Monday | 21 April, 2008

Ironies of Rural Development Intervention

A story told by a researcher recently returned from Afghanistan, working on a development program. Here he is asking people in a village:
"How often do you clean out your irrigation channel?"
"Every time the NGO pays us."
"Well, when did they last pay you?"
"Two years ago."
"How often did you clean the irrigation channel before the NGO arrived to work in the region?"
"Every year."
Apocryphal as the story may be, it still is a wonderful illustration of how interventions can change the local calculus, substituting for local effort and thereby leading to bizarre, unanticipated distortions. That theme is probably relevant to many rural development programs across the region. If you have any similar stories, let us know.
03.04.2014 | Thursday

Alternating Pasts, Changing Futures

Note: This blog is re-posted from the MYPLACE project's blog. The original MYPLACE blog can be found here

Claims to 2000 or even 3000 years of nationhood are not difficult to find in Georgia as has been amply documented (see Pelkmans 2006, Suny 1994, Rayfield 2013). The former president Mikheil Saakashvili was even fond of using the earliest human skulls found outside of Africa, in Dmansi in Southern Georgia, as proof that Georgians were “ancient Europeans.” 
24.09.2008 | Wednesday

Baku's Urban Change | Commentary and Photography

Interested in urban development? Want to know how outsiders describe the urban experience of Baku? Two young researchers from Germany have set up a blog to follow their project in tracking changes in Baku. Oriana Kraemer and Sebastian Burger take photographs, attend lectures, and comment on what they observe. Given the inflow of sudden wealth, Baku witnesses comprehensive change. A great project, therefore.