Making Sense of Complexity: Review of SenseMaker for Development

This short article reviews unique strengths and areas to be aware of when using SenseMaker for development research.  SenseMaker is a research tool designed for social complexity.  It fits a unique niche. Firstly, its indicators are easily visualized and dis-aggregated which makes it ideal for pragmatic development needs.  Secondly, answers to questions emerge from peoples’ experiences which increases trustworthiness of the data.  Thirdly, it asks questions in such a way that causes people to answer based on complexity science principlesRead more

Resilience, Capabilities and Complexity: The face of bouncing-back.

Resilience is the ability for people to self-organize their capabilities and bounce-back after a shock.   The human capabilities and development approach (i.e. Sen, Nussbaum, Alkire and others) is helpful in understanding resilience in a human centered way.  Connecting capabilities to resilience leads to understanding which capabilities are most vital for people to secure in order to bounce-back and flourish.  This is different from a perspective that places economic development -Livelihood- as the ends rather than the means towards resilience.  This shift may seem subtle but it is substantialRead more

Islam, Human Capabilities and Development: A perspective from Basilan, Mindanao

Islam is important to development because it is important to people. The Islamic discourse –often defined differently by different groups- guides how people develop. This article shows that for many people Islam guides the development or lack of development of their capability domains. An understanding of Islam and development derived from the Yakan can guide development policy and practice in Mindanao as well as inform the larger Islam and development discussion. There are approximately 181,000 Yakan.  The Yakan live inRead more

Who is Vulnerable? Vulnerability and Disasters in the Pacific

It was a hot and muggy day. I listened to people recount stories of their experience of the flash flood that had happened six months earlier. One man who had previously lost his legs stated, “When the flood happened my family carried me and ran.” He went onto talk about how powerless and fragile it made him feel. Not only could he not help his loved ones as they fled, but saving him had also become a struggle for them.Read more

The Respect Principle -Fertile or Corrosive- Key to Peace in Mindanao

This article explores the idea of the respect principle which if understood -in policy and development practice- would have major impact for peace in Mindanao.  Short-term justice must look towards long-term flourishing. Nine months ago, I did research titled “Flourishing Amid Conflict” in Mindanao. Within this research, I worked with Yakan (residents of Basilan Island with a majority of Yakans identifying as Muslim by birth and choice). They defined what they viewed as the good life. The participants explained howRead more

Degrees of Separation and Disaster Response in the Pacific

The theory of “six degrees of separation” is people connect to each other –globally- within a chain of six relationships. In the Solomon Islands there is a smaller degree of separation. The smaller degree of separation affects the social impact of disasters. Currently, the concepts in this article are based on observation. Further research -to create a base of evidence- is needed to validate or invalidate solutions I pose. Flash Flood in the Solomon Islands April 3, 2014 there wasRead more