21 February 2012

Best Blog Series: It's Like Two for the Price of One, but Better

The aid blog sensation Stuff Expat Aid Workers that captured the hearts and minds of former and current expat aid workers ran away with the title of best series. What started as a joke on twitter blossomed into a collaboration between J and Shotgun shack that now includes 138 things expat aid workers like from a swath of contributors and even a resident cartoonist.

The final tally:

Brett Keller - Machine Gun Preacher -11.2%
Dave Algoso - Aid Blog Survey Results - 7.8%
Stuff Expat Aid Workers Like (in its entirety)50.1%
Development Impact - The Impact of Economic Blogs - 22.8%
More Altitude - Becoming an Aid Worker - 8.1% 

From one of SEAWL's most popular posts #12: Establishing Field Cred
One way of establishing field cred early on is introducing yourself by where you used to be first, and then where you work now. “Hi, I’m Joe and I was based in Kosovo for awhile, but now I’m working as a Project Technical Field Support Administrator (eg, Text Bitch) at UN Agency #2″ or “I’m Joanne. I lived in a rural community with no electricity or running water in Zambia for 3 years before starting my current position as Resource Mobilization and Grant Support Systems Deputy Assistant Manager (eg., Spreadsheet Bitch) at Big Organization Zero.”

Another way to drop in hints that you’ve spent time “in the field” is to seek out participants who are not native English speakers and talk to them in a language other than English when people are around to hear you. You can also drop hints that you’ve got field cred by always pronouncing the names of cities and countries the way a local would (eg., Nee-ka-ra-wa instead of Nik-uh-rah-gwa).

A good facilitator will make it easier for ex-EAWs and current EAWs alike to establish field cred by opening a workshop or meeting with an icebreaker that allows people to mingle while answering a question like “What was the most dangerous and difficult job you’ve ever had?” or asking people to line up according to the length of time lived in a “developing country” or spent in a war or disaster zone. Another good practice for facilitators is simply allowing a slightly longer time for introductions, and having participants list off their favorite job ever, and why. This allows people to share not only the most difficult country they’ve lived in, but also to express their passion and experience in specific areas like “working with victims of torture in Afghanistan,” or “supporting women rape survivors in the DRC.”
and now your ABBA: