Friday, June 01, 2012

Thinking about mathematics and other things

These days, I rarely work on mathematics though off and on I still have dreams on mathematical topics, the most recent was about "Thom Isomorphism'. The only times I work seems to be when somebody sends a question or whwn colloborators write about a paper started in 2005, just around retirement time as the last of a series outling and completing the work done over the previous ten years. Now it seems to be to be taking shape and I started working on it three days ago. Immediatly I find that I can still spot mistakes of colloborators but I cannot sleep well and head starts throbbing my midday. But main interest during the last few years has been to understand a bit about poverty and developments. Reading various blogs and books about these topics somehow does not seem to produce the same level of intense thinking and headthrob. I wonder whether it is the nature of the topic where the structures are different for intense thinking and the solutions depend very much on the context, which is variable with time even in one region. With this proviso about lack of deep and intense thinking on my part, I see some reasons for optimism.. One is the social audit activity in India reported earlier in RTI and Social Audit and Right to Information. Here a strong right to information act from 2005 seems to be a useful driver of that activity. Now Oxfam has Reports from different countries linked in Duncan Green's post (How can aid agencies promote local governance and accountability? Lessons from five countries) which give other stategies in addition to social audit:
"All the case studies show how it is essential to work with both citizens and people in authority in order to achieve positive change in local governance. This might be about finding or creating spaces for constructive engagement between people and authorities, as in the ward meetings organised by women in Nepal. It could involve working with citizens to raise awareness and knowledge about their rights and about how local governance works, so that they can make relevant demands and monitor effectively how resources are used and accounted for, as in Malawi and Kenya. It may require working with officials and elected representatives to increase understanding about how to work accountably and transparently and to understand the benefits of actively involving citizens in planning and monitoring, as in the Tanzania example. Or it might be about working with officials to understand how particular legislation or regulation should work, as in Kenya."

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