A Desperate Need for Cooperation

10 May

A good deal of this week’s news stories from the field seem to underscore the frustration that arises when practitioners are reminded of the fact that the work they carry out in the field can only go so far without concerted efforts from other sectors. Over the past few years, my professional and research interests have fallen into two primary categories: education for refugees and IDPs, and the ongoing struggle for LGBTI rights both here and around the world, particularly in regions where alternative sexualities are simply not tolerated (as if personal freedom was a thing that requires tolerance…). As I continue my job search, until I am hired, I am forced to learn of  how these issues are playing out on the other side of the globe through these bits of news. The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs has a great resource for humanitarian news and analysis called IRIN News,  which I highly recommend checking out if these issues interest you as well. The following is a short list of articles from IRIN and beyond that caught my eye this week:

1) The plight of LGBTI asylum seekers and refugees – This is a particularly striking topic considering the struggle of the LGBTI community in day to day life anywhere in the world. LGBTI identity in displacement adds layers of marginalization that do not seem to be adequately addressed. However, addressing such issues requires that a dialogue be generated in regions where displacement is commonplace, which is rarely the case. A perfect example of a failure to communicate, and failure to cooperate to make social progress the whole world over.

2) Countering the radicalization of Kenya’s youth – As the new Kenyatta government looks to decentralize Kenya, youth are turning to identities and occupations that are not only a result of the increasingly divided state of Kenya, but of the lack of focus on economic opportunities following what education they may or may not receive. The same has been seen in Sierra Leone a decade prior – hopefully Kenyan youth will not be sucked into the same fate.

3) ‘The Long Road Home to South Sudan‘ and ‘We Want to Go To Our Homeland‘ are both striking accounts of the thousands of Sudanese and South Sudanese caught in limbo as the long transition into independence continues to leave them trapped in protracted displacement. Fortunately, if my current career search has taught me anything, beyond the fact that it’s really hard to get a job, it’s that there are dozens of positions opening up every week to address the needs of these returnees and displaced – a sign that funding is being focused on these issues in both local civil society and among international bodies. Cheers to cooperation!

4) Syran Refugees in Jordan Struggle to Survive – A NYTimes piece this week that highlights many issues facing children and youth affected and displaced by the ongoing civil war in Syria – however, I can’t help but be a bit troubled by the vernacular used to describe these youth as a “lost generation.” This is defeatist language that I don’t think helps mobilize resources and efforts in the right direction.



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