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International Development 101 Student Blog

Through this blog, we invite International Development Students who are currently enrolled in INDEV 101 to explore and critically evaluate the key issues underlying the theory and practice of international development, and how they influence development outcomes and their consequences for society and environment. This blog is led, organised and edited by Prateep Kumar Nayak as part of his INDEV 101 course and the INDEV 101 Speaker Series which he has been hosting since 2014. Maria Minerva Carmona and Aleena Naseem are co-editors of the 2018 blogs.

Urban Development: Cities & Slums in the Global South

Guest Lecture: Food Security as an Outcome of Urban Vulnerability: The Case of Southern Africa

Prof. Bruce Frayne, our guest lecturer, is Director and Associate Professor in the School of Environment, Enterprise and Development. He is a geographer and urban planner, teaching in the International Development program at the University of Waterloo. His expertise is within the realm of sustainable cities and related areas of human migration, urbanization and food security. Prof. Frayne’s regional focus is Sub-Saharan Africa and China.

Governance & Development: The Issues with Watersheds & Deltas in India & Canada

We were privileged to have two guest speakers in the INDEV 101 class on Governance and Development. The two speakers, Pranab Choudhury and Evan Andrews, both talked about their experiences with water and watersheds in their respective areas of research. The many issues linked to the topic of governance and development that were spoken about by both speakers are also relevant to other topics on international development that were tackled throughout the term.

Environmental Justice: An Elusive Concept

Prof. Simron Singh, the INDEV 101 guest speaker this week, delivered a talk entitled “Yasunizar and Environmental Justice in the Ecuadorian Amazon”. Prof. Singh is a social/human ecologist and currently teaches sustainability concepts and methods for the MDP program at the University of Waterloo. Following are our reflections on the topic of environmental justice and development.

Changes in the Chilika Lagoon

Following are my reflections on the final lecture of Prof. Prateep Nayak for INDEV 101. He revisited the case of Chilika Lagoon, which was his point of departure in his first lecture for the Winter Term last January 2018. Prof. Nayak wrapped up the term by asking the class to discuss our chosen development issue and how we propose to address it, given the new insights and knowledge we have gained through the course.

Remittances: A Contributor to Development?

Dr. Mohammed Moniruzzaman is a PhD student in a joint Geography and Environmental Studies Program at the University of Waterloo and Wilfrid Laurier University. His talk about ‘Migration and Development’ during our INDEV 101 lecture was primarily focused on migration and food security linkages, more specifically the impact of migrants’ remittances on household food security in Bangladesh. 

In a World With Technology, Why is Hunger on the Rise?

On February 26th, 2018, the International Development 101 class was presented with a documentary as part of the Technology, Information, and Development lecture to connect the concepts learned in class to a development issue. The documentary entitled “Freedom from Famine: The Norman Borlaug Story” focused on Norman Borlaug, an American farmer who is credited with saving over a billion people from starvation. Borlaug studied a B.Sc in forestry and Ph.D. in plant pathology from where he later accepted an agricultural research position in Mexico. His research on the disease infested and dying crop supply of wheat in Mexico lead to the successful use of cross-breeding and genetically modifying the plant, saving billions from hunger (as mentioned in the film). Borlaug took his technological knowledge to contribute to the “Green Revolution”.

Conflict and Development

When asked if we can ever truly achieve peace, peace was compared to health by Nathan Funk, an associate Professor at Conrad Grebel University College in Peace and Conflict Studies. He illustrated peace as health, in that we need to always be striving towards it, always seeking to be better and to not give up on it. Nathan, during his presentation to the INDEV 101 class, presented the traditional African practices to illustrate his view of peace and conflict. Traditionally, many cultures have peace rituals to resolve conflict and to promote peace. One example given by Nathan to illustrate culturally-embedded conflict resolution measures was mato oput, or “drinking the bitter root.” This ritual is practiced in Uganda between the family of a victim of violence and child soldiers who had killed the family member. Drinking the bitter root symbolizes forgiveness from the family members and reconciliation between the two parties. This African practice serves as a reference for other nations and cultures to adopt. Sharing a moment between the victim and the perpetrator to move on from conflict, with mutual understanding, is crucial for conflict resolution and development.

Rural Development in an Increasingly Urbanized World

Rural Development in an Increasingly Urbanized World

Brock Dickinson is the Assistant Director of the Economic Development Program, the Entrepreneur in Residence and an Adjunct Professor with the University of Waterloo. He was the CEO of MDB Insight, has worked for the U.N., and helped with the development of many different communities, including his own community in Nova Scotia. Throughout his presentation to our INDEV 101 class, he spoke about dislocation, development, and opportunities relating to rural development. He provided great insight for us students as to what it is really like to develop rural communities and things to keep in mind for the future. Towards the end of the presentation, students had a chance to take part in an open discussion on outstanding questions.

Culture, Mental Health, and Development

INDEV 101 had the opportunity to hear from Michaela Hynie, a professor at York University. We had the pleasure of hearing her lecture on Culture and Development, and how it relates to her studies on mental health. Michaela Hynie is an accomplished professor at York University’s Faculty of Health, having received her Ph.D. at Mcgill University. She applies her studies of Psychology not only in her teaching, but in an upward of 30 publications and influential research.

Rampant Food Insecurity in Northern Manitoba First Nations Reserves

Here in southern Ontario, people have the luxury of having access every day, year round, to affordable food. People have the luxury of choosing where to buy food, at the prices they want to pay. There are tens of grocery stores in town, over three local farmers markets and almost every small corner convenience store sells milk, eggs and nonperishable food. With so many options available, it is easy to find food that meets the budget. Unfortunately, this is not the case all over Canada and in many northern indigenous communities, where limited access to food is a serious problem. To understand this problem further we watched a documentary Harvesting Hope: In Northern Manitoba Communities by Dr. Shirley Thompson in our International Development Issues class.