Frequently Asked Questions, Part Two

FAQ #5: Why do you call yourself an aid worker?

I wrote about that here:

FAQ #6: Can I reprint your blog post / link to your blog / cite you in my paper?

Yes, absolutely. This blog is open license. Feel free to reprint entire blog posts anywhere you like. Just please provide a link to the original post, my full name, and the photo credit if you use the picture. (I get most of my pictures from Flickr and I want the original photographers to get credit.)

Link to the blog any time you want. And cite me in your papers if you wish. One note about citations – unless your paper is about social media, using blogs as sources is unlikely to impress your professors, so proceed with caution. Definitely don’t talk about blogs you’ve read in your graduate school personal statement – it will make them think you are an intellectual lightweight.

FAQ #7: How can I get a job in international development? Will you help me?

You can find basic advice in this post.

You can also join the international development careers list.

Finally, check out the great advice at

FAQ #8: How do you pronounce Shaikh?

Shake. My dad Americanized it and we’ve stuck with that. He always used to say “like a milkshake!”

FAQ #9: Can I guest post on your blog? 

No, I don’t use guest posts.

FAQ #10: Can you guest post on my blog?

Probably not. I can barely keep up with the writing I do now. Taking on new projects is really hard. Please go ahead and ask, though. If I can, I will.

…and that’s all of them! Leave a comment if I missed something you want to know.

Frequently Asked Questions

FAQ #1: Will you blog about/fundraise for my project/NGO/social enterprise?

Almost definitely not. I don’t feel comfortable writing about any project I haven’t studied in depth, and I just don’t have time to research everything I get email about. I might tweet a link and let my twitter followers decide for themselves, but that’s really all I feel comfortable doing without investigating.

Keep emailing me anyway, if you want to. It is possible someone will someday email me about a project that hits my current knowledge so precisely that I can research and endorse it with only a little time put in, or that you’ll hit me in a period when I have a lot of time to spare and I can investigate as much as I like.

FAQ #2: Why don’t you write about the places you live?

I do, but it’s very rare. There are a couple reasons. For one, I don’t like travel writing. I don’t like reading it and I don’t like writing it. So it’s pretty unusual for me to feel inspired to do a local texture post or tell you about a travel adventure. The second reason is that I’ve worked in a lot of places with very touchy governments. I don’t want to put my work – or the projects I work for – at risk by possibly offending someone and losing our humanitarian access. My primary job is global health, and this blog comes second. That is reflected in what I choose to write about.

FAQ #3: Can I send you a book to review?

Yes, but I can’t promise to review it. Out of the last six books I have been sent for review, I have managed to review two of them. Of the remaining four, one was Ed Carr’s Delivering Development, which made me think so much I am still struggling to get my thoughts down on paper. It’s not a perfect book, but it’s very valuable and I want to give it the review it deserves. And I’ve been trying since…oh, January 2012 or so. The other three books were one I hated, one I just couldn’t finish even though it was a solid book, and one that depressed me so much I gave it to my mom so she could be depressed instead of me. So, please send your book but I’m not making any promises here.

FAQ #4: Can you speak at my event?

Maybe. Keep in mind I don’t live in the US, so my travel cost isn’t cheap. It’s easier if we can schedule around times when I’ll be in the US anyway. So, email me if you’re interested and we can talk. (