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Author Archives: Laura Freschi

The African Success Story

If there was a theme to the development stories I read last week it was that the good news about rising standards of living on much of the African continent is not getting the recognition it deserves in the mainstream imagination.

In case you don’t agree that people have a negatively skewed image of Africa as a whole, try this experiment: Ask an educated, well-read (but non-Africanist) friend or relative to estimate what percentage of…

Posted in Books and book reviews, In the news, Stereotypes | Tagged , , | 40 Comments

Commemorating the Triangle Fire

Today is the 100th anniversary of the Triangle Shirtwaist Company Fire. 146 people, mainly immigrant women, some as young as 14 years old, died when a fire broke out on the top three floors of a garment factory at the corner of Greene and Washington Place, just off Washington Square Park in New York City.

A year before, the women of Triangle Shirtwaist had led a city-wide strike of 20,000 garment workers…

Posted in History, In the news | 13 Comments

Malaria, past and present

Paul Russell, the main architect of the Malaria Eradication Program, had promised the Eisenhower Administration that the DDT-spray teams would extend a hand of friendship to wavering Cold War allies, revive the entrepreneurial spirit of populations made dull and sickly by malaria, open up huge areas of fertile land for cultivation, pro-mote economic development, end poverty, and spur demand for American products. But the global DDT campaign turned out to be one of the most famous and costly failures in the history of public health. Although by 1970 the

Posted in Books and book reviews, Global health | 13 Comments

Does Japan need your donation?

Many aid bloggers and journalists are doing a good job communicating a nuanced message about how to respond to the devastating earthquake and tsunami in Japan.

From Stephanie Strom, writing in the New York Times:

The Japanese Red Cross…has said repeatedly since the day after the earthquake that it does not want or need outside assistance. But that has not stopped the American Red Cross from raising $34 million through Tuesday afternoon

Posted in Aid policies and approaches, Disaster relief | Tagged , , | 44 Comments

World Vision Super Bowl Shirts: the Final Chapter

Remember back in February when World Vision’s proud announcement that they were sending abroad 100,000 Super Bowl champion T-shirts emblazoned with the name of the losing team, as they have for the last 15 years, provoked aid blogger ire? We’ve been following the controversy—and occasionally piling on joining in—and here’s the latest.

In an email to Aid Watch, World Vision disclosed that total transport and administrative cost per T-shirt…

Posted in Accountability and transparency, Aid debates, Aid policies and approaches | Tagged , , | 19 Comments

The World According to USAID


Higher resolution file here.

This animated cartogram, created  by William and Mary student Ashley Ingram and blogged by Mike Tierney at AidData’s The First Tranche, shows aid flows from the US government to the rest of the world from 1985 to 2008.

To produce these maps, the geographic area of a country is replaced by the dollar value of its aid, so that the size of a country fluctuates from year to year depending on how much money the US sends it for development assistance. At the same time, the countries are shaded lighter or darker according to per capita income levels.

Posted in Aid policies and approaches, Data and statistics | 10 Comments

New location for New Directions in Development

The location of our annual conference- this Friday March 4 from 10 am to 4 pm- has changed! Due to unexpected but welcome demand for conference seats, we’ve moved the venue one block further north to:

The Great Hall at Cooper Union
7 East 7th Street, New York City
Click here for Google Map

The conference is free and open to the public, but pre-registration is required.

Posted in Uncategorized | 5 Comments

Why we’ll always have benevolent autocrats

Last Friday, Bill gave a talk at the School for International and Public Affairs at Columbia.  NYU-Wagner student Christopher Faris summarized the speech over on the Wagner blog, and gives a great run-down of the audience reaction at Columbia:

…Easterly argued that the theory of growth-boosting ‘benevolent autocrats’ (think China’s economic boom) is, at best, not proven and at worst a compelling but flawed idea to which development practitioners hopefully cling – to everyone’s

Posted in Aid debates, Aid policies and approaches, Meta | Tagged , , , | 14 Comments

World Vision responds to blogger questions

Editor’s Note 10:45 am 2/18/2011: Thanks to all the commentators, you really wrote a new post for us today. We have emailed World Vision follow up questions, especially taking them up on their offer to provide examples below. They said they will respond by middle of next week as they get their national offices to respond.

In an email to the communications  department at World Vision, we collected and forwarded a few of the questions…

Posted in Aid policies and approaches | Tagged , , , , , , | 34 Comments

In Zambia, Pittsburgh won the Super Bowl: Why is World Vision perpetuating discredited T-shirt aid?

Editor’s Note 4: 10:45am 2/15: @saundra_s reports there are now 36 bloggers that have posted on this (excluding WV itself or its staffers), of which 35 are against. One more against here from faith perspective. Now have a Twitter hashtag #100kshirts.

Editor’s Note 3: 8:45am 2/15: heard from @WorldVisionUSA finally! got this direct message on Twitter: “Thanks for following WV! For even more opportunities to get involved, check us out on Facebook.”

Editor’s Note

Posted in Aid debates, Aid policies and approaches | Tagged , , , , , , , | 54 Comments