In a recent paper on the concept of good development, I wrote this:
//A development project in Cote d'Iviore, a country that has faced a rise in gender based violence in the aftermath of war, simply provided women in three different villages cameras and asked them to "make a record of their daily lives" (Jones) as a way to "give them time... to discuss what they would like to change" (Jones). Women in all three of the villages—who at the beginning of the project “feared they couldn’t do what they would be asked to do” (Jones)— stood up in front of their villages, displayed their photos, and spoke for change (Jones). In one village—upon seeing a photo of a battered woman’s leg— the old chief called for violence of any kind to stop (Jones). In the second village, a woman who had been badly beaten by her husband showed her photos to the village and that night, “for the very first time, he gave her money to buy food for the children” (Jones). In the third village, where six different languages were spoken, the men were not so receptive—yelling over the women—but the women still spoke. Men, under the lens of a camera, learned to see themselves and to see their wives. Women holding a camera found their voices. While this approach might not work in the United States where photographs are often retouched and used to sell rather than to communicate, in Côte d'Ivoire a camera bridged some of the distance between men and women. Simply speaking in public “left the women exuberant” (Jones).// (Stokes)
We must pioneer ways for people to communicate and thus remind ourselves of our similarities rather than our differences: not to reduce speech, but to create more productive dialogue. By seeing each other as people instead of competition, by defining ourselves through similarities rather than differences, we can better our and one another's lives. I hope to use this class to produce space online that allows for this kind of productive interaction: a space where "people are reminded of their collective humanity and responsibility to that humanity" (Stokes).
Adams, Richard, and David Batty. "Jon Stewart Rally- As It Happened." The Guardian. 30 Oct. 2010. Web. 17 Jan. 2011
Jones, Ann. War Is Not Over When It's Over: Women Speak out from the Ruins of War. New York: Metropolitan, 2010. Print. 15-55.
Stengel, Richard. "After Tuscon." Time [New York]. 16 Jan 2011. 2. Print.
Stokes, Jessica S. "Good Development: Perception and Practice." International Grassroots Development. University of Michigan, 2012.