More than one moment in time

From top to bottom, left to right: Upgraded U.N. status for Palestinians, violence in Kivu provinces, Sahel Crisis, ODA falls for first time. Photo by: Rick Bajornas / United Nations, Sylvain Liechti / United Nations, ECHO and Paulo Filgueiras / United Nations

An eventful year in development cooperation just ended, and like many of you, Devex has been looking back at 2012 – and we asked you to share your most memorable moment with us. The most interesting ones will be invited to share their thoughts in a guest op-ed with our community of half a million development officials and aid workers around the world.

The responses we’ve received have been inspiring and illuminating, as they speak both to the universality of the global development cause as well as how deeply personal an experience it is to work in the trenches.

“My most memorable international development moment in 2012 was my ability to celebrate, for the first time ever, the World Consumer Rights Day” on March 15, wrote one Afghan reader on Facebook. Another tweeted about a panel discussion in Stockholm featuring international luminaries such as Esther Duflo, Paul Collier, William Easterly and Jeffrey Sachs.

“My most memorable moment is self-centered,” said Dave Hampton, who after 15 years working as an architect decided to “dip his toe” into development work in Haiti.

“Or, maybe,” he continued, “after two years with noted NGOs working on the reconstruction in a dense neighborhood of Port-au-Prince, it was returning to my home country faced with what to do next with all the joy, frustration, lessons learned – or needing to be reapplied and expanded upon, as well as whether my chosen profession was still the right vehicle and able to allow me to continue to contribute in a meaningful way.”

Susannah Hares wrote about “the power of failure, courage and love in good international development.”

“I spent time with a social enterprise in East Africa and was overwhelmed by their commitment to learning and doing better. I saw love, which enabled trust, which in turn inspired the courage to take risks, safe in the knowledge that failure will not result in blame,” Hares recalled. “On that hot day in East Africa I was encouraged and exhilarated to see this rare blend of confidence and daring, working alongside frugality in innovation; and wisdom generated from failure.”

For Abi Gleek, it happened in the final month of 2012, when the U.N. General Assembly unanimously adopted a resolution on affordable universal health care.

“There is much work to be done to ensure that the rhetoric of universal health care is put into practice,” Gleek wrote. “Yet success stories do exist, such as Thailand, and the removal of user fees for mothers and children in Sierra Leone, from which strong learnings can be taken … I look forward to seeing universal healthcare as a priority during the discussions on post-2015 development.”

What was your most memorable moment of 2012? Let us know by leaving a comment below – and watch out for those guest op-eds by development professionals who’ve already shared theirs.

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About the author

  • Rolf rosenkranz 400x400

    Rolf Rosenkranz

    Rolf Rosenkranz oversees a talented team of in-house journalists, correspondents and guest contributors located around the globe. Since joining Devex in early 2008, Rolf has been instrumental in growing its fledgling news operation into the leading online source for global development news and analysis. Previously, Rolf was managing editor at Inside Health Policy, a subscription-based news service in Washington. He has reported from Africa for the Johannesburg-based Star and its publisher, Independent News & Media, as well as the Westdeutsche Allgemeine Zeitung, a German daily.