Why its time for public involvement in ‘Aid Reform’

The last couple of years have been indelibly marked by uncompromising civic calls for social, political and environmental justice. In 2019 millions took to the streets in 185 countries worldwide to participate in what would be the largest climate protests ever. In 2020 the murder of George Floyd by the US state police re-sparked the Black Lives Matter movement, becoming the biggest in US history and giving rise to protests and reckonings globally, leaving no sector untouched. Sales of anti-racism literature skyrocketed, and ‘decolonisation’ escaped the cage of academia to make…

A Great British Illusion

“I know my class. And I wouldn’t want to go above it.” He explained, yet added (the largely disproven): “at least in this country it’s possible to move above your class and advance yourself.”

My Dad was born in the East End of London, he left school at 15 and spent the rest of his working life holding various factory jobs. I’ve always called him Daddy — clumsily transplanted from Guyanese culture, where parents are Mummy and Daddy for life. It could never be Mummy and Dad, so Daddy it has always been. Given the Guyanese…

Why does the sound of ‘accountability’ ring so flat when it is uttered in Aid circles? Why is it often considered to be yet another meaningless buzzword? What happened to the sense of justice the word alludes to? Who sanitized its purpose?

It is a brazen and an open fact — that when you look closely — accountability in the aid sector bears little true resemblance to its definition.

In line with definitions elsewhere (See here on the definition of accountable and this on accountability culture), the Core Humanitarian Standard use the following:

“Accountability: the process of using power responsibly…

Another aid word that has seen its day.

Field: (noun) An area of open land, especially one planted with crops or pasture, typically bounded by hedges or fences.

It is not a controversial assertion that language matters.

In a few short illuminating weeks many people, and I include myself, managed to grasp the importance of capitalising B in Black — so why then despite it being the subject of discussion for some years does the term ‘field’ still enjoy so much air-time in the aid community?

Here in 2016, a secret aid worker writing for the Guardian sums up the definition of ‘the field’ as:

“a fabrication, a social construct to separate us (those writing policies in comfortable offices in supposedly superior, civilised western capitals) from them (our…

Do you need TV and carpet to be cosy or is it something more?

Home is not quite cosy. Something is off.

Perhaps this is an itch partially inherited from our time in the land of Hygge. The Danish version of cosy is well hyped and not completely without reason. Someone once told me that Danes know by the glow from the window whether the inhabitant is Danish or foreign — soft yellow hues indicating the former. White light would never cut it.

Soft sheepy furnishings add a further touch of comfort during the cold winter months. Further claimed expressions…

Race and identity when there is more than meets the eye

I am ‘white passing.’

I noticed the term used recently on social media and I admit I had to google it. I have lived all my life devoid of a label that represents my experience as a white skinned person born of a brown mother and a white father. And now, arriving very late to the party (the term dates back to the 18th Century), I have one.

White Passing: Someone who is biracial, but is mostly recognized as white, and reaps the benefits of white privilege (Urban dictionary).

My gut reaction to my ‘new’ found label initially was to rebuff it. Firstly, for labels sake. The inability to be neatly categorised has often suited me just fine. The polarising worlds…

Local Outreach (Barcelona)

For the first time in our lifetimes, we have experienced a collective crisis that affects every country and every person on the planet — albeit to varying degrees. Life, as it was known, ground to a halt and despite its recent resumption we are yet to fully comprehend the trajectory of the path we are on. We don’t know enough about a Covid resurgence. We don’t know when a vaccine will be available. And we don’t know the extent of the economic fallout and its snowballing humanitarian consequences.

Some things, about the ways in which society and its godlike systems…

My children, Savi (4) and Eloy (1), along with eight million across Spain, have been confined to their home since the 14th of March as part of what is considered to be ‘Europe’s strictest lockdown.’ Sunday was their first trip out in six long weeks.

For me, as a relative newcomer, these weeks have been insightful. Coronavirus has achieved the rapid stripping of superficial impressions and laid bare the social dynamics and relationships that underpin life here. From the way children are perceived to the country’s relationship with welfare, government decisions, both central and regional, have been telling.

As I…

Views from our neighbourhood in bright, bustling, not so communally minded, Barcelona.

The following is a piece I wrote in the pre-corona days - a mere couple of months (lifetime) ago. The days when I could take myself off to a cafe for the luxury of thinking / writing / figure my life out /me time. After procrastinating on it for weeks, I considered scrapping it entirely and starting again through a corona lens, but I think that warrants a part 2 of its own. …

Reflections on the decision making for open reviews.

For the past month re:viewed has been working with Koosh in Athens to recruit and train facilitators and reach out to organisations in the lead up to this weeks pilot project. Facilitators are currently collecting feedback from refugees about aid services, both generally in and around Athens, and about services provided by specific organisations. We have started to publish the feedback that is coming in via the online forms, and in a week or so will start to share the feedback collected in person.

In the lead up, we reached out to…

Tina Mason

Observing, writing, creating, raising humans.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store