Maybe I am just too idealistic. Perhaps principles that I think are important just get in the way. It might be time to return to the good old days! Or maybe I am naive and failing to recognise "what it takes" to "get things done".
I am going to make this anonymous because I am sure that what I am about to describe happens all of the time and I am sure that those of us from the North (New Zealand is, I guess, a Northern country!) have all done what I am about to describe (mea culpa!).
Recently I was introduced to details of a private meeting related to the communication and media for development field.
That meeting will attempt to sort out, as described to me, overall funding priorities (both allocation of existing resources and attraction of new resources) for our field.
A number of important funders will be present.
The rest of the participation is almost exclusively people from major Northern NGOs.
The venue is a European city.
There are three days of meeting with an agenda.
A major focus will be Africa and South Asia.
Every session (with maybe one exception) will be led by a North American or European (UK included).
It looks like 90% of the panellists are European and North American.
I have not seen a participants’ list but it is a small meeting, and most people will contribute in some way it seems, so I have a good feel for who will be there.
In this day and age, with all that we know about effective development practice, and the principles of Southern leadership being so important, is there not something wrong here?
Perhaps we have not moved as far as we all think from the days of a kind of development process in which those in the rich countries tried to figure out how to "fix" Africa and other "developing" countries.
Or maybe I am just hopelessly naive - or worse - hypocritical.
But seeing the details of this meeting - on paper - in black and white (metaphor intended) sure is jarring.
It certainly makes you think.
What do you think?