achieves its stated  aims. The observation of the editors of the book, and many of the contributors, is that aid is often used to shore up the power of authoritarian leaders who are able to impose an agenda that produces positive development indicators, and who violently suppress opposition to their continued power.
A side-line to the discussion concerned the scandal that is currently shaking Oxfam, as we were considering the role of public opinion in aid provision. It is interesting to reflect on how the actions of errant individuals within an organisation are judged - publicly - more harshly than organisational policy that has fortified abusive leaders, and that has completely failed populations in Syria and Yemen, to cite just two examples.

Oxford, always worth a visit :)

State-sanctioned sexual violence against women in the Egyptian revolution

Following from last week's post, this is another video submitted as a piece of group work by some of last year's MSc VCD students....