Be with the people of Philippines

Being offline for months has its good and bad parts, but I had to carve some time to advocate for the people of Philippines. I recently started to learn and work in the area of emergency relief and disaster management, and seeing first hand the devastation of sudden onset disaster is an out of this world experience.

Disasters becoming more frequent since the turn of the 21st century,will challenge governments and different spheres of the civil society to work closely in taking a more prominent role in the prevention of a disaster’s adverse outcomes. Now, confronted with Typhoon Haiyan,  which struck the eastern Philippine coast, we learn of the many downfalls of emergency preparedness, but we also learn about worldwide mobilization and compassion.

The people of Philippines are in desperate need of our help. Organizations on the ground report about 10,000 casualties and about 10 million people internally displaced. There is a critical need of emergency aid including basic needs like food, shelter, water and hygiene kits.

Here is a short list of organizations on the ground which work tireless on providing that emergency relief, consider donating or socializing on different social network sites the work these NGO’s do on the ground. Your support is invaluable:

  • Red Cross Society – the Red Cross is at the forefront of the the disaster management, providing life saving logistical support, human power and providing emergency health services
  • World Food Programme – the largest humanitarian agency that works to fight hunger worldwide. WFP already has dispatched a convoy of high energy biscuits for the typhoon survivors.
  • Doctors without Borders – MSF will focus initially on Leyte Province, the area first hit as the typhoon came ashore, and where many medical facilities have been destroyed or damaged.
  • UNICEF – your monetary donation will be directly used to provide basic supplies, food, shelter and water to those children affected by the typhoon.

These are just a very short example of world-class humanitarian agencies that are currently fighting for the people of Philippines, I could add many more agencies like MercyCorps, World Vision, Catholic Disaster Relief, Caritas, Samaritans Purse just to name a few.

Hopefully, this list will inspire you to be pro-active in the face of disasters and extend your kindness to those affected by them!

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Read, Write, Get a Job

I was fresh out of school, with 0 desire to look for a job or even worry about this little aspect of my life. Weeks later, when I got the excitement of graduation out of my system, I  was lucky enough to land an internship with a sub-agency of UNITAR.   It was during my time there when I realized that my college education was insufficient and unreliable. Two years later, here are some personal notes:

  • READ  – the more I dive into international development and humanitarian aid issues, the more I realize that reading is essential. Knowledge is power, and if you don’t know where to start, check-out my first blog post here.
  • Write – I soon realized that I had limited vocabulary in international affairs, my writing habits were tailored for more academic purposes.  Hence, the blog. A way for me to write without sounding boring and completely detached from real events.
  • Volunteer / Intern – My best advice, get an internship while in school, and be the best at it !!!  Many organization fill in the job rooster by looking first at the people committed to the organization, that being the interns and volunteers.
  • Find your passion in this broad fied of international development. This is actually my weakness, this is why I’m lost. The field of international development is so complex,  having a specialty is a must! I have a passion for orphans,  refugees , women empowerment, international relief and disaster management. Ideally, I would love to work in all these areas.  So, more power to you if you discovered your niche and passion. I for one, still lost in aid 🙂

I found some articles and blog posts to be very useful in the quest for discovering the ideal job in the field:

This is not  an exhaustive list, looking forward for advices of how to find my path in humanitarian aid 🙂

Why Nations Fail?

Couple of months ago, I picked up a fantastic book: ” Why Nations Fail” by Daron Acemoglu and James Robinson.  As I’m a newbie in the field of international development and aid industry, the debate around the book was absolutely delightful.
I highly recommend reading the book, if only, because of the debate around the origins of development.

Why Nations Fail completely dismisses different theories of why development is successful or not, like the idea of culture or geography. Therefore, throughout the book, the authors make a strong case that institutions matter, more than anything else. Personally, I appreciated the consistency of the book, Acemogly and Robinson kept emphasizing broad terms like inclusive versus extractive institutions, which gets embodied into your brain and you come to accept their theory. Now, it is always good to take everything with a grain of salt, because at the end of the day, institutions are not a definite mark of why nations fail. Nonetheless, I enjoyed discovering a new layer of reasoning and a different approach in explaining development. I’ve tried to compile a list of some interesting articles regarding the debate around the book, ultimately trying to learn more about this controversy:

I know I’m late to the debate, but I really enjoyed spending hours absorbing all these information. At the end of the day, it helped to remember that there is no black and white in international development.

Must read now!

Truth be told, I lived around poverty. I did not experience first hand, but just witnessed it around me. Naturally, from an early age that sparked my interest in why some people lived in poverty while others did not. Many events and life experiences later, I’m here now, trying to answer my childhood question. A simple question with a very complex answer, so in order to get a better understanding of what exactly my question implies, I read – a lot! Currently, in my hands, its the book of Jared Diamond “Guns, Germs, and Steel“. I intent to write more about the book once done reading it. Until then,
a short list of what experienced bloggers consider must read books for an aspiring worker in international aid:

Well, I have my own list which hopefully I’ll write more about in a future post. Always looking to add more books to my list, let me know what other books are worth the time.