My name is Elsie.

My purpose is social justice, creativity and communication. In the context of this blog that means calling out the patriarchal, white supremacist, neoliberal, global system of political, economic and societal oppression designed to create poverty and inequality. I want to question and challenge the powerful narratives that connect us all and bind us to our struggles. I believe that it is only a collective recognition of our interconnectedness to each other and nature; working together to dismantle the international system; and striving for reparative and restorative justice and beautiful alternatives that will create a more beautiful, equitable world.

Despite deeply respecting the values of altruism, solidarity and support that are superficially and generally associated in the mainstream with international development, my opinion is that the reality is actually very different.

‘International development’ is a concept I have questioned since I was very young – at school aged 12 I wrote a research project questioning the ‘post’-colonial (I believe colonialism lives on) global debt crisis and at university I investigated the ethics of UK foreign aid being spent in our national interest. In March 2014 I started this blog to be a critical and honest exploration of ‘international development’, including its practices, theory, ethics, motivations and discourse.

It’s been an incredible journey, and it may not be apparent in my rudimentary writing, but I feel I’ve come a long way since my first ever post two years ago about the stereotypes that ‘international development’ creates and perpetuates. Through conversations, listening, reading and researching; the narrow focus I began with has blown wide open, It seems as though the last six months in particular have been an epic journey in self-awareness, going into dark places and sitting with discomfort and learning, de-learning and relearning about things I thought I ‘knew’ – this has been the year of beginning to attempt to understand ‘me’ and how I fit into a world that’s both terrifyingly painful and exquisitely beautiful.

My intention for the next six months at least is more consistency, more creativity and more engagement, both with readers and also with others who share similar perspectives. As always I’ll strive to improve my writing skills with thorough research and posts that are concise and accessible. I also hope that others will join me in contributing to these important conversations.

I really appreciate you being a part of this journey, for reading my lengthy (and sometimes ranty) posts, for commenting, giving feedback and contributing to these conversations. Please continue to do so, and, if you have a passion for these issues too, please do write to me with your own thoughts and articles – I’ll be only too happy to include them.


7 thoughts on “About

  1. Hi Elsie. ‘Socially rich’, yes I guess we overlook that (or anything of values) quite often these days. And while I don’t have any clue where this blog is going, I do think that this is a very good idea.

    One small stuff, though. When speaking, we use (among others) ‘sound’ (tone, stress, whatever), right? When writing, we go visual. So to make it more visual-friendly, maybe you’d like to break down your paragraph(s) sometimes (you have one here that has almost a thousand words). Play with space(s) and/or some separating symbol (‘***’ etc). It sure could make a complex idea looks/feels easier to munch on (and more inviting/welcoming), I guess. Check my latest post ‘tahun baru’ should you feel like to (no need to comment, I speak Startrek 🙂 ) Cheers!

    • Dear kutukamas,

      Thank you SO much for your constructive and valuable feedback – you are so right and it is much appreciated. I definitely need to work on making my writing more succinct and easy to read!

      I’ve taken a bit of an unintended break from blogging as I’ve been working bits and pieces out in my head. But you have given me food for thought and I am very grateful to you for taking the time to respond.

      Thank you,


  2. Hi, Elsie, I like your blog. I’ve lived and worked in Africa for 25 years and have seen the effects of many “development” programs funded by politically minded donors, managed by clueless outsiders, guided by elite insiders with almost no lasting effect on communities, except to disempower or colonize them. Personally, I feel we need more “gardeners” and less technocrats in this lush, social garden. Nice to see someone asking the kind of questions that you do, so keep it up. Bon courage!

    • Dear Robert. Thank you so much for getting in touch and for your supportive comments, it really means a lot, particularly on a challenging day. I’m really interested in showcasing other people’s thoughts and experiences on this blog, so please feel free to contribute if you’d like to. Warmest regards and thanks again. x

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s