Fuel-efficient Cookstoves: Old Solution or Novel Challenge?

Fuel-efficient cookstoves may relieve Darfur’s suffering. A “simple” idea makes a difference to vulnerable people in a region threatened by political violence and the climate crisis. Darfur offers a laboratory to test the success of the humanitarian response.

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This Photo by Unknown Author is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND

Despite the generosity of donor organizations and donor nations, people wonder where the money goes. Reports on Global Humanitarian Aid parse the funds, sources, targets, and met and unmet goals.

In 2013 alone, the most significant government contributors — the United States, United Kingdom, Turkey, Germany, Sweden, and Japan — provided US$19.7bn…


Introduction: Understanding the Idea of the Social Contract

The question of how to reconcile individual freedoms with political sovereignty has plagued humankind for centuries. Throughout the Enlightenment period, which spanned the seventeenth through nineteenth centuries, political and moral thinkers strove to address this very question. Ideas emerging throughout the Protestant Reformation of the sixteenth century, led by Martin Luther, helped cultivate the notion of innate equality and freedom amongst all individuals, problematizing prevailing beliefs in intrinsic inequality.

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Practitioners and scholars of Islam are also concerned about individual freedom and authority. Scholar Elizabeth Urban explores the meaning of the Qur’anic term mawlā (Arabic: مَوْلَى‎, plural mawālī (مَوَالِي)), a polysemous…


Updated: Jul 6

In recent months, COVID-19 has devastated the globe. But not all communities have borne the brunt of the pandemic equally. Aside from elderly individuals concentrated in retirement homes and community living facilities, the pandemic has taken a disproportionate toll on communities of color — particularly Black and Brown communities — in the United States, highlighting preexisting, deep-seated health inequities in this country.

We already discussed on our COVID-19 series part II, that, historically, in the wake of pandemics, xenophobia flourishes, famines, and multilateral wars may occur.

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Illustration: Mike Luckovich/The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Past pandemics exposed societal anomalies, fundamentally…


The ‘Chimera’ That Changed Human Social Norms

In part II of my COVID-19 series, I hope to explore, share, and start a conversation on the nature and dimensions of the current seismic shifts. This means examining the complicated situation presented by the current crisis and anticipating existential threats down the road. According to the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) at the University of Washington, the U.S. best-case-scenario prediction is 81,114 COVID-19 cumulative deaths by August 4, 2020, if STRICT lockdown and physical distance measures remain in place. …


Over 2,047,731 reported cases, over 133,354 reported deaths, and infected people on all continents — the coronavirus (COVID-19) remains a rapidly spreading threat since its first reported incidents in December 2019. Possibly two years away from an effective vaccine, dealing with COVID-19 has become a new normal. Figure 1 is an interactive web-based dashboard that illustrates the COVID-19 Global Cases in “near real-time” or “nearly real-time” (NRT).

Source: Reference: Dong E, Du H, Gardner L. An interactive web-based dashboard to track COVID-19 in real time. Lancet Infect Dis; published online Feb 19. https://doi.org/10.1016/S1473-3099(20)30120-1.

Globalization and ubiquitous communication spread myths and…


Organizations in the Journey to Self-Reliance

By Asaad Taha, Ph.D., PRINCE2®, MSP®

Self-reliance is a cornerstone of the United States’ culture and self-conception. The nation’s founders were avid advocates of Britain’s Adam Smith, France’s Jean Jacques Rousseau, and other contemporary liberal thinkers. Smith dared to free people from feudal binds asserting their rights to own property, pass it on, and act in their self-interest. Rousseau asserted the values of nature as the model of self-sufficiency. Washington, Jefferson, and Adams — farmers themselves — repeatedly praised the character of self-reliance.

The 18h-century American colonies were 150 years into their history as an experiment heavily dependent on agrarian…


Safeguard Every Dollar: towards a framework linking goodwill and the value for money

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The challenges wrought by today’s international humanitarian and development issues require a new strategic and systems thinking mindset. A worldview and a process, systems thinking can be used for both the development and understanding of a system, systems of systems and ecosystem as well as for approaching realized problems. The competency of systems thinking marks a dramatic shift from the linear or reductionist way of thinking currently used by social actors. However, we must first examine why and how funds are contributed.

In an ecosystem of war…


Safeguard Every Dollar: towards a framework linking goodwill and the value for money

By Asaad Taha, Ph.D., MSP®, PRINCE2®

Generous donors respond repeatedly to local and international pleas for support following human-made and natural catastrophes. They finance unresolved issues — relieving poverty, saving lives, reducing child and maternal mortality among the marginalized and disenfranchised. They also grant monies to social and economic crises, especially interests aligned with a cause, political, social impact actors, and Faith-Based Organizations (FBOs).

The individuals and taxpayers — providing the resources for government, charities, foundations, grantors, Non-governmental Organizations (NGOs), community-based organizations (CBOs) and other support agencies — contribute from the highest personal motives and interests. …


By Asaad Taha, Ph.D., MSP®, PRINCE2®

You may recall the Janjaweed Arab militia — An Armed Devil Mounted on a Horse? They have returned to Sudan. With the help of the Saudis and the Emirates, Hemeti, one of the heinous Janjaweed Commanders, is taking over Sudan and cracking down on the pro-democracy Sudanese people — slaughtering them in the street, tossing bodies into The Nile, raiding homes to arrest people, and defying the African Union.

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“Thowra!” the crowd shouts — Arabic for “revolution.”

Hemeti (aka. Muhammad Hamdan Dagalo) is a mercenary warlord fighting for money paid by outsiders. Among his crimes, Hemeti is responsible for importing child soldiers…


Asaad Taha, Ph.D., MSP®, PRINCE2®

Sudan has been categorized as a humanitarian emergency for decades. Since its independence in 1956, Sudan has experienced the protracted trauma of armed conflict, political instability, and natural disasters. Living with geopolitical turmoil at each of its borders for more than 50 years has led to pernicious corruption, erosion of state infrastructure, and the collapse of the civic services and economy. During the continuing desperation, the women of Sudan suffer unparallel abuse, most evident in their maternal mortality. …

Asaad Taha, PhD

A Social Entrepreneur | Futurist|Principal Advisor @ S4F™ Solutions™

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