Posted by: | 2nd Dec, 2010

Baby Massages in Cambodia

I found this to be a really bizarre concept and so I looked it up. It seems like “Heart Touch” is the biggest NGO in the baby-massage field.

This is a fundraising website for someone going to Cambodia to massage babies.

More importantly, I just wanted to say again that this class was both thought-provoking and a lot of fun. I will miss it!


Posted by: | 28th Nov, 2010

Kitengesa Community Library!

Hi everyone!

I’m pretty sure I mentioned that I’m going to Uganda in January to work with a literacy project in rural Uganda with Go Global ISL – Daniel did this before me! I found out today that I’m going to Kitengesa, the first community library project begun in Uganda! I’m super excited to go and I really do believe that this is an amazing project; community libraries can be more than just our version of a library; they’re community centres, places of learning, and an amazing way to promote literacy and education! It opens up so many opportunities for people to learn how to read and enjoy reading, which opens so many doors and is so important to education, and I think that since last week we all agreed that education was really important in post-conflict settings, I thought I’d share what this project is sort of about!

Kitengesa Community Library was featured on BBC News; it’s a little off I’m sure but you guys can get the jist of it! Here’s also the library’s website so you can see what it’s all about!

Enjoy everyone! =)


Posted by: | 26th Nov, 2010

Former Nigerian Finance Minister on aid

Here’s an interesting TED talk from Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, the former finance minister of Nigeria, speaking on the importance of using aid productively in Africa. In particular, she makes note of the donor coordination problem that is plaguing the aid world and leading to a good deal of aid misallocation on the continent. It’s interesting to note that what she’s saying doesn’t seem to run contrary to the arguments made by Dambisa Moyo; she argues that aid can currently be used in a productive way that will relatively quickly reduce reliance on it. Rather than being used as a humanitarian band-aid, aid can help alleviate the pathologies currently hindering African development until the ‘virtuous cycle’ positive feedback loop of economic development can cover for the aid and even reduce the need for funding allocations in those areas. She takes an infrastructure based approach to aid investment that also hints at the end about the utility to expanding business (presumably through means such as microfinancing or start-up grants), particularly among female Africans who are often neglected from the development agenda as active agents, and who can be viewed as a relatively untapped economic and social resource.

Posted by: | 22nd Nov, 2010


I just read this article….apparently the ICC is proceeding with the trial against Jean-Pierre Bemba (former vice prez of DRC). This is the most high profile case currently and is being used as a bench mark for the credibility of the ICC in the future.

It will be interesting to see how it pans out. It would have been a good case study for us to use had the verdict been reached earlier.


Theme: Health and Development in Post-Conflict Societies

Case Study Country: Cambodia


1) Verhoeve:

A straight forward reading on education in Cambodia.  Think about the importance of education and the implications of a (mis)representation of history, gender and culture.

2) Hughes and Pupavac:

A big picture view on the pathologisation of post-conflict states.  This is a very thought-provoking article that questions the way we perceive post-conflict societies in the first place.  Reflect on instances where you have encountered the pathologisation of conflict or post-conflict states.

3) Zimmer et al.

An investigation into a demographic of society not usually addressed apart from other high-risk groups: the elderly. This another example of quantitative analysis for a social science phenomenon, so don’t stress yourself out trying to understand the methodologies in details. Look for the big picture; the implications, themes, and research findings.

Discussion Questions:

1. How has the pathologisation of post-conflict societies affected the decisions of policy makers and leaders on all levels (local, national, international)? Do you subscribe to their argument?

2. What are some possible solutions to the plight of the elderly in post-conflict Cambodia?

3. What are some contradictions found in the Cambodian education system? How can these be addressed?


  • Alex Budden has asked for some feedback regarding his talk. Please think about aspects you enjoyed and/or aspects or topics you would have preferred to discuss/not discuss.
  • Please remember NOT to write your name down on the 2 hard copies of the news article report and the 2 hard copies of the news article itself.


– Amber and Julia

Posted by: | 20th Nov, 2010

SDS Potluck!

As promised, here is a post to sort out what each person can bring to the SDS for our last class on November 30. It’s hard to believe that it’s ending so soon!

Please comment below and indicate what you want to bring so we don’t end up with 15 kinds of dip. 🙂

(just a note that there is a microwave in the global lounge but no oven)

I haven’t decided what I want to bring yet so I’ll comment soon!

Posted by: | 18th Nov, 2010

Terror’s Advocate

This was the movie I was talking about in class if anyone is interested. This man defended tons of war criminals and is really proud of himself.

Posted by: | 17th Nov, 2010

Indian Microfinance Trouble

This is an interesting article on the microfinance industry in India, which is now on the verge of collapse due to widespread defaulting. It seems that many microfinance companies began to treat these loans as a profit oriented venture, instead of as a development assistance program. As a result, companies began predatory lending practices, resulting in a similar backlash to the US sub-prime lending crisis.

This case study is important; this could have serious implications for the future of the entire microcredit industry. It also serves as a reminder of the dangers of lack of regulation in development practices. Microcredit by its own right is not necessarily problematic; for example, Peru has generally been seen as a country that has benefited from microcredit programs in terms of increased quality of life. The difference between Peru and the current problem in India is that the role of predatory lending institutions has become exaggerated in India as the industry has become more affluent. Perhaps the lesson to be learned here is that, if microcredit is to be seen as part of a development agenda, then it should be channeled through centralized international authorities and/or subject to much stricter international regulations regarding to whom loans can be extended and at what interest rates, which should be fixed according to pragmatic concerns, and not profit concerns.

Posted by: | 15th Nov, 2010

Bosnia – a little late!

I thought I had posted this but I just realized I didn’t. This article explains a lot more eloquently what Breanna and I talked about last week.

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