27 June 2012

British MP Voices Hatred for Aid Jargon

Tory Minister Alan Duncan is not a fan of jargon used by DfID. Like any good aid organization (or in my case, aid blogger) there are some important aidspeak terms that are necessary to any public communication or report.

In a pretty funny letter, Duncan lists some of these tried and true terms as examples of what he no longer wants to hear. They include:
  1. leverage
  2. mainstream
  3. grow economies
  4. going forward
  5. access
  6. catalyse
  7. showcase
  8. impact
  9. the humanitarian space
  10. resilience
He also goes into some grammar pet peeves such as, "He finds it annoying when conjunctions such as 'which' or 'that' are inexplicably dropped in a way which ruins the flow and logic of a sentence." It's worth reading Duncan's letter in its entirety. The phrasing is brilliant.

Bill Easterly collected an AidSpeak dictionary last fall through crowdsourced twitter entries. Highlights include:
“participation” : the right to agree with preconceived projects or programs -@edwardrcarr

“partnering with other institutions” : we’re raising barriers to entry – @JustinWolfers

“political will” : I have no comprehension of the incentives faced by the people who I wish would do stuff I want @m_clem
What are some other favorites that are missing from Duncan's letter and Easterly's list. I have to admit that I am guilty of using 'humanitarian space' or some form of that phrase all too often. It's also good to see the word du jour, resilience, make the list.

Add your favorites in the comments section.