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The Good Problem
40 minutes | Feb 22, 2021
Phil Preston: Connecting profit with purpose
The concept of shared value has gained popularity in recent years, with recognition that solving social and environmental problems requires the input, participation and action of all stakeholders. Leveraging the resources and innovation capacity of the private sector is key to solving the world’s most pressing problems, and as the logic goes – if businesses can benefit at the same time, it’s a win win. But is shared value a panacea for solving all of our problems? Or is there still a role for philanthropy and charity, and activism? My guest today is Phil Preston, author of Connecting Profit With Purpose, a practical roadmap for (re)building trust and creating high-performing, sustainable businesses. Phil is reading Stakeholder Capitalism, by Klaus Schwab Connect with Phil on Twitter.
36 minutes | Feb 15, 2021
Cornelia Walther: Social change from the inside out
Working in the international development sector is complex. From the outside, it can seem like an exciting, adventurous life – living in places that are perceived to be dangerous, or hard. But for humanitarian workers, it’s not always easy – especially for those working in conflict zones, or emergencies. Burnout and PTSD are common, and often left untreated. It’s also common for humanitarian workers to ask themselves whether what they are doing is really helping. It can be easy to get caught up in the delivery of projects, and ignore the bigger questions about effectiveness, impact and ethics. My guest today chose not to ignore those questions, and not to accept the status quo. Taking a sabbatical from her long career in the sector, Cornelia Walther decided to explore these questions in detail and has recently published the book: Development, humanitarian action and social welfare: Social change from the inside out. Check out Cornelia's work here. Cornelia is reading Thinking Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman
33 minutes | Feb 4, 2021
Carly Findlay: Growing Up Disabled In Australia
Accessibility is often taken for granted by people who are not disabled. Everyday situations like shopping, catching transport, accessing public bathrooms, using the internet can be extremely challenging for those who have a disability. Disability is so individual, and so misunderstood, and our world does not do well at accepting, accommodating and including individuals who are disabled. We need to do better. My guest today is the amazing Carly Findlay, an award winning writer, speaker and appearance activist. Carly is the editor of Growing Up Disabled in Australia, an anthology of stories written by disabled Australians and published this week by Black Inc Books. Carly is also the author of Say Hello, published in 2019. She writes regularly for CNN, ABC, The Age, The Sydney Morning Herald and SBS and appears regularly on television and radio. Carly identifies as a proud disabled woman. Carly is reading People Like Her by Ellery Lloyd Carly is listening to the Conversations series by ABC Vist Carly's blog. Follow Carly on Facebook and Twitter.
50 minutes | Jan 29, 2021
Sushil Babu Chhetri: Orphanages - It's All Business
Today’s guest has quite the life story. Born in a remote village in the far west of Nepal, At the age of 7, Sushil went for a walk beyond the hills that surrounded his village and a few months later found himself homeless, living on the streets of Kathmandu. Sushil’s story of street living, his time in an orphanage and his perspective on volunteers that want to help children like him is invaluable. It’s Sushil’s and my hope that by sharing his story, we can amplify the voices of other children and adults who have been on the receiving end of people’s good intentions to support children in orphanages and through that, change the way we care for vulnerable children. Sushil is listening to the suite of VICE podcasts. Follow Sushil on Twitter and on Facebook.
36 minutes | Jan 22, 2021
Ingrid Giskes: Ghost Gear
Everything is connected, and every action we take impacts somebody, something, or someplace. As I get older, and learn more about the world, the connections become clearer. Things that seem straightforward on the surface are incredibly complex, and intersect with things that seem completely unrelated. I love this about the world – how we can seem to be on opposing sides of an issue, yet have a shared goal that will benefit us all. Ghost Gear is one of those things – A staggering 640,000 tonnes of abandoned, lost and discarded fishing nets, lines and traps are left in our oceans every year, trapping, injuring, mutilating and killing hundreds of thousands of whales, seals, turtles and birds annually. But this doesn’t only affect wildlife – it affects livelihoods, biodiversity, climate and human rights. To unpack this, I invited Ingrid Giskes on to the podcast. Ingrid is the Director of the Global Ghost Gear Initiative (GGGI) at Ocean Conservancy. The Ghost Gear Initiative brings together a multi-stakeholder approach to solving the problem of ghost gear, with over 100 partners involved, including governments around the world. Ingrid is reading Dreams From My Father, by Barack Obama. Ingrid is listening to the Yoga Girl Daily podcast.
37 minutes | Jan 15, 2021
Dr. Andreana Prichard: Evangelism, Race and Saviourism
I’m fascinated by the different ways humans express what it means to do good: why they do good, how they do good, and what their consequences of their actions are. One of most widely used mechanisms for doing good is through religion. As with everything humans do, this is interpreted in vastly different ways: all driven by a personal interpretation of what it means to be a believer in one’s chosen religion. Evangelism and missionary work are expressions of this and each year, millions of Americans travel overseas for missions trips. Some of them head off for a short term mission, while others dedicate years of their lives to mission, fully supported by their home churches to set up home in far-off places and embed themselves and their beliefs in communities they deem in need of saving. Race and power dynamics play a huge role in how missionary work is conducted and to help me unpack this, I invited Dr. Andreana Prichard on to the podcast. Andreana is an Associate Professor of African History at the University of Oklahoma whose work deals with the history of gender, Christianity and development in Africa and explores the history of evangelical child sponsorship initiatives in East Africa and the American Bible belt. Andreana is listening to Serial by NPR, the Undisclosed Podcast, Missing and Murdered by the CBC, Andreana is reading The Searcher by Tana French, and Cribsheet by Emily Oster
41 minutes | Dec 13, 2020
Andrew Leigh: Reconnecting
I often lament that doing good is not done well enough, and talk about the need to pay more attention to the why, the how, and the impact of doing good. I’m a strong proponent of not engaging in the act of doing good unless you have a deep knowledge and understanding of the cause you are wanting to support, and the charity you want to support it through. But behind all this doing good is a deeper problem, one that challenges our willingness to do good in a meaningful, connected way. It’s the question of civic engagement. My guest today is Andrew Leigh MP, co-author of the book Reconnected, and Shadow Assistant Minister for Treasury and Charities within the Australian Labour Party. In Reconnected, Andrew tells us of the overall decline in civic engagement across all domains including involvement in community associations, membership of political parties, union membership and participation in organised religion. We have less close friends, we give less, we volunteer less, and we vote less. Reconnected calls for more engagement in helping, giving and volunteering as ways to increase social cohesion and resilience to improve outcomes for all Australians. As I was reading Andrew’s book, it occurred to me that while both Andrew and I are calling for more involvement in doing good, we are doing so with a slightly different lens. When Andrew speaks of the need for more engagement in doing good, I speak of the need for caution, and for ensuring that you don’t cause further harm. When Andrew speaks of the need for systems to be in place to transform spontaneous altruism into a lasting volunteering ethos, I talk about the need to examine spontaneous altruism itself. Andrew is reading Truman, by David McCullough Andrew is listening to the Freakonomics Podcast, the Radiolab podcasts, and The Jolly Swagman Podcast by Joseph Noel Walker.
55 minutes | Dec 6, 2020
Weh Yeoh: Give up your power
We need to talk about power. In the doing good sector, the people who are in the positions of power are those who make decisions about money. Who gets it, how much, when, how and why. In many cases, these decision makers are not representative of the communities who are meant to benefit from these decisions. They don’t have lived experience, they don’t share cultural backgrounds, and their understanding of the issue itself is limited. In a time when diversity and inclusion is high on the agenda for many organisations, there is a serious need to examine power structures and how they impact the allocation of resources. To unpack this further, I invited Weh Yeoh on to the podcast. Weh lived in Cambodia for 5 years, where he founded OIC Cambodia. Now back in Australia, he’s the co-founder of Umbo - an initiative to improve access to services for children in rural and remote communities.
31 minutes | Nov 26, 2020
John Martinkus: Uprising in West Papua
Right now, in West Papua the long struggle for independence from Indonesian rule has reignited, triggering a brutal crackdown that involves chemical weapons, horrific killings, and mass displacement. All of this is occurring on Australia’s doorstep, yet we barely hear or see a thing about it in the news. Rewind, just over twenty years ago to Timor Leste, when a similar situation was unfolding – a struggle for independence, accompanied by a brutal crackdown by Indonesian authorities. Again, despite this occurring less than 700 km from Australia’s coastline – we heard very little. What little we do hear comes from journalists on the ground – people who are risking their own lives to ensure the stories of these atrocities make it out. I’ve always been fascinated by journalists working in conflict zones. The trauma of witnessing war combined with the burden of responsibility for documenting the horrors of war is a heavy load to carry. I invited four time Walkely Award nominated investigative reporter and author, John Martinkus on to the podcast to talk through what’s happening in West Papua. John is the author of the book, A Dirty Little War – covering Timor Leste's struggle for independence – written after John’s experience of being the only foreign journalist in the country through this period. John has also recently released another book, The Road, covering the current uprising in West Papua.
42 minutes | Nov 19, 2020
Sarah Sheridan: Allyship is work
Allyship has been on everyone’s lips this year – and the conversation is incredibly overdue. But what does it mean to be an ally? How do we move beyond tokenism to a place of genuine allyship? What kind of self examination is required? What are the barriers in place and how do we break them down? To unpack these big questions, I invited Sarah Sheridan on to the podcast. Sarah is the non-indigenous co-founder in the Aboriginal owned and led business, @clothingthegap. Sarah’s background is in health promotion and community engagement and she has a long history of working alongside the Victorian Aboriginal Community. Sarah is reading: Say Nothing: A True Story of Murder and Memory in Northern Ireland by Patrick Radden Keefe, Kindred, by Kirli Saunders, and On All Fronts: The Education of a Journalist by Clarissa Ward. Find out more at Clothing The Gap.
31 minutes | Nov 12, 2020
Andrew Wear: Cracking the world's biggest problems
Doing good is tricky at the best of times. Even at an individual level, it’s difficult to get it right. When it comes to tackling the world’s biggest problems such as climate change, education, violence, gender inequality, immigration and living standards it’s even tougher. Some countries are doing better than others at solving these problems within their own borders, and my guest today – Andrew Wear has put together a wonderful exploration of just how they are doing it in his book, Solved! Andrew is a senior Australian public servant with degrees in politics, law, economics and public policy, and is a graduate of the Harvard Kennedy School of Government. He is also a Fellow at the Institute of Public Administration, and a director of Ardoch – a children’s education charity. His work appears in peer-reviewed journals, as well as The Mandarin, The Guardian and others. Follow Andrew on Twitter @AndrewWear Andrew is reading: Pale Rider, by Laura Spinney, The Great Influenza, by John M. Barry, and The Pandemic Century, by Mark Honigsbaum Andrew is listening to: America, if you're listening, by Matt Bevan at ABC, and Humans of Purpose with Mike Davis.
65 minutes | Nov 8, 2020
John Marsden: Alternative Education
Access to quality education is a huge issue globally, and parents everywhere want the best for their children. In Australia, where large areas of the country have been in a hard lockdown due to COVID-19, schools have been closed to students for a lengthy period of time, and parents have been forced to home school their children. Some children have thrived, and some have suffered – unable to effectively engage in home schooling and falling behind. This, against the backdrop of scandal after scandal involving elite private schools and racist, sexist and homophobic behaviour from students has reignited the ongoing debate about the merit of federal government funding for private schools. Season 4 kicks off with John Marsden, storyteller, renowned author and Principal of Candlebark, a P-7 school nestled in the foothills of the Macedon Ranges on 1100 acres of bushland. John and I chat through the merits of alternative education, access and equity and the public vs private debate.
40 minutes | Oct 7, 2020
Lyn Morgain: Deconstructing Development
There’s a common misconception in the doing good sector that the people working within it must be wholesome, values driven and above things like racism and sexual exploitation. But the reality is that the sector is driven by harmful structures that perpetuate the very things we are trying to ‘fix’ through our work. I’ve always found the psychology behind wanting to be in the helping professions fascinating, and more recently have become deeply interested in the systems and structures that facilitate doing good. The international development sector is a fascinating expression of how the colonial structures that underpin the sector are the very same structures that caused, and continue to cause the damage that development interventions profess to be fixing. The sector has been in the spotlight over the past few years, with repeated scandals including #metoo, #aidtoo, as well as the well publicised safeguarding crises within large charities. Racism in the sector has also come under the spotlight, withthe emergence of the Charity So White movement in the UK highlighting the systemic racism and power imbalances that permeate the development world. To unpack these issues, I invited the Chief Executive of Oxfam Australia, Lyn Morgain on to the podcast. As a relative newcomer to the international development world, Lyn shares her experience of transitioning into the sector at a very challenging time, and proposes some ideas for change. Lyn has spent her career advocating for the rights of disadvantaged peoples and is passionate about using strengths based approached that engender community ownership and control. Lyn is reading Balcony Over Jerusalem: A Middle East Memoir by John Lyons Lyn is listening to Dharma Talks Follow Lyn on Twitter @MsLynM
51 minutes | Oct 2, 2020
Kelly Dent: Ending the Global Wildlife Trade
Today's episode features Kelly Dent of World Animal Protection talking about ending the global wildlife trade. The global trade in wildlife is worth hundreds of billions of dollars annually and includes both the legal and illegal trade in animals. While the Convention on International Trade in Endangered species of Wild Fauna and Flora boasts a membership of 183 countries, many argue it is insufficient, unsustainable and ineffective to protect vulnerable, endangered and critically endangered species. The system is full of loopholes which allow trade in wildlife to continue unchecked, with very little ability to differentiate between legal and illegal trade. Calls to end the global wildlife trade have been growing through this pandemic, not only due to the likelihood that COVID-19 is a zoonotic pathogen, meaning it comes from animals, but also due to the sheer cost of the pandemic to human life and economy. As the population grows, pressure on wildlife and wild places also grows, meaning more interaction between both and more likelihood of animal / human conflict and disease transmission. I invited Kelly Dent to chat about why we need a blanket ban on the trade in wildlife. Kelly is the Director of External Engagement with World Animal Protection and a lifelong activist and has 25 years experience lobbying and campaigning on climate change, poverty, corporate accountability, trade, labour and human rights around the world. Kelly is reading 'Such a Fun Age' by Kiley Reid; 'Anna Karenina' by Leo Tolstoy; 'Why we love dogs, eat pigs and wear cows' by Melanie Joy; 'Me and White Supremacy' by Layla F Saad. Kelly is listening to 7AM; 'Nice White Parents' New York Times; 'Debutante: Race, Resistance and Girl Power' by Nakkiah Lui & Miranda Tapsell; Rabbit Hole, New York Times.
53 minutes | Sep 24, 2020
Tania Burstin: Crowdfunding, Crises and Ethics
Have you ever raised money for a cause online? Have you ever donated to a crowdfunding or fundraising platform? If so, you’ve participated in the online fundraising sector. While online fundraising has undoubtedly been a huge benefit to charities, exposing their brand and their work to a global audience and raising enormous amounts of money in the process – it is a murky ethical area. What responsibility do fundraising platforms hold when it comes to whether or not to host a charity, or a personal fundraiser? Is it enough for a charity to be legally registered, or do fundraising platforms have an obligation to take a position on the ethics of a cause? What about personal fundraisers? How do we regulate who can fundraise, what for, and where the money will go? What about Celeste Barber’s $51million bushfire campaign that ended up in court? I invited Tania Burstin, the founder and managing director of mycause, Australia’s first online fundraising platform to chat with me about these issues. Tania started mycause after noticing a gap in the market for donation sponsorship. Mycause has now grown to have over 6500 charity partners and has raised more than $140 million for Australian community groups, charities and individuals. Tania was named in the Female FinTech Founders project as a fintech entrepreneur in 2018 and a Monash University Global Fellow in 2019. She is a thought leader in the crowdfunding community and regularly commentates on charitable fundraising in Australia. Tania is reading American Wife: A Novel by Curtis Sittenfeld
57 minutes | Sep 17, 2020
Tobias Denskus: Communicating for Development
Joining me today is Associate Professor Tobias Denskus from Malmø University in Sweden, and we're talking about communication in the development sector. Communicating well can be tricky at the best of times, but when it comes to communicating about development issues, it becomes even tricker. For a long time, the vast majority of charities communicated their work through fundraising campaigns, featuring stereotypical representations of the poor and vulnerable in order to elicit donations.Think about the ads featuring starving African children, with flyblown eyes and distended bellies. Growing up, this was the standard for charity advertising – and it seemed that charities were trying to one up each other in a race for scare donor funds - who can publish the most heartbreaking image? What about media? What responsibility does media have to portray the poor and vulnerable in dignified and respectful ways, while also being careful to avoid perpetuating the white saviour complex? Tobias teaches a Masters program in Communication for Development, and conducts research on how communication can lead to learning and challenge white saviorism, stereotypical campaigns and superficial influencers on Instagram. Tobias runs the excellent blog, Aidnography and a Twitter account of the same name. Tobias is reading Understanding Libya Since Gaddafi by Ulf Laessing and People in Glass Houses by Shirley Hazzard Tobias is listening to the ReThinking Development Podcast, UN Dispatch by Mark Goldberg, and The Missing Cryptoqueen by BBC
44 minutes | Sep 10, 2020
Jade Lillie: Art & Community
Art is something we consume, or participate in every day – whether we realise it or not. Every podcast we listen to, book we read, or tv show or movie is a piece of art. A lot of the time we don’t realise that we are participating in it at all. I invited Jade Lillie, Head of Sector Development at the Australia Council for the Arts to chat with me about the role art plays in our everyday lives, how it can be used as an effective tool to address social issues, and the complexities surrounding the funding and delivery of arts project in Australia and overseas, particularly in an international development context. Jade is known for her work as a leader, executive, facilitator and specialist in community engagement. She has been recognised for her thought leadership in receiving the Sidney Myer Creative Fellowship in 2018 – 19 following her role as Director and CEO, Footscray Community Arts Centre (2012 – 2017). Whilst Jade has held a number of leadership roles across the sector, she is primarily known and respected for her skills and expertise in strategy, governance and her commitment to collaboration, cultural leadership and advocacy in championing diversity and access. She has worked extensively in arts, cultural development, health, education, community and international development contexts in government and non-government settings, including non-profit management, local and state government. She has lived and worked in regional, remote and metropolitan contexts across Australia and South East Asia. Jade is also the Curator and Editor for The Relationship is the Project. Jade is reading Glimpses of Utopia: Real Ideas for a Fairer World by Jess Scully Jade is planning to listen to I Weigh with Jameela Jamil.
61 minutes | Sep 3, 2020
Sophie Otiende: Freedom Business
Today we have feminist, teacher and human trafficking survivor advocate Sophie Otiende talking 'freedom business'. The anti-trafficking sector is big business - with countless organisations trying to tackle the issue from wildly different perspectives. The 'raid and rescue' model, practiced by well known organisations and endorsed by celebrities has become well known amongst the general public. As Sophie says, rescuing trafficked children is one small piece of the puzzle. Trafficking is complex, layered and requires a holistic approach that not only works on prevention and provides quality aftercare for survivors, but challenges the systems and structures that allow trafficking to proliferate. Sophie Otiende describes herself as a feminist, poet, teacher, and survivor advocate for human trafficking. Sophie is a Program Consultant at HAART Kenya, where her main role involves coordination of services offered to victims of trafficking. She also developed curriculum and has co-authored three manuals on different issues in human trafficking. She is passionate about developing systems for grassroots organisations and has been working in development for more than ten years. She is passionate about human trafficking because she is a survivor of child trafficking. Sophie is reading 'Changing My Mind: Occasional Essays' by Zadie Smith The Penguin Press (2009) Sophie is listening to 'Otherwise?' Podcast.
55 minutes | Aug 27, 2020
Eva Galperin: Eradicating Stalkerware
Today's episode features the amazing Eva Galperin, and we're talking about stalkerware, surveillance and Tik Tok. Back in 2018, Eva tweeted "“If you are a woman who has been sexually abused by a hacker who threatened to compromise your devices, contact me and I will make sure they are properly examined”. Her tweet was retweeted more than 10,000 times, and she was inundated with responses from people who had experienced abuse. We talk about her work to eradicate stalkerware, and what she's working on in her role heading up the Threat Lab at the Electronic Frontier Foundation. Eva is Electronic Frontier Foundation's Director of Cybersecurity. Prior to 2007, Eva worked in security and IT in Silicon Valley and earned degrees in Political Science and International Relations from SFSU. Her work is primarily focused on providing privacy and security for vulnerable populations around the world. To that end, she has applied the combination of her political science and technical background to everything from organising EFF's Tor Relay Challenge, to writing privacy and security training materials (including Surveillance Self Defense and the Digital First Aid Kit), and publishing research on malware in Syria, Vietnam, Kazakhstan. When she is not collecting new and exotic malware, she practices aerial circus arts and learning new languages. Follow Eva on Twitter @evacide Eva is reading 'A Distant Mirror' by Barbara Tuckman (2017) Penguin Books. & 'The Neuromancer Trilogy' by William Gibson Eva is listening to 'Homecooking' with Samin Nosrat and Hrishikesh Hirway.
43 minutes | Aug 23, 2020
Dr. Jessica Kaufman: Mandatory COVID-19 Vaccinations
Joining me for a bonus episode today is Dr. Jessica Kaufman from the Murdoch Children's Research Institute. We're chatting about Australian Prime Minister, Scott Morrison's recent announcement about a potential COVID-19 vaccination, and his statement that the vaccine would be "as mandatory as you could possibly make it". Jess and I discuss the ethical implications of rushing a vaccine with unknown effects, and what would be required to make a vaccine ethically defensible. Will a vaccine be the golden ticket for travel, employment, or even access to restaurants, child care or school? Dr. Jessica Kaufman is a Research Fellow at Murdoch Children's Research Institute and an Honorary Fellow at the University of Melbourne. You can find her on Twitter @jessicajkaufman Jess is reading Priestdaddy by Patricia Lockwood Jess is listening to the Bang On podcast with Myf Warhurst and Zan Rowe
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