Wednesday, 27 May 2009

Exploding Juice Bottles

Because of my library rage, the campus shops closed and all, in need of food and drink to stay awake and energised, I seem to be hoarding snacks and liquids in my bag. And being as scatterbrained as I am, I forget about it. Hence, I have a case of surplus edibles in my book bag and exploding juice bottles. This has happened twice now. An orange juice bottle from Pret exploded twice in my bag. Surprisingly, my books and notes were not seriously damaged.

Here I am waiting to go into my NGOs as Development Agencies exam. This is the last exam. I am thoroughly disinterested at this point. I wrote a lot of notes, re-read old notes and, cussed at the useless lecture notes. I have been in the library everyday however, I don't feel like I have thoroughly prepared for this exam. I wasted too much time reading the first two units which I thought would be useful given I had never read them. It was very important to have the initial readings for all my other courses. However, I find that it was a useless waste of time for this particular course. The texts are the usual moaning about the advent of neo-liberal ascendency. The rise of NGOs, therefore, was not an accident. There were readings on the neo-liberal state, how we survived capitalism, the hollow assumptions and claims of the current mainstream discourse and its emphasis on institution-making/strengthening, how in fact most developing countries are more institutionally advanced then were developed countries at a comparable stage of economic development and so on. It is all very good but unfortunately the question papers do not really address that per se.

Because I am so tired at this point and unmotivated, I hope conflict and NGOs comes up ii) accountability/performance comes up and iii) relationship between north/south NGOs. It is a 2-hour paper and I have 2 questions to choose from 6. I hope I remember all I have read and, I will try to beef up the answers with my extensive knowledge! I will use the DDRR programme, my capacity assessments/monitoring of NGOs, 'developing' the local NGO sector, our (UNDP) business-like procurement/contracting of local NGOs, and the World Bank infrastructure projects I was involved with.

Let's hope it goes well. I could be unkind at this point and say it was a very useless class, a bit boring and not dynamic enough. Our professor is a really kind and sweet lady however she did not really have extensive knowledge of the workings of NGOs in the international context - at least I did not feel so. Her experience and passion was limited to her research in Iran, Afgahnistan and Pakistan. Moreover, this was a class for undergrads and postgrads! The relief is that it was one of the 'easier' classes to handle and get through.

This is my new exam strategy for any question that comes up: how dare you ask me that, how very dare you! That's a personal question.

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