This site is the space where I can reflect on Development. There are two kinds of Development:

The first is Western efforts to transfer some resources and skills to the so called Third World, these efferts include the World Bank, EU and most large NGO’s. It is the development that authors like Rist, Esteva and other ‘post-development’ scholars attack as the problem for global poverty and inequality. This is the hand-out model even if it speaks of empowerment.

Then there is what I call for myself naive or ‘real’ development. Development that brings people closer together, in all aspects. Here Freire and Sen are good examples of scholars who try to address real issues.  Sen for example says that development is “the freedom to choose to live the life that you might have reason to value”. Not so easy to apply that to the beggar at the traffic light or the blanket donation…

One of the central themes I engage with is that of power. When there are “have’s” and “have not’s” there is inevitable power imbalances. What gives you power? Vocabulary, general knowledge, education, money, skills, friends, etc… The poor are often powerless and the way they get ‘helped’ seldom address issues of power. As a rich person I have to deal with my power. If I don’t, my helping will hurt.

Development needs money, but development is not about money. Development is about all of us learning not to be [insert bad language], let’s just say: learning not to be unpleasant and bad people. It is about fun and if all parties are not having fun, you’re probably doing it the wrong way.

I cannot and should not separate my personal journey from my academic and vocational journey. The moment these areas are split, I have lost the notion of authentic development. The private and public, the personal and professional has to operate in harmony for help not to harm.

The distinction between giver and recipient is false, even ironic.


In all the blogs on this page I will share and unpack my experiences and try and relate them to development theory. There will be a few categories to make searching and reading easy: anecdotal (interesting stories from the field) theoretical (talking about books and opinions) propositional (exploring ways to do things differently) and correctional (showing whats wrong)

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