My Open Letter to the Executive Director of Human Rights Watch

Bush and Annan toasting

Under the title "Sudan/United Nations: Do Not Meet With Officials Wanted for War Crimes", Kenneth Roth - the Executive Director of Human Rights Watch - published a letter to the UN Secretary General.

He questioned the sanity of UN officials attending the inauguration of Omar al-Bashir, the Sudanese president, who is indicted by the International Criminal Court (ICC) on charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity in the country's western Darfur region.

I have mixed feelings about this stand, and decided to write an open letter to Mr. Kenneth Roth myself. Here are both letters:

Letter to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon
May 24, 2010
Dear Secretary-General:

I was dismayed to learn of your spokesperson's recent announcement that UN representatives Haile Menkerios and Ibrahim Gambari plan to attend the May 27 presidential inauguration of Omar al-Bashir in Khartoum. I urge you to reconsider this decision because it is both wrong and contrary to United Nations (UN) guidelines on this very issue.

UN guidelines limit UN interaction with individuals indicted by international criminal courts such as President al-Bashir to "what is strictly required for carrying out UN mandated activities." Attendance at the inauguration cannot be justified as "strictly required." To the contrary, the UN guidelines state that "[t]he presence of UN representatives in any ceremonial or similar occasion with [persons indicted by international criminal courts] should be avoided." In addition, I understand that further UN guidance specifically concerning President al-Bashir bearing your initials states that "interactions of a ceremonial nature with President Al-Bashir should be avoided, including courtesy calls, receptions, photo opportunities, attendance at national day celebrations and so on."

These guidelines are right. Disregarding them will significantly damage the UN's credibility. Attending the inauguration of an individual subject to an International Criminal Court (ICC) warrant for serious atrocity crimes would send a terrible message to victims of such crimes in Darfur and around the world that their suffering is not reason enough to dispense with ceremonial support for their alleged abuser. Attendance also risks signaling that the United Nations is not committed to the ICC's success-a signal that would be particularly unfortunate to send in the week before the first review conference of the ICC's Rome Statute, which takes place in neighboring Kampala, Uganda from May 31 to June 11, 2010. The review conference will be a moment of significant attention to the court's work and an important time to showcase dedication to the cause of international justice. Any short-sighted breach of the UN's own principles will be doing neither the court nor you any favors.

For all of these reasons, I hope you will reconsider the plans for UN officials at any level to attend the al-Bashir inauguration. Should you wish to discuss this matter, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Kenneth Roth
Executive Director
Human Rights Watch

My answer reads:

Letter to Kenneth Roth, Executive Director, Human Rights Watch
May 27th 2010

Dear Mr. Roth,

While I applaud the tenacity in which your organisation pursues injustice and attempts to protect the weak and oppressed, I call upon you for a better balance in your actions, rather than pushing for issues "that suit The West".

You are correctly insisting the UN should be consequent in its actions towards However, so should your organisation.

As an example: Back in 2003, George H.W. Bush, Dick Cheney, Colin Powell, Norman Schwarzkopf and Tommy Franks were indicted in a Belgian court for crimes against humanity, under the principle of universal jurisdiction. Under the pressure of the US, the Belgian law was changed. Apart from my amazement on the hypocrisy of the Belgian politicians, I would still like to point out that your organisation was one of the six human rights groups calling the loss of the universal jurisdiction component "a step backwards in the global fight against the worst atrocities."

Now I wonder, if you stood that firmly on the principle of universal jurisprudence, and indeed supported the indictment of the Bush gang, did you also write a letter to the UN Secretary General insisting on avoiding any official contact with the Bush administration?

I understand both cases are unsimilar. Bush was unfortunately not indicted by the ICC - even though he should have been. However, I call upon you, to stand by your universal principles. Bashing is singing a tune very popular in the West. Bashing Bush would not have been. Or was that goal too high? Too ambitious? Too costly for your organisation's supporters? Funders?

For all of these reasons, I hope you will admit the error at that time of the Bush administration. I encourage your organisation to pursue objective measures, and not only those suiting The West, or to those popular by demand, and easy hits in Western media.

Should you wish to discuss this matter, please do not hesitate to contact me.


Peter Casier
World Citizen

Let's see what he says.

Picture courtesy AP Photo/Gerald Herbert

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Switching off the lights

People from the Haiti operation

As you know, I try not to write too much about the work I do, in an attempt to segregate my official duties from my blog. I will make an exception for once.

When the earthquake stroke Haiti on January 12th, it not only devastated the poorest country in the Western hemisphere, but it also devastated our operations in Haiti. Our offices were destroyed. Our staff lost family and friends. Most of the country's infrastructure was affected, making it very difficult for any humanitarian aid to reach those in need.

We set up our office in the Dominican Republic to provide the needed support both for our own organisation and for the other aid agencies. We set up a logistics "pipeline" receiving aid goods, coming in via air and sea, and transported them via air and road into Haiti. We set up an airbridge ferrying in the initial response goods, and humanitarian staff into Port-au-Prince and beyond.

For the past months, I headed our operations, based in Santo Domingo. End of May, we are wrapping up the the initial emergency response phase. As the months went by, all organisations rebuilt their infrastructure, and the port, roads, warehousing capacity inside the country came back on its feet. Since a month, we have been converting our office from its initial response, to a more longer term configuration.

When I landed here on January 19, a few days after the Haiti earthquake, I found a dozen staff who arrived here before me, cramped in a small room. As the days went by, more and more people flew in, both to support our office, as well as all those on route to Haiti. At the peak, we had people working in the central office, at two ports, two airports, and two suboffices in the country. We built up the operation from scratch, growing to almost 100 staff, mobilized from countries all over the world. We had staff working in our offices who were called in from over 30 different countries. Logistics experts, food specialists, finance and administration staff, procurement people, airops officers, security officers and engineers...

We based our operations in two conference rooms of a hotel, here in Santo Domingo. No windows. The "dungeons" we called them, as they had no windows. Sunlight was a rarity in those early days. A month later, the hotel converted their "ping-pong room" near the swimming pool into a working space, with seven more offices normally used by beauty salons and travel agencies.

The first few weeks were hectic. We worked from 7 am until late at night, 7 days per week, moving cargo and people into Haiti, processing finance and procurement transactions like there was no tomorrow. Staff rotated in and out, replacing the "initial responders" with "fresh blood", again called in from all over the world. We had people working with us, who are normally based in our operations in North Korea, Malawi, Dubai, Rome, all over Central and South America and Asia. Senior experienced professionals worked side by side with staff for whom this was their emergency operation, and local recruits. We dealt with government officials, nutritional experts, security incidents, commercial companies, airport authorities, immigration staff and transporters. It was never a dull day for the -last count- over 170 different staff who worked in our Dominican operation.

Now, four months later, we are "switching off the lights". As of June 1, we have demobilized most of the international support staff, handing over the operations to the local staff we recruited, with just a few expat staff remaining. The initial response phase is over.

Organising a new office has its challenges. Making sure all operations go smooth, fast and auditable. Ensuring all the pieces of the supply chain match together. Building up a team, even with that many people coming in and out. Dealing with sudden 'emergencies': our staff in Haiti running out of food supplies, pockets of displaced people appearing along the border in need of assistance, one of our staff being shot at, to manually stamping 500,000 food distribution coupons.

But building something, a team, an operation, is fun. That is what I like. Downscaling -although an intrinsic part of any good aid operation- is more difficult. Not only ensuring all the last bits and pieces of the operation are properly closed, suppliers are paid, all contracts are well documented, etc... but the personal aspect, is often a challenge... "Switching off the lights".

It has been an interesting experience within myself. I had to downscale something I built. In the past four weeks, gradually people have gone back to the duty station they were called from. There have been many goodbyes. And I am not good at goodbye's.

We had many beautiful people working with us. Professional in their job, and really nice individuals. Some of them have worked in this operation since the beginning. And now, it is time to leave. Time to close what we have worked on. "our project", "our office", "our team".

Over the past months, I have gotten to love the people I work with. Working in any emergency creates that bond, the feeling of "us". And saying goodbye, especially to those who were here since the beginning, is not easy. Sure enough, we are all professional aidworkers. This is our job. But we are also human. We are not only saying goodbye to colleagues, but we are also saying goodbye to people who have become close friends. People who we have shared a unique experience with. People who we have shared these incredible four months with.

As we walk in this road of life, we cross many people and we create many bonds. The bond between emergency responders is unique. We hold together. Together against the challenges of time, the challenge of the enormous needs, the challenges of.. "the outside world". We live and work together, not thinking of "tomorrow", but dealing with the issues of "today".

And now, we will all go our own way. Back to France, Italy, Panama, Ivory Coast... Many of us, in thoughts. A piece of us will remain here, in Santo Domingo. Cradled in memories of those crazy nights stamping those damned coupons. Of the time where we had to get a ton of food for our own staff on the plane in three hours. Of the time where we had to get that much needed aid cargo at the border in 24 hours.

Once upon a time, we will all meet again. In another emergency. When I meet Georges next time in flood operation somewhere in Asia, or Alex in a civil war somewhere in Africa, or Henrik in a drought operation in the Caucasus, we will meet again as old friends. As if we never parted. Sharing the memories of this operation. Sharing the bond.

But for the time being, we have to go. We part. We say goodbye. Knowing there is never enough we can express at the moment when we give that final handshake: "Thank you for your help, it was a pleasure working with you", while we really wanted to say is "You know, I loved working with you. You are now part of my heart. Thank you for being part of this".

So for all of you, this is not goodbye. But "I will see you again". You are in my heart. We did well. We made a difference!

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Monsanto in Haiti: About mixing aid, politics, and commerce

patented food

Last week, Newsweek announced Monsanto is moving into Haiti, in a big way. This is a typical example of using aid as a cover for unethical commerce brought in an All-American-Way: using politics, aid and foreign policy as a carrier.

U.S. agriculture giant Monsanto Co. is donating $4 million worth of seeds to Haiti, the biotechnology manufacturer's first major foray into the chronically hungry nation.
The corporation, based in Creve Coeur, Missouri, announced a pledge this week of 475 tons (431 metric tons) of corn and vegetable seeds. Some 130 tons (118 metric tons) have been delivered and are on their way to farmers as of Friday.
"We looked at what would be well-suited to Haitian growing conditions," said Elizabeth Vancil, the company's development partnership director.
Nothing wrong, you might say... Nice gesture... However:
Farmers will have to buy the seeds at markets to avoid flooding the local economy with free goods, but Monsanto will not receive any revenue from the sales, Vancil said. A spokesman for the U.S. Agency for International Development program distributing the seeds could not immediately provide more details.
"USAID could not provide details"...:
The announcement raised concerns in Haiti that the donation would include genetically modified seeds, for which the country does not have a regulatory system. Monsanto representatives said no such seeds will be included.
Monsanto on the road to sainthood? Hardly:
Instead they are sending hybrid seeds, which are produced by manually cross-pollinating plants. The company said the seeds produce larger yields than non-hybrid seeds, but that with such a variety new seeds have to be purchased and planted every year.
Aha.. So, the seeds come for free. This year. Even though the farmers will have to buy the seeds, but hey, good for the local economy. The seeds produce a plant, which generates seeds, but not as good as the hybrid.
On their blog, Monsanto confirms they have not figured out yet how this will work out... Shall I make a wild guess? The price for Monsanto seeds will go up? Meanwhile, the traditional seed market will be destroyed (a la India), and Monsanto will grow for its all-famous monopoly? I mean just a wild guess, of course.
One more country on the Monsanto map, a few more poor countries to go.

Global Research published this article clarifying the matter a tat further:
The Monsanto representative in Haiti is Jean- Robert Estimé, who served as foreign minister under the Duvalier family's 29-year dictatorship."
... Ah, the Haitian connection, hey?

Monsanto said on their blog:
Monsanto had already donated money, but it was clear that a donation of our products -corn and vegetable seeds- could really make a difference in the lives of Haitians.
Well, the link on their blog covering the "donation" showed $50,000 to the American Red Cross The Disaster Relief Fund, to prepare for future disasters. So not tied to Haiti.


Articles discovered via Humanitarian News
Picture courtesy Pie in the Sky

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Song of the Day: Live like Horses

I stepped onto the moving stairs
Before I could tie my shoes
Pried a harp out the fingers of a renegade
Who lived and died the blues

And his promise made was never clear
It just carved itself in me
All I saw was frost inside my head
On the night he said to me

Someday we'll live like horses
Free rein from your old iron fences
There's more ways than one to regain your senses
Break out the stalls and we'll live like horses
Pavarotti and Friends
performing for War Child

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Zen and the aidworker


When I started blogging back in January 2007, I discovered a number of blogs from fellow humanitarian. One of them was "Frida", who - at that time - worked for the UN in Afghanistan.
Over the years, I followed her road to (self-)discovery, until she ended up in her new life, and on her new site, under her own name "Marianne Elliott".

Marianne actively shares her experiences as a person, in the humanitarian world, enticing others to do well. For the world, and for themselves. Recently, she interviewed me about my experiences as a person, in this roller-coaster of a life as an aidworker. The interview, you can read here.

Yesterday, we did an interactive Q&A session via Twitter, together with some like-minded people. You can read through the trackback here.

Both the interview and the Twitter session made me think how often we ignore many things in life that should be important to us, getting too sucked up into the whirlpool of work. Particularly in the type of work we, aidworkers, do. Often in all of it, we forget life is more than work, and while our time on this planet is limited, we'd better make good use of it.

The timing of it all came just right. In two weeks time, I will wrap up my mission here in Santo Domingo, and since a few weeks I've been thinking what to next. I thought the time was right for yet another sabbatical. Another breath of life, before embarking in the next adventure.

Sabbaticals are not new to me. I took the first one back in 1993, where I decided to go to the Antarctic. I took another break in 1997, to go to the Antarctic again. And yet another one in 2006, for 13 months, to sail across the Atlantic, and start writing down some of my past adventures, both for work, and in my free time.

So, as of mid June, I am off again, for 6 months. No clear clue yet as to what I will do. Spend more time with the family, that is for sure. Shuttling between Rome and Belgium, as I want to continue being connected to work. I also want to have more time to experiment with social media and see how far I can push the Web 2.0 tools for the humanitarian cause. We will see what we come up with, and where we will end. Destiny has always been good to me, so I not worried. We will see... Life is too short to be boring. And a bit of a breather will be good.

Picture of Marianne in Afghanistan, courtesy of Marianne Elliott

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Aid: The road to hell is paved with good intentions

Seriously. Humanitarian aid is complex. Seriously complex. And open for ab-use, miss-use,.. and wrong-use. As an aidworker, I am standing in the midst of it all, often shaking my head in disbelief. Part of me gets cynical and sarcastic at times. Specifically when it concerns something that starts with good intentions. But then the road to hell is paved with good intentions: It is not because you mean "well", that you do "well".

Yesterday I got really cynical. I aired some of it on Twitter, suggesting a number of initiatives which I meant as sarcastic jokes, only to find out some of those stupid suggestions had actually been implemented. Seriously.
I also found fellow aidworker/blogger "Tales from the Hood" wrote about the same subject, Twitter-tagging it "#SWEDOW" - or "Stuff WE DOn't Want".

Let me just list the initiatives I meant as a joke yesterday (mostly inspired by 1millionshirts), with after-thoughts between "[ ]":

  • I will start where people can donate their old flipflops to Africa [This one is for real]
  • for old toothbrushes... I mean dental hygiene in Africa is a real must
  • to ship used... ah.. no, that won't work
  • ... donate your old shades for a good cause. ! On top of that, they might look cool too! [This one actually does that]
  • will donate old weaponry to the Armies of Africa, as stability is a real must
  • ... I mean the sun must be a real bitch in Africa, right?
  • -- so that the NGOs can do a free pick for any kind of assessment reports, and not spend time doing their own
  • - so you don't have to make your own donor reports at the end of your project... we will auto-generate it for you.
  • -- send your used car tires to poor Africans today!!!
  • : ship those old windshield wiper, in preparation of the rainy season... shipping cost: $120 a pair. yeah
    >> at this point fellow aid-fanatic @Katrinskaya intervened and pointed to her excellent post #1millionsextoys for Africa. Yeah!
  • -- to ship all that useless stuff to the poor kids in Africa
  • Don't burry your granny with her set! can use them!
  • (as we will never learn, and the lessons are always the same: "read the previous lessons learned")
  • - how many of us don't have old propane stoves from our camping days stowed in our garage? They can use them in Africa!
  • - I mean those poor poor people going to the well everyday. How to store water? We will airfreight them used PET bottles...!
  • -- so they can see what they miss... (dah.. that is real scarcastic... stop it!)
  • -- why throw away your hair, while in poor Africa, they have to buy extensions? [This one comes close. Not for Africa but for the Gulf Oil Spill]
  • on "Date for Africa Day" signed agreement with and [You ain't gonna believe this: Date For Change. Quote: Your money goes to charity. The first time a guy sends a message it costs at least $1 and that money, once again, goes to charity. And the best part is... we can raise millions with your help]
  • aims to fund an extra 1 million UN employees in an effort to exterminate unemployment in Africa
And while I was at it, I also found ways to get rid of your 1millionOldBras...

Picture courtesy CordAid

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Beauty in a volcanic disruption - eh - eruption

While Eyjafjallajokull, goes into a 3rd cycle of European flight interruptions, one can not deny the beauty of it all:

"Iceland, Eyjafjallajökull - May 1st and 2nd, 2010" is a time-lapse video by Sean Stiegemeier.

Discovered via The Huffington Post and Humanitarian News.

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Italy biggest donor in "Adopt a Clitoris" campaign

Italians biggest donor in Adopt-a-Clitoris

The charity "Clitoraid" is the most popular with the Italians, who account for 26.88% of the donations in 2009, according to the organisation's financial statement. This makes Italy the largest donor for the "Adopt-a-Clitoris" campaign.

I am not sure how to bring this news to you, as I don't know how it was meant. Female sexual mutilation is a crime. Punto.

How to react to the name of the charity and their campaign? I hope they actually meant it to be eye -or- ear catching and provocative.

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If managers only had to follow one training, this is the one


I have been managing people for longer than I care to imagine. I have participated in a number of trainings, but if there was one single training I would recommend to managers, it would be the International Professional Development Programme from Professional Development International.

It runs over 4 periods, 24 days, in total, and it is not cheap, but it is worth it.

The purpose of the programme is "to develop a proficiency in understanding and working with psychodynamic processes that take place when people are engaged in meaningful issues and activities affecting their lives at work, at home, and in society."

Let me put that in layman's terms: when you interact in a group, as an individual in a group, or a group within a group, one of the keys is to understand how you as individual, interact with other people, how you interact within your group or work team and how your team interacts with the greater "group" you belong to i.e. your organisation. These are "psychodynamics". Understanding them, and your role, your team's role will help you in managing and understanding people, managing and understanding situations.

Through a number of pre-set mechanics - lectures, coaching exercises, simulations, games, discussions, peer-to-peer sessions, learning communities,..- you learn through experiencing:
- how do others see me, how do others value me, and as such learn what your strong and weak points are, as perceived by others.
- how to other groups react to my group, what is my role in this?
- how does my greater group (i.e. my organisation) influence society as a whole, the larger community.
- how can I "work" with all of this, to make a change for the better.

This is not a classical training, but an experience as a whole. Working through the very well worked out curriculum, it is more a "discovery trip". And not an easy one. In an environment where frank feedback is encouraged, you learn how others react to you, and you to others, it is probably the single most valuable way of learning yourself: looking in the mirror others are putting before you: "this is how we see you, this is how we perceive you", you learn who you are as an individual, how you react to situations, how you influence a team, a group, and how your group influence the greater group or society. And above all, how you can learn from that, and grow as a person and as a manager.

Having people put a mirror before one's self is not an easy experience. You will dive deep into your own psyche and start the ask the fundamental questions "who am I", "who do I want to be", "what is my role", "what are my core values". But understanding one's self, and the perceptions others have of you, is the key to wisdom, to change, to meaningful change.

This is not a textbook training on techniques, tricks, cheap one-off solutions, it is a trip within one's self. It will enrich you as an individual, as a member of a team, and a manager of a team.

Highly recommended!

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Aid effectiveness? No worries, we are doing fine...!

For the "oh boy" department:

The results of this evaluation were presented to the IASC Working Group, which has created a Task Team on Coordination that will create a management response plan in reaction to the recommendations made.
No kidding. Real stuff.

Reminds me of this post.

But for the rest, we are fine, thankyouverymuch. Now sit back, relax and enjoy your humanitarian ride. Nosotros will make sure we duly report on the project from needs assessments, impact evaluations, base-line surveys, coordination proposals, inter-cluster and intra-cluster coordination meetings, donor congresses, and above all cross-platform compatibility studies!! All through to the point where your money will be gone. Gone With the Wind. Phooof.

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Do you have passion?

Tuscany 2009

The ancient Greeks did not write obituaries,
instead they asked only one question of a person:
"Did he have passion?"
From the movie "Serendipity"
based on the teachings of the Greek philosopher Aristippus of Cyrene

It is much easier to go through life all protected and not letting anything through. To do your job 9 to 5 as... a job from 9 to 5. To see a walk by the sea as only a physical motion on sand near to a pond of water rather than a mass of energy floating through you.

It is more courageous to let it all in. To do every thing you do with passion, to let it in, play with it, in your mind, ponder over it, question it, question one's own abilities and judgement. Constantly. Reading the signs and act on them.

Just as it gives relentless joy, it also takes a lot of energy to keep a balance in a rational world. Where not everything can be done based on hunches. Where some tasks just have to be done, even if the joy might not be in there.

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The state of the world on Mother's Day

Hurricane Ike

Save the Children’s eleventh annual Mothers’ Index compares the well-being of mothers and children in 160 countries.

Norway, Australia, Iceland and Sweden top the rankings this year. The top 10 countries attain very high scores for mothers’ and children’s health, educational and economic status. Afghanistan ranks last among the surveyed countries. Seven from 10 bottom-ranked countries are from sub-Saharan Africa. The United States places 28th.

Conditions for mothers and their children in the bottom 10 countries are grim. On average, 1 in 23 mothers will die from pregnancy-related causes. One child in 6 dies before his or her fifth birthday, and 1 child in 3 suffers from malnutrition. Nearly 50 percent of the population lack access to safe water and only 4 girls for every 5 boys are enrolled in primary school.

The gap in availability of maternal and child health services is especially dramatic when comparing Norway and Afghanistan. Skilled health personnel are present at virtually every birth in Norway, while only 14 percent of births are attended in Afghanistan.
A typical Norwegian woman has more than 18 years of formal education and will live to be 83 years old. Eighty-two percent are using some modern method of contraception, and only 1 in 132 will lose a child before his or her fifth birthday.

At the opposite end of the spectrum, in Afghanistan, a typical woman has just over 4 years of education and will live to be only 44. Sixteen percent of women are using modern contraception, and more than 1 child in 4 dies before his or her fifth birthday. At this rate, every mother in Afghanistan is likely to suffer the loss of a child.

On the children’s well-being portion of the Mothers’ Index, Sweden finishes first and Afghanistan is last out of 166 countries. While nearly every Swedish child – girl and boy alike – enjoys good health and education, children in Afghanistan face a 1 in 4 risk of dying before age 5. Thirty-nine percent of Afghan children are malnourished and 78 percent lack access to safe water. Only 2 girls for every 3 boys are enrolled in primary school. (Full report)

Picture courtesy Logan Abassi(MINUSTAH)

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Afghanistan: 6 mothers die for every 100 births

In Badakshan, the Northeast of Afghanistan, 6 women die in labour for every 100 babies born. That is almost four times the national average, in a country with the world's second highest maternal mortality rate...

Let's use Mother's Day weekend to think of those mothers in less fortunate countries. Maternal health continues to be a challenge for many in remote areas, where access to clinics or even primary care is non-existent. Or only exists only through WHO (the UN's World Health Organisation)mobile clinics as shown in this video. (More)

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Being happy in a negative way.

At the end of today, I feel kinda relieved. And happy in a way. In a negative kinda way.
  • I am happy that in the end, Microsoft Outlook did not disappear from my laptop. It just disappeared from the taskbar and the START menu.
  • I am actually extatic that my outlook data file with all my mails was not "Beyond Repair", as Outlook stated. Does not matter that Outlook keeps on crashing on the data file, I can just start it up again. And again. And again.
  • I am grateful that Citrix was not corrupted, so it did not really matter that the helpdesk failed to have me re-install the Citrix-thingie. I am happy the thing decided to repair itself, by itself, for itself. The most suspicious of all "solutions".
  • I am pleasantly surprised that despite all suspicions, my laptop did not have any viruses, even though the stand-alone virus scan blocked my computer for 2 hours.
  • I am smiling because despite all challenges, I *was* able to connect to the LAN, so I could get some work done
  • I went "Woohwoohwooh" because I found an easy way to clean up the 1.3 Gigabyte of temporary files created in the TEMP directory each time I start up my computer. [update: which now seems to be caused by the Macafee antivirus programme.]
  • I jumped of joy knowing that despite the fact that Godaddy, my web host, does not admit it was hacked, but "the problems came through Wordpress" (I am running Drupal), I found a way to easily restore my website.
  • I still think SAP SUCKS, though. But even that brings an evil smile on my face.
As you can clearly see, I am having a tough time living in service of technology. I thought it was supposed to be the other way round. But hey, call me simple minded and naieve...

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The fox and the grapes

The Fox and the grapes

One hot summer's day a Fox was strolling through an orchard till he came to a bunch of Grapes just ripening on a vine which had been trained over a lofty branch. "Just the thing to quench my thirst," quoth he. Drawing back a few paces, he took a run and a jump, and just missed the bunch. Turning round again with a One, Two, Three, he jumped up, but with no greater success. Again and again he tried after the tempting morsel, but at last had to give it up, and walked away with his nose in the air, saying: "I am sure they are sour."
From a fable attributed to Aesop.

Lesson: It is easy to despise what you cannot get.

Picture courtesy Lit2Go, with thanks to my Friend E.

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One million shirts

one million shirts

Since a couple of marketeers started the One Million Shirts campaign, it looks like to be fashionable in the aid world, you have to write about it.

As I did not want to be left out, and "fashionable" is my second name, here is my blogpost summarizing my opinion about "One Million Shirts":

Bla bla bla bla bla bla bla bla bla bla bla bla bla bla bla bla bla bla bla bla bla bla bla bla bla bla bla bla bla bla bla bla bla bla bla bla bla bla bla bla bla bla bla bla bla bla bla bla bla bla bla bla bla bla bla bla bla bla bla bla bla bla bla.


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Newly found aidworker blogs

Lou Nuer boys and their cattle

I cleaned up my list of aidworkers' blogroll in the sidecolumn. Blogs with irregular updates and those from aidworkers who moved on, I moved to the archive.

I also added my latest aidworker blog finds:

I also updated the bloglist for AidBlogs where I aggregate the posts on each of these blogs.

While I cleaned up the blogs, I continuously got distracted by browsing through them. I should say, anyone wondering if aidwork is something for them, should read through those blogs. They give the best peep one can get into the daily life of a humanitarian in the field. With the joys, frustrations, surprises, doubts, anger, sadness and dumbness we are often confronted with.


Picture courtesy Sudan Stories

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