A Canopy of Hope

By Tim Jackson

The slopes of Mount Kenya, in the district of Nyeri in Kenya, were once scattered with hundreds of wild fig trees called mugumos in the local (Kikuyu) language. Their tough bark was the colour of elephant skin. Their gnarled roots drilled deep channels through the rocky earth to drink thirstily from the groundwater below. The trees bore a small round fruit which ripened in the sun to a warm orange colour. And their branches were alive with the song of the tinkerbirds and turacos who feasted there. Continue reading “A Canopy of Hope”

On Coloniality/Decoloniality in Knowledge Production and Societies

By Henning Melber

Social organisations tend to be based on asymmetric power relations – almost always, almost everywhere. Inequality characterises interaction both inside and in between societies. Class-based hierarchies, peppered by gender imbalances, sexism, racism, xenophobia, homophobia and many other forms of discrimination are the order of the day, both nationally as well as internationally. Continue reading “On Coloniality/Decoloniality in Knowledge Production and Societies”

Advocacy in Fragile Contexts

By Margit van Wessel

There is a lot of interest in advocacy in the development sector. It is commonly accepted that projects in themselves are poorly geared to tackling structural causes of problems like poverty and injustice, and advocacy is taken by many as a necessary for addressing these structural causes.

However, despite all the interest in localization, and the acceptance that many important changes need to take place at country level rather than only in the Global North or international levels, there is little attention to how advocacy works in different national and sub-national contexts – the contexts in which many ‘partner organizations’ work. Continue reading “Advocacy in Fragile Contexts”

How Not To Go ‘Back To Normal’ After COVID-19: Planning For Post-Neoliberal Development

By Giuseppe Feola, Bram Büscher, Andrew Fischer and Martijn Koster

COVID-19 has shaken the world. Early emergency responses across the world led to drastic changes in local and global development trajectories within a very short period of time, from food insecurity, schooling and gender inequality, to debt and employment crises in much of the Global South, among other changes. A year on and despite the rollout of vaccines in many countries, it remains to be seen whether the pandemic will dissipate; not least because of the starkly unequal distribution of vaccines within and across countries, which is ethically reprehensible and epidemiologically unsound. Given this deep rupture to pre-COVID-19 business-as-usual and the severe adjustments that continue to be made, it is clear that we will not get ‘back to normal’ any time soon, if ever. Nor indeed should we. But how not to go back to normal? Continue reading “How Not To Go ‘Back To Normal’ After COVID-19: Planning For Post-Neoliberal Development”

State and Development: What Has Changed in India?

By Anthony P. D’Costa

Lately the Indian state under the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP or Indian People’s Party) has attracted a lot of attention. Aside from its divisive, populist Hindu-chauvinist politics, the government under Modi has unleashed an array of programs and projects, ostensibly designed to lead to a “new” united and prosperous India. Alas, the Citizenship Amendment Act, the poorly thought-out demonetization program, and the draconian nationwide lockdown during the corona virus pandemic did not unite India or make it prosperous. Continue reading “State and Development: What Has Changed in India?”