Blood and Milk is the blog of international development worker and writer Alanna Shaikh, who consults on global health development and writes for publications such as the UN Dispatch. Her views, based both on her work in the field and her study & understanding of sociology, international relations, and other such subjects, tend to be contrary to most other opinions on international development: voluntourism isn't helpful, development work is mired in a culture of nice, don't bother starting an NGO (or, if you will anyway, here's how to succeed), global health doesn't need innovation, and microfinance is a disappointment. Also, here's how to tell if your health project is doomed, and Haiti doesn't need your shoes (some people vehemently disagree). Educated well-researched iconoclast, or pessimistic Mary Contrary?
In need of last-minute Christmas gifts? Want to help the world in some way? Websites like ChangingThePresent and Alternative Gifts International allow you to buy or sponsor something useful as a present - from an hour with a creative coach, to wheelchairs in Cambodia; from walking children to school in the West Bank to flighting corruption. Maybe even a charity gift certificate? [more inside]