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moving from charity to justice

March 7, 2011


Jonathan Glennie posted an interesting blog post this morning on the Poverty Matters blog of the Guardian this morning, questioning the separated nature of discussions around poverty and (social) development in developing and developed countries. Rather than providing aid to developing countries on charitable grounds, he argues that we should rather cooperate on grounds of justice as we are all struggling with similar issues. The latter being even more pertinent now in times of austerity, growing unemployment and financial hardship for many. I agree and have asked myself similar questions over the last month: to what extent do ‘our’ questions about social and child protection really differ from those in developing countries? Read my comment on Jonathan’s blog:

Thank you for this interesting and timely piece of thought. Being part of the community working in ‘development’, I have asked myself similar questions recently and wondered about the degree to which the issues we are working on are really so much different from the issues in the countries that we are working from (being based in the UK).

Working primarily on issues around social protection and child policy, we talk about the creation of linkages between programmes and sectors, the importance of case management and putting in place the right incentives. But how much of that do we actually get right in our countries? How often do we here about social or child protection services having failed due to a lack of communication or cooperation? And we are far from reaching any consensus about the ‘getting off welfare and back into work’ debate, here in the UK as well as in Europe.

So yes, less of a dichotomy between the worlds of ‘development’ and, in my case, more mainstream or broader discussions of social policy, protection and welfare does not only make sense but seems to be a necessary way to align interests and move from charity to justice.

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