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“Shovelling S*%t Uphill”

In mid 2007 I told my boss in the Best Practices Section of the United Nations Department of Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO) in New York that I would be resigning in September 2007.  This did not come as much of a surprise as I had been griping about one thing or another for some time.  Funnily enough, I had a great job.  I worked with people smarter than me, on projects I thought were worthwhile and had bosses that I respected and who supported me. Having started with the UN in a far flung field office of a peacekeeping mission I had made it to UN HQ and the delights of Manhattan.

Once word was out, that I was on the way out, one colleague asked me, “What the hell are you going to do?”.  To which I replied I am going to work for Peace Dividend Trust (PDT) setting up its second country office in Timor-Leste.  He responded, “Who?  Doing what? What for?”.  I explained a little bit about PDT’s Marketplace projects and how we are trying to get the international community to use their aid and peacekeeping money to build local economies in the wake of crisis, conflict or natural disaster, rather than just fatten international bank accounts.

Afghan First

My colleague retorted, “Ha fat chance mate, you might as well try and shovel shit uphill!”

I just send him the below video link yesterday from Monrovia, where I am trying to see if Buy Local. Build Liberia is feasible. He responded within an hour, and said, “Mate, you sure as shit are handy with that shovel.”

VIDEO: NATO Supports Buy Local Build Afghanistan with Afghan First Policy

For more videos about PDT’s work in Haiti and Timor-Leste have a look at the Peace Dividend Trust YouTube channel.

Get a shovel, and join us in trying to change a few things.

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  1. rob wesley-smith says:

    well, Ed, it may be uphill, but clearly you and PDT have made a difference in East Timor, where local business now seems to be getting ahead. But PDT needs to keep going … ET Government reminds me of the early days of self-government of the NT where I live – a lot of inexperience and plenty of mistakes. 8 years of independence is not long in the scheme of things however. Can you teach effective road building too,including adequate drainage? (It might have been slave labour, but the Indonesian-built roads seems to be holding up quite well.) Wes

  2. Edward Rees says:

    Ha, Wes. Yes, yes, drainage drainage drainage!

    On the matter of “keep going”…. up to the donors! They are not as keen as you.


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