The best jargon-busting DevExplains of 2016

By Jenny Lei Ravelo 20 December 2016

Global development speak, with its buzzwords and jargon-filled phrases, can alienate newcomers and even seasoned development professionals. Photo by: Startup Stock Photos

Global development speak, with its buzzwords and jargon-filled phrases, can alienate newcomers and even seasoned development professionals. Over the past few years, Devex reporters have invested time into breaking down some of these complicated terms to find out what they mean for you as a development professional, as well as how to apply them in your organization.

This year, we highlight six we think can come in handy whatever season or stage of work you’re currently in.

Refugee vs. migrant
By Kelli Rogers
Considering the overwhelming extent of human migration, it’s hard to keep track of the definitions prescribed for different subgroups — such as migrant, refugee and asylum-seeker. Devex breaks down what each term means, as well as why it matters to distinguish among them.

What is microtasking?
By Jenny Lei Ravelo
The term “microtasking” is often associated with crowdsourcing, which involves both the use of technology and a large number of people. But there’s a difference. Here's an introduction and a few tips on how the technique might be useful for your organization.

What is human-centered design — and why does it matter?
By Julie Espinosa, Helen Morgan, Carine Umuhumuza 
Is human-centered design a game changer in global development, or just another buzzword? Devex breaks down exactly what it is and why it matters for the global development community — and delves into some of the ways it could help organizations work more efficiently.

Open vs. closed-loop systems for humanitarian payments
By Lisa Cornish
Payment systems are a hot topic for the development sector but not everyone is a financial expert. The jargon used can be overwhelming, but it doesn't have to be. Devex has your quick guide to making sense of payment systems.

DevExplains: Social protection
By Jenny Lei Ravelo
Governments need a strong tax base to fund their social protection programs, but money isn't everything in the social protection debate. Devex explains where evidence-based policies and careful labor market analysis fit in this video feature.

Blockchain and bitcoin: Global development game changers?
By Naki B. Mendoza
When it comes to blockchain, you either believe in it, have some doubts, or don't quite get it. Watch this DevExplains video to learn more blockchain, the virtual currency bitcoin and their potential role in global development efforts.

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About the author

Jenny lei ravelo 400x400
Jenny Lei Ravelo@JennyLeiRavelo

Jenny Lei Ravelo is a Devex senior reporter based in Manila. Since 2011, she has covered a wide range of development and humanitarian aid issues, from leadership and policy changes at DfID to the logistical and security impediments faced by international and local aid responders in disaster-prone and conflict-affected countries in Africa and Asia. Her interests include global health and the analysis of aid challenges and trends in sub-Saharan Africa.


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