Nobody inside the organization will give my ideas much time. And the various journals publishing on the humanitarian front prefer researched articles, complete with facts and other annoyances. There doesn’t seem to be a home for opinion, both unadulterated and dressed up as some sort of fact, especially if it runs contrary to the mainstream currents of aid discourse. So I’ve been meaning to put some ideas out there for quite some time.
DISCLAIMER(S). I worked for MSF from 1999 until last Friday (28 Feb 2014), including six years as the director of MSF’s UK office. Any expectation that the ideas contained in this blog are somehow related to the positions of the organization is misplaced. These are my ideas, not MSF’s. Well-nourished by my experience in MSF and constrained by the amount of time I am able to spend reading anything of interest (i.e., not my inbox), not to mention the competing with one of those 23-mission-aid-worker blogs when I sit behind a desk.
CREDENTIALS. As you’ve guessed, I’m not one of those 23-mission aid nomads, having been stuck in MSF offices for the better part of the last 13 years. I have managed to catch malaria, worms, and at least 10 bouts of amoebic dysentery (mostly, though, in my youth as a Peace Corps volunteer in Burkina Faso). I’ve eaten lots of icky stuff that was not served in the Dutch office’s canteen. I’ve stepped foot twice in Darfur and have been yelled at by Sudanese officials. Several aid industry big wigs once agreed with a point I made at a conference. I shook hands with Pastor Ntoumi deep in the jungle of Pool Province. That sums it up. Prior to aid work my life included bartending in NYC, civil rights litigation in New Orleans, and a lot of frisbee throwing and backgammon in New Haven. I am now based in London, occasionally dabble in writing fiction.
Thanks for reading.