Welcome to a series of posts on international development, social entrepreneurship and information and communication technology for development (ICT4D) with a focus on Africa.
Over the past six months, I have been working with an international development organization called the Aga Khan Foundation (AKF). It has really been a sudden change of pace. Previously, I was freelancing, studying, or interning with small organizations such as the Women of Uganda Network based in Kampala. I have now joined the machinery of global international development and I have a lot to learn and reflect on.
Over the past few months, the debate over the merits of international development and aid-delivery has been raging. During the Munk Debates sponsored by the Toronto Globe and Mail, Dambisa Moyo, Hernando de Soto, Paul Collier and Stephen Lewis argued both merits and flaws.
While each "side" offers valid and experienced insight, I now realize that the issue is far more nuanced than we are often led to believe. International development and aid are not something one can simply write-off as inefficient and hampering the African economy (as Moyo largely does in her book, Dead Aid). At the same time, one cannot overlook projects that make the recipients dependent on help and do little to actually help a community thrive.
Therefore, this blog will focus on a variety of development approaches that are fostering economic and social change on different scales: specific development interventions funded by AKF and other larger development organizations, small-scale social entrepreneurship projects started by brave individuals, and new technology that is essentially changing the face of ICT4D.
By focusing on positive initiatives in international development, this blog will help readers understand - on a more personal and engaged level - the purpose of development in different forms and the impact certain projects can have on the well-being of a community. Of course, there will also be a fair amount of critique of the practice of development and aid.
Suggestions and comments from readers are more than welcome. Together, we can spark a dialogue that will help the next generation improve the practices of international development and aid.