Monday, April 7, 2014

Rich man teaching a poor man resilience, only the UN and Western NGOs in Africa!!



Now, how does someone who earns few thousand dollars tax free a month, lives in a cushy apartment in Westlands, Nairobi, on an international medical insurance, goes to the "field/Mogadishu" once in a while under heavy military escort and takes fully paid 3 times a year "rest and recuperation" break, teach someone who has endured 20+ years civil war or even born and raised in a civil war, resilience?! I have heard of a lot of pretentious and dumb ideas come out of the UN/NGOs but the concept of privileged white people teaching "poor Africans" resilience is just amazing! The UN and Western NGOs working on Somalia could learn about resilience by moving their over-funded offices to Mogadishu and stay put for just a year without an RnR, to see if they will still talk about resilience with a straight face.

8 comments:

  1. Oh I believe there are also black people teaching poor Africans.

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  2. Very well noted! However, doesn't resilience programming normally start with Participatory Rural Appraisals or otherwise getting qualitative/quantitative data from the community about how that community 'thinks' it can best be resilient in the face of natural or human made disasters? Its less about 'teaching' resilience and more about providing a range of support (ie, programs) that can reduce shocks on those communities. Perhaps you will remember a recent famine whereby a couple hundred thousand people died in the Horn? I think aid orgs (and donors!) considered that they were not doing aid smart enough for the context, and thus wanted to better help those communities. Not to say resilience programming will work! But i think your 'postcard' is a misguided jab at programming that is actually trying to be smarter and more in tune with communities. Meanwhile - please tell me the organization that gives 3 RRs per year from Nairobi, if they really exist!! That's fantastic!! Sign me up! (NB: I have never done resilience work, and it sounds like you haven't either...)

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  3. And yes, JKE it would be interesting to see a breakdown of nationalities (including how many "privileged whites") working in Somalia/on Somalia issues. Most I know are not those seemingly naive and perhaps nasty privileged "whites" of which the author speaks. They are hard working, caring, and committed Somalis (!!!), or folks from the region with language skills and cultural connections.

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  5. Lol@Hard working, committed Somalis on the ground! You mean the underpaid foot soldiers for Western NGOs, whose "experts" at senior level and well paid, are more than 90% white and based in Nairobi? Why don't you list the number of Western NGOs working on Somalia with senior, decision-making level Somalis and see if they are more than 10? And that is me being optimistic.

    As for the reference to the thousands of Somalis who died during the 2012 famine, what are the improved programmings that have been introduced beyond giving IDPs cash? I like words like "doing aid better and in tune with communities". They sound grand in reports and brainstorming sessions in Nairobi but hardly translate into practical programmes on the ground which have a real impact. Until those decisions are made for are part of the decision making process, ridiculous ideas like "resilience" will be the norm. But don't let this little post disrupt the illusion of doing better, carry on.

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  6. So,
    Fatima always making sense lol. What's new? The audacity kills me too! The nerve of them. I always think for someone to do something like that...the balls on them...the nerve...the gall...are you for real?! I'm not sure what to make of people like that. All I can do is shake my head. Or write about it :)

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  7. Blah blah blah. So what is your solution other than diatribe and polemic? Your question was about "whites teaching" Somalis. While it is true that internationals often make up high levels of senior management (not whites!) - the participation aspect of programming in places like Somalia - ie, the information that feeds into decision making (not 'teaching'!) - is carried out by Somalis. And i would guess, that whilst those field staff don't get paid like Sr Management, they probably make quite a bit of money compared to the average Somali...anyway, continue with your polemic. It's quite funny!

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  8. Resilience would be fine if there is a lot of listening going on and the aid agencies look to leverage to build up what is already happening. Should not be top down and should be also be inconvenient (such as for example, doing what they can do ensure that remittances are still allowed)

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