Confessions of a gender advisor: Why I avoid the word “empowerment”

February 27, 2020
Sabine Garbarino is an independent gender and inclusion consultant specialising in economic development programming. I have a confession: I’ve recently banned colleagues at a private sector development programme in Liberia from using the term empowerment or women’s economic empowerment or WEE.  Here is why (and it’s not just my personal dislike of an unfortunate abbreviation):  Language matters Over the last years, I’ve noticed
Featured image for “Who is an expert?”

Who is an expert?

October 23, 2019
In this meta-reflection for Power Shifts, Farida Bena urges us to rethink what expertise means within the development and aid sector, and to address the organizational and structural barriers that hinder the transformation of this concept into a more justice-oriented one

What Brits say v What they mean: a handy translation guide

January 17, 2019
The BBC was kind enough to link to one of my posts this weekend – cue big bump in traffic. Unsurprisingly, it was not some worthy discussion of adaptive management, or research for impact, but a funny: A handy guide for our fellow Europeans, and others trying to fathom weaselly Brit-speak, first published in 2011. Seems particularly relevant to the

Which Devspeak horror words topped the poll + some v interesting comment threads

October 3, 2018
It was only intended as a bit of Friday fun, but last week’s post on which devspeak words you would most like to ban generated such interesting comments that it warrants a follow up. First up, the people have spoken. After 500 votes, ‘beneficiaries’ and ‘the field’ are the clear joint winners in the hall of devspeak shame, well ahead

A lesson on power and the abstruse (or a love-peeve relationship Part 2)

December 7, 2016
Duly provoked by yesterday’s assault on IDS’ use of language, John Gaventa responds with a really nice story/rebuttal As ever, we are delighted to see Duncan Green’s interesting and incisive blog on the new IDS Bulletin on Power, Poverty and Inequality. In talking about what he calls his ‘love – peeve’ relationship with IDS, Duncan raises important questions of language

Is the Buzzword mightier than the Sword?

December 1, 2008