Looks like victory for Kenya’s new constitution

Early results indicate that the new constitution has passed with about 67% of the vote. The “No” team has conceded defeat. On the whole, the referendum went rather smoothly. It wasn’t perfect of course: see uchaguzi for reports of various incidents. But things went pretty darn well. The twitter feed for #kenyadecides was crazy all day, with frequent re-tweets for:

An #Uchaguzi SMS report: “Woman goes into labour at Kabete polling station. Voters have pre-named the baby ‘Red Wafula Green” #kenyadecides

Ah, isn’t that cute? Without much other excitement on that front, I’ve been catching up on my reading. Here are a few highlights:

  • I’ve always had a nagging feeling that social change organizations have a poor understanding of causality. This fascinating post at Wanderlust addresses that issue with an eye toward humanitarian responses. It lays out a framework in which situations are chaotic, complex, complicated or simple, depending on how factors influence each other. Then it goes one step further, in describing the strategic and operational implications for an aid organization. The framework also relates to recent discussions on this blog and others about the narratives used by policy advocates. (The Wanderlust post is long but worth the read; I actually had it starred in my inbox for a month before finally getting around to it, and I’m glad I did. Few blog writings do such a good job of moving between the conceptual and the practical. Five stars.)
  • From last week’s Economist: Brazil’s Bolsa Família has provided a model that is now a common tool for fighting poverty. Such conditional cash transfer (CCT) programs have been exported to many countries. However, they have their limits: they work well for tackling the problems of scarcity common in rural areas, but have less impact when facing the social problems that complicate urban poverty. (Actually, what interests me most is just that the Economist chose to run a “leader” story on CCTs. When I saw the headline, I worried that it meant CCTs were becoming an over-hyped, panacea solution — like microfinance, elections, or social enterprise before them. Fortunately, the magazine warns against exactly that. Let’s hope we can listen.)
  • Other interesting articles from the Economist: The legal profession is globalizing, slowly. Also, you’re paying credit card fees — even when you don’t use a credit card. And finally: a rise in labor unrest in China will lead to higher incomes for Chinese workers, and then higher consumption, which will be good for the world economy.
  • Also on the “around the web” theme: see my earlier post (below) covering the recent debate on the Multidimensional Poverty Index.

In addition to reading (oh yeah, and working…), I’ve been enjoying my newfound access to American television programs on the “Armed Forces Network” TV. The public service announcements are especially telling. They clearly target US military service members and their families around the world. Common topics include: health, especially eating habits; living courteously in foreign countries; getting legal advice for adopting foreign children; getting financial advice for avoiding credit card debt; preventing/responding to sexual harrassment; and reporting fraud. Interpret as you will.

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