Blog round-up

Ethan Zuckerman is talking about Carl Bernstein and the “The best obtainable version of the truth.”

Kevin’s got some links to the international food aid conference coming up.

Leo Africanus would like to point out that the Masai do not belong in zoos.

And Naamen Gobert Tilahum posted about some Hanes underwear ads that are just so breathtakingly mean that I can’t even find words for them.

Ten Thousand Girls

This is a genuinely heartwarming article about a girls’ school in Senegal. It makes me want to send them a big wad of money right this second. I bet, though, that the big wad of cash would do more harm than good. The resource constraint keeps them growing at a rate where they can maintain the same high quality. A big expansion all at once would require management and training in a whole new way from the education cottage-industry structure they have now.

The cynic in me is looking for the flaw in this school. Where’s the dark side? How can it be this simple? I want it to be true, though.

Further googling reassures me. It’s really not simple at all, which makes it better and more likely to be real and replicable. Viola Vaughn has a PhD, and 10,000 girls has been fundraising in the US for quite some time. She was nominated for the CNN Heroes Award by Amy Meyer, a consultant to nonprofits. She is not just a grandmother who started teaching girls; she is the executive director of a nonprofit, the Women’s Health Education and Prevention Strategic Alliance (WHEPSA), which is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit. 10,000 Girls is one of its projects. They don’t have their financials on the web, but their list of donors and volunteers makes them look pretty small-scale.

Edited to Add: Further consideration has led me to conclude that first paragraph was overtaken by events. If 10,000 Girls is a project implemented by WHEPSA, then they probably have a scalable plan ready to go once they receive funding. Dr. Vaughn has been traveling heavily in the US to raise those funds. So go ahead and send a big wad of cash. Just do some research first.

Dual Economies

Expats clearly distort the market in the countries they inhabit. The labor market for example, and the fancy restaurants. Distressingly often, the commercial sex workers. Chris Blattman has a nice post up on the phenomenon. He also links to a UN report on the macroeconomic consequences of peacekeeping missions. I haven’t read the report yet, but I plan to.

The Business of Development

This blog, Development Industry, is

about Development business, its uses and abuses; the distortions that it can cause and the occasional impact that it may bring about.

The Development Industry is big and powerful; and is well intentioned. But it is not without its failings nor devoid of hypocrisy….

It’s a lot of links and not too much original content, but they are interesting links and I like the bitter and questioning perspective. I think I’ll put it on my blog round-up.