Wednesday, November 28, 2012

From The Mouths of East Africans.

The Society for International Development has started a series of podcasts wherein they have conversations with various East Africans about their areas of expertise. It's a good series of interviews and a great way to get a taste of some of what's going on both on the ground and in our innovative and intellectual lives. I like that it showcases our diversity and better yet, our dynamism. 

And speaking of dynamism, this week's podcast featured Aida Kiangi. I think it took me about five minutes before I started laughing out loud... at the office. Which was a little embarrassing. I recommend this particular interview for two main reasons: first, she articulates what I consider to be the 'right' view of development, specifically Tanzanian development and the challenges facing us. Secondly because it's informative, entertaining and incredibly candid. And my goodness, we could do with some candor in our development discourse.

What's this so-called "right" view of development, you ask? Well, a comprehensive, deep, nuanced, intelligent and informed one. A 360 perspective, if you will. So often we get bogged down in a style of rhetoric- political, economic, development- that is reductive. There aren't many opportunities to address the issues underlying the issues underlying the issues, the less in a world where soundbytes and oversimplification are edging real knowledge off the map. Yet Tanzania is a deep game. So, you know, listen to the podcast because it contains not just information, but perspective and experience.


  1. The podcast was bloody brilliant Elsie! Loved every minute of it. I feel as thoguh I spend most of my waking hours mulling over why Tanzania is the way it is; I can probably say I feel 100% the same as Aida....would love to chew the fat with you about these issues one day. As always, I'm a bing fan of TMR x

  2. We need to separate things that are simply human from those that we think are particularly wrong about Tanzania. For example no matter what you do people will always steal… our goal cannot be to see a Tanzania where no crime takes place and where people do not rob you if you have an accident. Taking your gold watch or helping you out of the window… what do you do to make that person make the choice you think is right?
    Anyway, I don’t believe in development.


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