An enduring remnant of colonialism is the notion that global development challenges are confined to the poorer countries in the Global South. The profound human development challenges in countries with higher levels of material wealth are on full display as the United States struggles with its painful history and current reality of racial injustice against people of color. The disproportionate impact that COVID-19 is having on poor communities and people of color exposes the reality that global development challenges are indeed universal.
In just four months, the COVID-19 pandemic has taken a dramatic toll on economies and institutions around the world, and the number of new cases, economic dislocation and deaths continues to mount. Decades of progress raising living standards and reducing extreme poverty could be replaced by increasing food insecurity, conflict and forced migration.
I recorded this episode of A Deeper Look podcast with Sam Worthington, Chief Executive Officer of InterAction, before the World Health Organization had declared COVID-19 a global pandemic. But, the crisis amplifies the relevance and urgency of the themes we discussed in this episode.
Sam highlights trends that will shape this decade, including the emergence of fragile states as the epicenter of extreme poverty in the world, the impact of climate change and its effects on the most vulnerable and the concerning rise of nationalism and isolationism. We discuss the role of women in bringing about positive change, the evolution and impact of civil society and the concept of localization.
How do evolving security challenges shape the way that the military and the global development community work in the same spaces to address human needs?
In this episode of A Deeper Look podcast, I speak with retired Lieutenant General David Barno about military involvement in development. We discuss lessons learned from General Barno’s experience in Afghanistan, address the threat of non-state actors and describe the different doctrines that influence the military’s tactics. We discovered that seeing the communities where we serve as the center of gravity of our operations creates many similarities in how we think about achieving positive, sustainable change, such as the importance of listening to people, the requirement for country ownership and the centrality of good governance to resolving the conflicts of the 21st century.
It’s a new year and a new decade. A century ago, the 1920s — also known as the Roaring ’20s — brought momentous changes. What will the 21st century’s next decade bring?
To kick off this season of A Deeper Look podcast, I talk with Carolyn Miles, outgoing President and Chief Executive Officer of Save the Children US, and Masood Ahmed, President of the Center for Global Development. We discuss the progress and achievements that have been made in human development and the pressing challenges that lie ahead. We consider major trends, ideas and forces that will shape development in the 2020s, including climate change and conflict and migration, and we explore how the development community can respond.
In the 2019 season of A Deeper Look podcast, we examined the darker side of development — the unintended consequences of development efforts, the paradoxes that we confront, the harm that the best intentions can sometimes cause and the lessons we can learn by discussing uncomfortable, even threatening, topics.
Each one of my guests brought a unique perspective to this theme, yet it’s possible to distill a number of common concerns. More than one guest described the long-term nature of development as a journey, and many emphasized the importance of humility in this work. Although our theme for the year was dark, the perspectives, insights and commitment of my guests give me hope that we, as a community, are more willing to acknowledge our weaknesses and do better.
If you haven’t had an opportunity to tune in, I encourage you to listen to all of the episodes in this season’s A Deeper Look on Apple Podcasts, SoundCloud or wherever you get your podcasts. Here are some takeaways.
This year, we’ve been exploring the darker side of development, and we’ve examined examples of the paradoxes and unintended consequences of international development efforts. In the final episode this year, I sit down with David Dodson, President of MDC, to discuss parallels and shared lessons between U.S. and global development challenges and solutions, particularly with respect to addressing poverty and inequality.
David and I explore the structural issues that lead to inequality, the importance of data-informed decisions in addressing poverty and the ebb and flow of progress within development. We discuss how promoting individual and group agency and localization is crucial to development efforts around the globe.
We have celebrated many successes in global development, thanks in part to advocacy efforts. The billions of dollars in resources and political will mobilized to tackle global development challenges have yielded historic results, such as reducing the number of cases of HIV, cutting malaria deaths in half and increasing life expectancy rapidly, even in the poorest countries. Does the promotion of the progress made lead to complacency that could ultimately reverse the gains we now celebrate?
In this episode, I sit down with Tom Hart, North America Executive Director for the ONE Campaign. Tom shares ONE’s approach to advocacy. We discuss the paradoxes of sharing successes and talk about how the final stretch of achieving the Sustainable Development Goals may be the hardest part of the race. We also examine the role of advocacy in development, the continued need for bipartisan political support for development work and the coalition of strange bedfellows during a divisive time.
The #AidToo movement, which stemmed from the #MeToo movement, has brought to light incidences of sexual harassment and abuse within development work.
In this episode, I sit down with Carrie Hessler-Radelet, President and CEO of Project Concern International (PCI). Carrie describes her own personal experience with sexual assault and shares the important role that speaking out has had for her and can have for survivors. Carrie and I discuss best practices for preventing and responding to abuse and harassment in the global development workspace, both internally within organizations and within the communities where we work.
The way we design and carry out development programs and projects both contributes to and disrupts the social contract and political accountability.
In this episode, I sit down with Alex Thier, former Director of the Overseas Development Institute, the U.K.’s leading think tank dealing with international and human development issues. We explore the fundamental dilemmas surrounding global development practice and the importance and difficulty of holding ourselves accountable.