Deepening The Data With More Voices: Invitation for in-depth interviews
Deepening the data with more voices Where you might come in We are entering the next phase of our AidWorkVoices project and again need your help, this time from a few of you who want or may be wiling to share your stories. One of the most interesting nuggets to come from the survey data thus far are the thoughts you’ve had about identity. In the post “You are as you are seen” many of our respondents–you–wrestled with exactly that: how you are seen by those around you matters on many levels. Many of you believe that the way you are seen (for example: young, white, attractive Western female) has an impact on your overall effectiveness. A second impact is that on the self concept of the aid worker: how she or he feels about her or himself. Our goal at this particular stage is to deepen the data with more…Read More
So, about last week…
So, last week The Guardian online ran an article in the Global Development Professionals Network section, in which the authors sort of rambled on about the importance of discussing the sex lives of humanitarians. Yes, you read that right. A research fellow and an adviser at the Institute of Development Studies (IDS) want to have a little chat about aid worker sex lives–that is, our sex lives. On the outside chance that you missed their arousing discussion, check it out. Yeah, yeah. Aid worker notoriety vis-a-vis all things sexual is legendary. I don’t think there’s any other aspect of the aid worker experience that is more commonly or gleefully portrayed in pop culture remakes of our allegedly exciting lives than our sexuality. From the apocryphal Emergency Sex, to the far-fetched tale of a UK housewive-turned-UNICEF warrior for the poor, to any one of several flaccid attempts to capture the aid worker experience as prime-time television drama,…Read More
Yes, a snapshot can be useful…
…but there is so much more being offered by many respondents. As I read though the many responses to the various open ended questions on the survey many patterns emerge. One pattern is that many people will qualify their statements and add critical context. Here are just three examples that came in response to the question about corruption [“Please use the space below to elaborate on the questions above related to corruption.”]: In the organisation, it is bloated with money and many people simply gorge at the trough of development aid. I am thankfully removed from this in my field, I have little reason to interact with others in my organisation. I do see the old boys network everywhere, the British upper middle classes in particular seem to have taken over other organisations, such as parts of the UN for example. Corruption is endemic to the human condition however. Regarding…Read More
More voices coming soon….
Non-English versions of the survey coming soon Though I don’t have any firm numbers to go by, a quick scan of available data is that English is not the first language of most humanitarian aid workers. While it is a fact of life that the default language of many (most?) organizations in the aid world industry is English (with French coming in a very strong second), of the over 300,000 aid and development workers globally I’ll repeat: for most English is at best a second language. This fact is perhaps reflected in our data in that we have attracted a very small number of local aid workers: Our main goal in taking on this project was to provide a space for more discussion about the lives and views of aid workers and so, toward…Read More