These are some of the views and reports relevant to our readers that caught our attention this week.
A Bottle of Water in Brazzaville
“Lately, I have been thinking of how best to talk about something that happened last year in Brazzaville, the capital of the Republic of Congo, where I was traveling, with support from the State Department, as part of a delegation of writers from the University of Iowa’s International Writing Program.
It involved a young man and a bottle of water. I had the bottle of water and the young man didn’t. I had spent the afternoon in the company of this young man, who was a participant in a writing workshop I had co-taught for a few hours in a hot, stuffy room. I had spoken directly to the young man and he had spoken directly to me.” READ MORE
Who Will the Next Billion Internet Users Be?
“From our calendars to our bank statements to our social lives, we live online. Internet has so permeated our culture that it's hard to imagine a world without memes, Facebook or email.
Across the globe, 2.4 billion people are Internet users, a number that is expected to grow to 2.7 billion by the end of 2013. This expansion of the Internet shrinks the globe, bringing brands closer to new audiences in new areas.
So who will these next users be? Where will they come from? And what sort of engagement can your brand expect from them? This infographic from InternetServiceProviders.org can provide some insight.” READ MORE
The Impact of Transparency and Accountability Initiatives
Development Policy Review
“This issue of Development Policy Review arises from a study of the impact and effectiveness of transparency and accountability initiatives (TAIs) in different development sectors. It analyses existing evidence, discusses how approaches to learning about TAIs might be improved, and recommends how impact and effectiveness could be enhanced.” READ MORE
Is social media paving the way for environmental journalism?
“On Monday, Times Live reported that a new ‘happy pill’, Zembrin, made from a Namaqualand plant, could be used to relieve tension and anxiety. In less than 10 hours after publication on the website the story had over 32 shares, 19 tweets, seven likes, and two favourites. By mid-afternoon it was the ‘most clicked’ story on Twitter.
The debate about the use of social media in journalism has been running since about the time Facebook was launched in 2004. Is it or is it not okay to rely on social media to report on social issues? Safety, Health & Environmental Officer at Rhodes University, Nikki Kohly, says that although social media have great potential to raise awareness on environmental issues, ‘it is quite easy to fool oneself into thinking that just because you have hit a button on a computer or smartphone, that you have ‘done your bit’ to save the world.’” READ MORE
2013 Youth Photo Competition Winners
“THEME: Illustrate the negative effects that corruption has on your world.” READ MORE
Can Governance Indicators Make Sense? Towards a New Approach to Sector-Specific Measures of Governance
Oxford Development Studies
“Governance indicators have come under fire in recent years, especially the World Governance Indicators. Critics present these indicators as atheoretical and biased. Critics of the critics counter that no better alternatives exist. The authors suggest otherwise, arguing that more appropriate “governance” indicators will: have theoretical grounding; focus on specific fields of engagement; emphasize outcomes; and control for key contextual differences in comparing countries. Such constructs can help indicate where countries seem to have governance problems, allowing second-stage analyses of where and what these problems are; they do not directly point to the presence or nature of problems or provide a measure of the governance concept. Under-5 mortality rates adjusted for country income groups are shown as an example of such a measure, and data presented for contextually compared outcomes in this specific field to show where governance seems better and worse. The USA is shown up as relatively weak, whereas a country such as Pakistan seems to have better governance in this sector than other low-income countries. The indicator has its weaknesses and is partly presented as an illustrative example of a new approach, but also allows questions about why governance of this sector might be problematic in certain contexts and easier in others.” READ MORE