• Monday, September 1, 2014
  • A program of IPS Inter Press Service supported by the Dutch MDG3 Fund

    A Babel of Jargon

    31 Dec 2009


    Photo by Beralpo, Wikimedia Commons

    A collective indigestion of jargon. Photo by Beralpo, Wikimedia Commons

    My friend is looking for a job. He finds an ad of the US-based Mercy Corps and calls me for a translation. The ad is in English – sort of – but he can’t figure out what it is about:

    “Invitation for a consultancy in conducting a training on enhancing facilitation skills of development practitioners of livelihood enhancement programs.”

    What does this text mean exactly, except that we have a collective indigestion of development jargon from NGOs and the UN, from academics and politicians, and that the media is complicit in this masquerading of long words as substance?  More »

    HAPPY BIRTHDAY, CEDAW!

    18 Dec 2009


    Ask the woman sitting next to you in the bus, train, plane, taxi-brousse or donkey cart what is CEDAW, and most probably you will draw a blank look. C’est quoi?

    Yet CEDAW – Convention of the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women – has likely impacted on her life and her daughters, if she has any, in many ways, from pension and inheritance rights to the passport they hold.

    Quilt made by women of Kyrgztan. (Unifem)

    Quilt made by women of Kyrgztan. (Unifem)

    CEDAW, which was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly 30 years ago today, is the global Bill of Rights for Women, the first international human rights treaty devoted to gender equality.

    Through its 30 articles, CEDAW has boosted women’s rights worldwide in many ways.

    More »

    Breakthrough for Women at the UN

    18 Sep 2009


    Guest blogger:  Ann Ninan, IPS Gender Editor

    Is there room for us as well? M. Sayagues

    A breakthrough for us as well? M. Sayagues

    The UN has finally decided to stand up for women!  A decision to create a new agency for women was taken by the General Assembly on September14.

    Our colleague Thalif Deen, IPS bureau chief in New York, was the first and only journalist to report it for the first several hours.

    But this blog is not to crow about our scoop.

    I’m quite excited by the prospect of a new women’s agency with money and political power. No longer will the world’s feminists have to lobby from the outside to put their views on the table. They have now won admission to the high table.

    Any one of those bright, articulate, activist women can emerge to lead the agency. The reality is likely to be less rosy. But chances are that, because it’s new, it will be less under the thumb of the old boy network.

    You think I’m a romantic? What the hell, there is no harm in dreaming, is there?  More »

    Missing the Point? A critical review of MDG

    14 Sep 2009


    Next time you read a story or a press release moaning about how country X will not reach the Millennium Development Goals, think twice – whose goal and whose target is it? We know the deadline but do we know the baseline?

    Instead of striking a balance between ambition and realism, the MDGs have become “money-metric and donor-centric”, “meaningless catch-all phrases.”

    So says Jan Vandemoortele, a Belgian national, a United Nations senior official and one of the architects of the MDGs, in a thought-provoking article in the July issue of  Development Policy Review of the Overseas Development Institute. (read it here)

    Unrealistic? A crowded classrom in Guinea Bissau...

    Unrealistic goal? A crowded classroom in Guinea Bissau...

    The author recalls that the MDGs were set up in 2000 as collective targets based on extrapolations of global trends.  They are vague by definition; they are not one-size-fits-all.

    Instead, one should look at countries’ historical backgrounds, natural endowments and specific problems, then adapt the Goals to each circumstance, as Mozambique, Cambodia and Ethiopia have done.

    Otherwise, this puts undue pressure on the poorest countries and, given that most of these are in Africa, nurtures Afro-pessimism.

    For example, the global target for education “is not realistic” for countries in conflict, he says.                              More »

    Getting the UN into GEAR!

    17 Aug 2009


    By Sharon Bhagwan Rolls, founding coordinator,  femLINKPACIFIC
    Contributing blogger

    Sharon Bhagwan Rolls

    Sharon Bhagwan Rolls

    Getting into GEAR! What does this really mean in a Pacific Island state, surrounded by an ocean rising rather too quickly, that some of us are thinking about getting into gear before it becomes a sink or swim situation?

    Does it mean we switch from paddling our own canoes at the pace known as “Pacific time” to powering our way into the future with the assistance of fuel guzzling outboard engines?

    And as we rapidly negotiate our way through the waters, will we be protected by life jackets should there be any mishaps along the way?

    More »