It is easy to feel overwhelmed or in a state of panic considering all the bad news pouring in about the state of the world.
Recently, World Wildlife Fund launched their annual Living Planet Report. According to the report, vertebrates (animals with backbones) have declined by 60 per cent in 40 years.
We cannot survive without nature, and we are part of it, whether we live on Greenland or in a skyscraper in a mega city. Nature is not something “out there”. [Read more…]
The more or less only thing international media reported on during the recent election campaign in Sweden, was the increased support for the right-wing party, the Swedish Democrats. How could this happen? In harmonic, prosperous Sweden? The home of ABBA and IKEA?
The obvious answer is, of course, the huge amount of migrants from, mainly, Muslim countries. This peaked during 2015. But Sweden has received many thousands of refugees from, among others, Iraq in the years before that. Too many of the migrants have not integrated well into society. With high unemployment, crime gangs and burning cars as a result. [Read more…]
Watching the final debate between the leaders of the political parties in Sweden, my reflection was a very different one from the one that was dominant in the media.
I started to imagine what it would be like for someone in a country like Guatemala, to follow the Swedish election campaign.
For those of you who are not updated: Sweden held its national elections two weeks ago. The mayor, governing party since World War II has been the Social Democratic party. And in later decades interchangeably, centre-right coalitions. What was new this year was the increased support for the anti-immigration party, the Swedish Democrats. The only sensational thing happening in responsible, but oh so dull Swedish politics for decades.
I have lived in Guatemala, but it is just an example of a country that is officially a democracy. But where power and wealth are in the hands of a minor elite, while larger parts of the population live in poverty. Corruption and impunity is rife. Most people on this planet live in malfunctioning countries like that; or in countries where you are not even able to vote.
For those of you not familiar with the term Political Correctness:
Here is a definition from the Cambridge Dictionary:
“Someone who is politically correct believe that language and actionsthat could be offensive to others, especially those relating to sex and race, should be avoided.”
Political correctness (PC) is about silencing what does not pleases us. That does not mean it will go away. Racism does not go away because you start to call people apples instead of oranges. Sexual harassment does not go away, because you decide on a new policy or a Code of Conduct.
The concept is very much a Western creation, but according to my experience you can find it any culture, just in different forms and under a different name.
I regularly amuse myself, especially in other countries, with making observations about people’s behaviour.
Everybody makes these observations. And are often eager to share them with compatriots or other expats: “Can you believe what I saw them do!!??!!”.
But have you ever been thinking that such observations may be useful to your work?
That they may be just as good a guideline as any country report?
Such observations can be even more useful when you compare countries. Making you understand why what worked in one country may not in another.
Observed Differences Between two “C” Countries: Colombia and Cambodia
In Colombia, most street vendors and taxi drivers have change. In Cambodia never.
People should be evalutated on whether or not they positively influence others
My last article was about the consequences of hiring jerks. This article is about a few simple steps to avoid them.
Often some form of so-called soft skills are included among the requirments in a job advertisement. (Why are they called soft, when they are essential?) Still, most recruitment processes tend to focus on skills and experience.
The argument against hiring for character traits or attitude is that it is too complicated, too expensive or too something else.
So what can you do about it? If you are working with HR, part of any interview panel or otherwise engaged in recruitment.
Or perhaps you simply want to have a say, because you have experienced too many failed recruitments, too many promotions for the wrong reasons. And worked with too many managers, “bosses” or “heads” that are jerks or close to.
I have worked for “experienced” heads of offices of international organisations, who would have been fired if they had worked for a remote municipality in Lapland.
There are 3 simple things you can do or suggest no matter your position in an organization. And you can implement or suggest them with without needing much experience in recruiting. [Read more…]
This is not another article about sexual harassment. But about its wider consequences for the aid sector. It is about the fact that a person cannot exploit and harass certain individuals, while at the same time exercise integrity and leadership.
Because as Gandhi said:
One man cannot do right in one department of life whilst he is occupied in doing wrong in another department. Life is one indivisible whole
I would not trust a person widely known to harass women, or men, if he speaks about the importance of “establishing trust with local communities.”
Harassment is just part of a rather dirty package. It affects the performance of the whole organisation; and what has now become obvious, as part of the latest harassment revelations: the whole aid industry. [Read more…]
Cambodia and My Bad Excuses
Reading about the coming national elections in Cambodia, and the crackdown on the media and the opposition; I was thinking about the last election in 2013. At the time I was in Cambodia. Still, I regret that I did not do anything to show my support for those who stood up against Prime Minister Hun Sen and his party. They have been ruling Cambodia for more than thirty years. And Cambodia is ranked as number 161 out of 180 in terms of corruption.
There is no guarantee that the opposition party would have fared any better regarding human rights or corruption. But the protests were just as much about people’s right to protest.
Still, I did nothing, and that was the case, as far as I know, with most expatriates. I was thinking: ”I am only a guest here”, “they can send me out”, “my support would not make a difference anyway”, among the bad excuses I came up with.
I was just sitting indoors during Sunday demonstrations, sniffing the tear gas; or listening to the organized street rallies by the ruling party. Rallies with, probably, paid “supporters” on scooters and open trucks. [Read more…]