Writing intermittently on life, politics, and society

Archive for April, 2011

World Development Report

Peeped the World Bank’s World Development Report for 2011. It’s being considered a significant development by people I know in the humanitarian field because the report seems to indicate a move from “just infrastructure and capacity building” to addressing the deleterious effects of violent conflict on development the field has long called attention to. Better writers have expressed some of my thinking on the report, so I’ll spare you my iffy prose.

I hope to  talk to the bosses about the organisation’s current role in assisting state actors with building the kinds of coalitions, mentioned in the report, required to bridge problems of low trust between societal groups and between the state and society. I think that’s a place where they’re keen on increasing the organisation’s presence.



So, I’ve been in India for about three weeks or so. Many of my initial impressions can be found here. I’ve been too busy, with work and the unenviable task of getting set up – more on that later, to follow much in the way of politics, things were less hectic in the office today and I managed to catch news of David Cameron’s speech on immigration.

It’s interesting that it comes just as his government is receiving a drubbing on the plans for the NHS – I’ve been given to understand they want to introduce some of the worst elements of the worst system of healthcare in the developed world. I’m definitely giving this speech the side-eye. It doesn’t appear to be much more than Cameron wagging his fingers at immigrants and the Labour party for the kind of social breakdown that Con-Dem policies will likely produce.

Anyway, I was supposed to be talking about India. Yes, setting up here has been a real hassle. What has fascinated me most is the feeling that I managed to get more done, in less time, with low language proficiency, in Japan than in India, a country with about 200 years of experience with the British, and where everyone I’ve had to deal with has spoken English.

That being said I think the biggest hassles (phone, internet, apartment, foreign residents registry) are out of the way and my apartment is slowly transforming into a somewhere that isn’t just a place to sleep. With any luck I’ll be able to make friends and get a life. Perhaps that will mitigate my intermittent feelings of loneliness and longing for my lost love.

As for work, the Director has been very ill so that has caused quite a bit of upheaval in the office. The second and third mates have been going flat out, but it’s been all hands on deck for the last couple of weeks. All in all I’m excited to be here. My understanding is that the Indian context is still hostile to the concept of conflict resolution, but my organisation is getting a lot more interest now than in the past. Western peacebuilding organisations appear excited about what we’re doing and I’m looking forward to building new networks and partnerships, as well as the challenge of developing my programmes. Fell deeds await.