Join us over at Google Groups

September 2, 2012

You may have noticed that I am no longer posting messages on this WordPress Blog.  However, I do post messages on Google Groups — anyone can read the messages that I have been posting on  CRDA Deborah & Alice Leadership & Communication Almost 600 messages have been posted there over the last 5 years.  All messages are archived and can be searched from the link above, using the standard Google search techniques.  You can also request membership of the Google Group if you would like to receive the messages in your Inbox — just follow the instructions at the link above.

Review: Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide by Prof Valerie Nash Chang

May 5, 2010

Professor Valerie Chang

Valerie Nash Chang received her PhD in social work from the University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana.  A member of the Indiana University School of Social Work faculty since 1980, she is currently a full professor emeritus.  She received eight teaching awards including the prestigious President’s Award for Teaching Excellence, mentors doctoral students and beginning faculty, and developed the Indiana University School of Social Work PhD course on teaching in social work which she now teaches at Addis Ababa University in Ethiopia.  Dr. Chang has worked on many grants, written three books and numerous articles published in referred journals, and presented more than forty papers at major conferences.

(Note: One copy of Half the Sky is in the AAU School of Social Work Library (Akaki Campus) and one copy in the AAU School of Journalism & Communication Library (Sidist Kilo Campus).)

Review: Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide

Prof Valerie Nash Chang

Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide, by the Pulitzer Prize-winning husband-and-wife journalists Nicholas D. Kristof  and Sheryl WuDunn, is probably the most important and influential book I have read in a very long time.  Story by story the book tells the reader about the many forms of oppression and abuse suffered by women in the world today.  In Half the Sky the authors present vivid tales of atrocities such as sex trafficking; on-going physical and psychological abuse; violent, brutal gang rapes; maternal mortality; obstetric fistula; and acid attacks.  Each portrayal brings to life not only the horror these women faced but also their amazing resilience, ingenuity, strength, resourcefulness, and ability to lift themselves out of awful situations.

Several of the stories focus on young women from Ethiopia.  As a thirteen-year-old seventh grade girl living in rural Ethiopia, Woineshet was kidnapped, battered, and raped by a group of men including one man who wanted to force her to marry him.  She finally escaped and went live with her father in Addis. She is now doing well in high school and planning to go on to college.  Numerous groups helped her including the Ethiopian Women Lawyers Association.   Another story tells about a young Ethiopian girl who was purchased for eighty birr.  Mahabouba was beaten and raped and became pregnant.  After seven days of labor, a birth attendant was finally called.  The baby was dead and Mahabouba suffered fistulas that left her with no control over her bladder or bowels and nerve damage that made it impossible for her to stand or walk.  With the help of a missionary, she made it to the Addis Ababa Fistula Hospital where she recovered and is now a senior nurse’s aide.  Other stories tell of wonderful recoveries possible through the work of the doctors and nurses at the Fistula hospital.  Probably the most amazing story is about the young woman fistula patient who never went to school but after surgery moved from making beds at the hospital to assisting with surgery to performing fistula surgery and training doctors who come to learn to do fistula surgery.

This is a well researched book that moves from individual stories to the grim statistics that support claims of widespread abuses and then on to stories about the men and women heroes who are developing programs that successfully address each of these problems.  Catherine Hamlin, Ruth Kennedy and others at the Fistula Hospital are among the people whose work is highlighted. The authors attempt to present an objective view of the many cultural and religious traditions that support oppression of women.  They talk about what has been helpful as well as point out the mistakes made by people who didn’t fully understand the extent and complexity of the problems and the culture of the people.  They include many stories about the value of investing in educating girls and the often broad-reaching impact of microcredit.  Educated women who have income become powerful enough to fight against injustice.

The authors urge readers to take action, to speak out, to contribute, and to insist on laws that respect women’s rights and legislation that pushes the rich countries of the world to invest in solving the health problems of women.  The book ends with “Four steps you can take in the next ten minutes”.  The problems related to the oppression of women are so vast that all of our efforts are needed.

African Beads: Jewels of the Continent, Review by Hansemo Hamela , Addendum by Deborah Zinn

April 7, 2010

African Beads: Jewels of the Continent is a magnificent showcase of African beads. The beads are presented as if the beads were in front of the very eyes of the reader and they could be reached out and touched. The book entices and one cannot help reading until the last page. The quality of the paper and the colorful beads urge the reader to complete and never leave the book. The book is fit for middle and advanced level readers. ….

Click to read more & download the Full Review:  HamelaZinnAfricanBeadsBookReview20100406.doc

Hansemo Hamela  is an Ethiopian Social Anthropologist who has recently become aware of the importance of bead research.  The Ethiopian Bead Society commissioned Mr Hamela to document beads and bead-related legends of his home area, the D’irashe Special Woreda of the Southern Nations, Nationalities and Peoples Region of Ethiopia.  His report and article on this research is forthcoming 2010.



Graphics & Visualization

April 3, 2010

Thanks to Ida for links to great online examples of Graphics & Visualization, click below to visit the websites:

Photo of a big bunny rabbit!

Scientists Without Borders

March 2, 2010

Scientists Without BordersSM aims to mobilize and coordinate science-based activities that improve quality of life in the developing world. The research community, aid agencies, NGOs, public-private partnerships, and a wide variety of other institutions are already promoting areas such as global health, agricultural progress, and environmental well-being, but current communication gaps restrict their power. Organizations and individuals do not always know about one another’s endeavors, needs, or availability, which limits the ability to forge meaningful connections and harness resources. This situation is especially striking in light of the growing realization that integrated rather than focused approaches are crucial for addressing key challenges such as extreme poverty and the glaring health problems that accompany it.

The concept
Opportunities to foster synergy in the capacity-building arena would explode if an effective information-sharing tool existed. Institute leaders, project officers, and individual investigators could gather advice, other forms of human capital, and material assets. Furthermore, a central knowledge store about science-based capacity-building activities would help funding agencies and other institutions apply their efforts efficiently.

The solution
Scientists Without BordersSM launched a Web portal May 12, 2008, whose cornerstone is a database that serves as a digital repository for such information. The database provides a way to match needs with resources. This tool will eventually create a record of accomplishments that also identifies the next steps for solving specific problems.

Ethiopian Social Policy Reader — Volume 1

February 27, 2010

Below you will find the link to the Ethiopian Social Policy Reader — Volume 1 (2 MB)

Rationale: When I arrived in Ethiopia in September 2008 (the year 2000 in the Ethiopian Calendar), there was no consolidated reference to help me understand Ethiopian social policy.

The idea of compiling student work from the Management & Leadership and Social Policy courses of the School of Social Work at Addis Ababa University, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, came to me and was discussed with the students. All agreed to publish what is now entitled the Ethiopian Social Policy Reader 2008 and Ethiopian Social Work Management & Leadership Reader 2008. These papers are the work of 1st year Masters of Social Work (MSW) students. All students have long years of experience, teaching at University level, living in Ethiopia or working in NGOs (non-government organizations). We have much to learn from their writing.

The official language of Ethiopia is Amharic. However, after primary level, all education, including University-level, is in English. This presents a challenge, both for the writer as well as the reader.

Audience: The audience for this book is scholars outside of Ethiopia, worldwide Faculty who will be visiting or teaching in Ethiopia as well as undergraduate and graduate students in a variety of disciplines. And the general public.


Ethiopian Social Policy Reader — Volume 2

February 27, 2010

Below you will find a link to Ethiopian Social Policy Reader — Volume 2 (2.5 MB)


Ethiopian Social Policy Reader — Volume 3

February 27, 2010

Below you will find a link to the Ethiopian Social Policy Reader — Volume 3 (2.5 MB)


Moderating Google Groups or Yahoo Groups

February 26, 2010

Hello Eshetu et al,

Thank you for your kind words & your question regarding Moderation.

I am starting to use Delicious to record my Bookmarks. The great thing about Delicious is that any of us can access our own (and others’) Bookmarks from ANY computer.

At the link below, click the Tag Bundle (on right) entitled — moderator — for general information on moderation:

Once you get the general idea, then it is necessary to learn about the specific software — in this case Google Groups. This is easier if you have a gmail email address — but the moderator can have any email address.

To learn Google Groups per se — the places to start:

The task is challenging.

The rewards are many — this form of leadership is one that leads to a lifetime of learning as well as global networks can that lead to many opportunities throughout life.

Kind regards,

Dr Deborah

H-Net — People, not Information

January 14, 2010

The Internet is a great place for meeting people!  For example, H-Net.  Maybe it is better to say meeting ‘colleagues’.  Once you are on a list for a while, you will feel like you know the students and scholars who post.  You can post yourself.  Then, after you know the group and understand their ‘norms’, you will have colleagues who will help you and work with you.  Then if you get the chance, someday you may meet them at an International conference.  It’s always great to meet face to face.

I like the Reviews, African Arts and many other topics.  Click the drop-down box and explore.

When new to a website, I click on many of the Menu links at the top & the right side of the page — Who are the people behind the website, what organisations do they work for?  What resources do they offer?