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The best and worst aid videos of 2015

The people have spoken, and we have winners for both the best and worst aid fundraising videos of 2015. Let’s start with the crap ones, cos that’s more interesting. The audience voted (predictably) for the Band Aid retread, but I thought this one from the One World Campaign was magnificently terrible (and almost unwatchable). As for the best video, the audience chose this moving story …

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Episode 47: Todd Moss – The Truth is Stranger Than Fiction

Bestselling author Todd Moss is a former senior State Department official who led America’s response to coups and crises in West Africa. He is also my colleague at the Center for Global Development, where he is a Senior Fellow and Chief Operating Officer. Todd’s first two books feature a fictional hero, Judd Ryker, an analyst in State Department. In The Golden Hour, Ryker is called upon to reverse a coup in Mali (the book was published a few weeks before a real coup in Mali).  In the latest book, Minute Zero, Ryker has to handle a political crisis in Zimbabwe.

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Episode 46: Morten Jerven

Morten Jerven explains why we know less than we should about what is happening in African economies, and why this is leading economists to the wrong recommendations. His first book, Poor Numbers: How We are Misled by African Development Statistics and What to Do About It explained the problems with Africa’s economic data; an his new book,  Africa: Why Economists Get it Wrong sets out how this lack of nuanced understanding of the data has led to flawed analysis and recommendations.  “The bottom line”, he says, “is that there is no bottom billion”. Morten Jerven is an Associate Professor at Simon Fraser University. He is an economic historian with a PhD from the London School of Economics.

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Promoting healthier diets in rural and remote communities: rethinking science and policy

While urbanisation levels are increasing worldwide, 46% of people still live in rural settings according to World Bank data from 2015. Catherine L. Mah MD PhD discusses the unique issue  faced by these rural communities in the 21st century with regards to access to a high-quality and varied diet despite geographical difficulties, and challenges the traditional self-sufficient rural stereotype by analysing the socially and economically heterogenous group that rural populations often can be.  At the port of North Sydney last October, waiting in my car for the midnight sailing of the Marine Atlantic ferry to Newfoundland and Labrador, the easternmost province in Canada, I observed two readily distinguishable features about the local and global food system. First, people go hunting here. Pickup trucks are kitted out with blue tarps and chest freezers, ready to haul moose carcasses.


PLOS Medicine Podcast episode 2: Dementia Across the Lifespan and Around the Globe

PLOS Medicine’s Associate Editor Tom McBride interviews Bruce Miller, Guest Editor for our Special Issue on Dementia, in the first of two podcasts. ; Dr. Bruce Miller is the Director of the Memory and Aging Center at


Podcast: Breaking down the complex crisis in Yemen

While summer has been restful (and eventful, world tragedy-wise), our podcasts had to return to reality sometime, so here we are. For our first podcast of the fall, our U.K. correspondent Charlie Ensor talked to Oxfam America‘s humanitarian policy adviser Scott Paul on the current crisis in Yemen, which is now in its second year. Already the


SciDev.Net Podcast: A life spent fighting HIV

This month we sit down with immunologist Carolina Herrera, who has spent the past two decades studying the virus.


Podcasts Address Issues Surrounding U.S. Response To Zika Outbreak

POLITICO: Ebola czar: America failing on Zika “…Ron Klain, who served as White House Ebola czar and as Vice President Joe Biden’s chief of staff, told POLITICO’s ‘Pulse Check’ podcast that Congress has failed to heed the lessons of the Ebola epidemic and that the Zika funding battle has become unforgivably partisan in the face…More


Tax Justice Network’s Alex Cobham on how financial secrecy fuels inequity

For today’s Humanosphere podcast, we’re talking with Alex Cobham about how financial secrecy and tax havens fuel inequity around the world. Next week, another installment from the so-called Panama Papers is expected to be released by the international consortium of journalists that received the leaked documents from a Panamanian law firm. The firm, Mossack Fonseca,


Weekly links May 6: expensive African cities, lotteries for housing, placebo effects, and…

I liked the recent Planet Money podcast #698 (a long way home) – there is an interesting discussion of why a lottery is held for access to a housing assistance program in Connecticut, and how they ended up with a lottery rather than other systems of allocating resources – and a great quote about the mishmash of anti-poverty programs in the U.S. which, paraphrasing, is basically “it is not like Congress ever sat down and said what is the best use of the money we set aside to fight poverty” but rather how many different programs have come up over time, all with their own rules and constituencies. The latest Journal of Economic Perspectives has a symposium on inequality beyond income (US focused) and a paper on the billion prices project that I linked to a blog post on last week Should policy seek to promote small firms or large ones in Africa? Frances Teal on the CSAE blog: “Policy rhetoric focuses on the problems faced by small firms. Data from Ghana over the period for which we have it suggests that it is large firms that face the problems.


CDC Epidemic Intelligence Service Director Speaks With NPR

NPR: What’s On This Year’s Agenda The “Disease Detectives?” “The Epidemic Intelligence Service, the ‘disease detectives’ of the Centers for Disease Control holds their annual meeting this week. Rachel Martin asks EIS director Josh Mott how they do their work…” (5/1).


Publish What You Fund CEO Speaks About 2016 Aid Transparency Index In CGD Podcast

Center for Global Development’s “CGD Podcast”: A Quarter of Aid Is Transparent — What About the Rest? Podcast with Rupert Simons of Publish What You Fund In this podcast, Rajesh Mirchandani, vice president of communications and policy outreach at CGD, speaks with Rupert Simons, CEO of Publish What You Fund, about the organization’s 2016 Aid…More


CGD Podcast Discusses New Book Examining Global Health Case Studies

Center for Global Development’s “CGD Podcast”: Millions Saved: What Works in Global Health? — Podcast with Amanda Glassman In this podcast, Rajesh Mirchandani, vice president of communications and policy outreach at CGD, speaks with Amanda Glassman, vice president for programs, director of Global Health Policy, and senior fellow at CGD, on CGD’s new book, “Millions…More


‘People like me don’t make things like that’: Participatory video as a method for reducing…

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A proposed cure for the jobless economy & citizen-less democracies

For today’s Humanosphere podcast, we’re talking with John Nichols and Robert McChesney about their new book People Get Ready. What they say we need to get ready for, to further riff off the 1960s’ song of the same name, is a citizen-less democracy fueling an increasingly jobless economy. That’s a mouthful we will unpack. Put simply,


CGD Blog Post, Podcast Discuss MCC’s New Strategic Plan

Center for Global Development’s “Rethinking U.S. Development Policy”: A Big, Bold Plan for MCC’s Future Sarah Rose, a CGD senior policy analyst, discusses MCC NEXT, the Millennium Challenge Corporation’s new strategic plan. “MCC should be applauded for its vision, and indeed there are a number of things to like about the plan. But the new…More


Global Health NOW Interviews Former WHO Communications Director Christy Feig

Global Health NOW: Christy Feig Q&A: Exit Interview, Part I “…Timely and accurate communications are essential, says Christy Feig, who recently stepped down as WHO’s director of communications after six years. Feig, now a vice president with Global Health Strategies, shares her lessons learned and her reflections on Ebola and Zika in this exit interview…More


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