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Talk:Open development and open aid

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Name: Open Development or Open Aid?[edit source]

Is "Open Development" the most appropriate name? It seemingly precludes any relevance to complex emergencies, humanitarian relief and early recovery (to name a few). A page/project named "Open Aid" is more inclusive of these other activities.

A few points in this regard:

1. Inevitably, discussions within "Open Development" will arrive at the topic of Darfur/Somalia/Iraq/Afghanistan, at which point the comments and suggestions of actual aidworkers will be helpful, many of whom toil in circumstances very much removed from the definition of "development".

2. Many critics of aid are fond of prefacing their comments with caveats such as, "my criticism applies only to bilateral aid" etc. This is nonsense. Aid is aid is aid. The political ethos that influences bilateral aid also influences humanitarian relief because at the end of the day, its all (more or less) coming from the same donor.

3. Early Recovery represents the merging of development strategies and relief tactics in order to more sustainably deliver aid to situations of protracted crisis (Darfur, Somalia, Iraq...). Its not "post-conflict" rehabilitation--technical experts restoring society back to "normalcy"; its not "post-conflict" reconstruction--technical solutions remaking society into another Dubai; Its participatory recovery in the very midst of conflict--solutions designed and developed by actors accountable to aid constituents. For that reason, no, its not development, and no its not relief, rather it is a blending of both, at the same time.

Change the name to "Open Aid" and open the discussion up to everyone. Smaller branches "bilateral"/"development"/"relief"/"recovery" can be created if specialization is needed.

Joelio 16:53, 12 July 2009 (UTC)

Thanks, Joelio. Terminology is often a problem - here are my initial thoughts:
  • "open development" is a term that is already in use. Of course, that's not an adequate reason to stick to it.
  • Development isn't a subset of aid - rather, they are overlapping concepts. Some of the most interesting development is that which is not characterized as foreign aid, and may not be a result of foreign assistance at all. CLTS is an interesting example of a non-subsidy based approach which uses limited external assistance (facilitation only) and which as a result has been copied by other communities without a direct external influence.
  • I think you make a strong case for "Open Aid". Some of what has been talked about as open development (including by groups like aidinfo) either fits into the overlap, or better fits as Open Aid.
  • So how do we organize the pages? I'd suggest Open aid and development for the overlap, and for general principles that apply to both; and then pages for Open aid and Open development.
As I say, these are my initial thoughts. I'm open to changing my views.
Early Recovery sounds very promising. As I understand it, participation is often a good predictor of success for development projects... successfully applying it to aid/emergency situations sounds very challenging, but I'm glad that someone is doing it. --Chriswaterguy 17:18, 12 July 2009 (UTC)
Chriswaterguy, you make a very important counterpoint: "Some of the most interesting development is that which is not characterized as foreign aid, and may not be a result of foreign assistance at all". Your solution, Open aid and development, may be better, especially if the desire is to attract and include diverse perspectives. Debates on terminology can carry on for quite a long time, but I'm curious if "humanitarianism" would capture the ethos of your Open aid and development suggestion..?
Joelio 17:34, 12 July 2009 (UTC)
I'll be interested in other input... I'm comfortable with Open aid and development. I wonder what humanitarianism implies to others? You're right, debates on terminology can become very lengthy. No need to nail it down now though - it's easy to move a wiki page later, and also easy to briefly note differing terminologies in a section near the top.--Chriswaterguy 18:00, 12 July 2009 (UTC)