June 22, 2009

AIDS, Religion and Development

Via Travis Kavulla's Twitter feed I see that he has a long and worthwhile essay in the New Atlantis touching on one of my favorite talking points, the necessity of recognizing the role of religious beliefs, systems and structures when engaged in development work on the African continent:
The Western public-health lobby, bred in a culture that preaches unconstrained freedom of the individual in the realm of sexual relations, is put off by talk of moralizing policies, or of any policy that de-emphasizes condoms. But it needs a dose of its own advice. It must stop imposing its own agenda on Africa. It must realize that HIV has a social dimension that must be addressed, that Africans are naturally wont to view this disease, which perversely inverts the life-giving act of sex, as a moral calamity. The sooner the donor community realizes this, and reorients its policies to fit African realities, the better.
There is much more to engage with there than I have the time to do at the moment so please give it a read.

June 14, 2009

Tips For Those Who Actually Want to Travel

As with all other areas of my life these days I'm a few days behind working through the old feed reader but when I finally got around to it I was happy to see this post from Erik Hersman in response to Nicholas Kristof's well meaning (?) primer on travel in developing countries. Erik's list along with those he's culled from the comments is worth bookmarking while Kristof's . . . . not so much.

My addition would be to buy, carry and read whatever local English language daily you can get your hands on. A little local knowledge and a few relevant talking points with the man/woman on the street can go a long way in establishing that first foot of insider good will.