Notre Dame’s Kellog Institute for International Studies hosted Dr. Sara Sievers, a principal thought leader in international development from the Earth Institute at Columbia University.Her lecture, titled “Making a Difference in the World: Connecting the Personal and Professional in International Development,” highlighted key strategies and requirements needed to implement effective changes in developing countries.During her lecture, Sievers highlighted how personal values and basic principles of international development frequently conflict when working within the developing country’s political context. Sievers said the main question at the core of the discussion is how good ideas and good intentions are sometimes sidelined when applied to a realistic scale.“This is where the personal and the professional become important,” Sievers said. “We can sit around and talk about all these glorious principles of millennium development goals, but if we violate that in the compounds that we live in, what does that say about who we are and what we really believe?”According to Sievers, Nigeria stands as a prime example of case studies in international development, due to its ecological complexity, relatively high economic disparity and maternal and infant mortality.“[Nigeria is] a large country with a very complex federal system,” Sievers said. “There are relatively few places in the developing world that are more complex than Nigeria.”Sievers said one of the greatest difficulties she faced during her work in Nigeria was living and working in a high-income household while witnessing the economic hardships faced by a local underprivileged family. Sievers was unable to help the lower-income family due to bureaucratic restrictions.Sievers said the experience of not being able to take immediate action helping is one of the most painful dilemmas that workers in developing countries must face.“Basically I was living in a violation of the things that I hold most profound,” Sievers said. “At some point you have to be able to take care of the people you can touch, the people that are closest to you. Don’t treat them like a statistic.”While universities remain important developers in aid strategies for developing countries, their theoretical approaches have difficulty translating because of the intricacy of political and economic structures, she said.“One of the things that happens a lot with universities is people come up with a lot of ideas that should happen, but they don’t take into account whether the country actually has the resources to make it happen,” Seivers said.Sievers said different strategies for implementing programs in international development include trying to understand the country’s political scope. By understanding the politics, developers can learn when to make concessions and when to compromise goals in the face of corrupt governments. Sievers said compromising constituted the hardest challenge for the majority of people in international development.“That [compromise] can be an especially frustrating step, because it feels like you’re compromising your principles and it can be a very unsatisfying stage,” she said. “If you’re able to make those compromises, then you have a chance at being able to achieve the real world results that are motivating you to be here.”Tags: International Development, Kellogg Institute
By Laurene HallUniversity of Georgia This is the time of year when Extension Offices around the stateget calls about snakes.Though unable to tolerate extreme cold or hot temperatures,snakes will move during summer evenings, especially after a rain.Snakes eat insects, fish, amphibians, birds, rodents, eggs andother reptiles. And many snakes eat nuisance animals, too. One rat snake can eat three rats every two weeks. Clearly onesnake can significantly impact an ecosystem by reducing thepotential for serious diseases like hanta virus or Lyme disease.At the first sign of danger, or human contact, snakes willusually flee. Most snakes strike in defense as a last resort. No sure way to tell the differenceNon-venomous snakes are generally harmless. Unfortunately, thereis no single rule to use to tell the difference between avenomous snake and a poisonous snake.Head or pupil shape has not been confirmed as a suredistinction.Here are details on a few non-venomous snake species commonlyfound in Georgia.(The University of Georgia Savannah RiverEcology Laboratory is the source of this information.)King snakes are found in a wide variety ofhabitats.Adults can reach four feet in length. Eastern king snakes areblack with light yellow or whitish crossbands. The blackkingsnake, found in northwestern Georgia, is black with scatteredflecks of yellow. The belly is a combination of black and yellow. They feed on the regular snake fare and other snakes, includingvenomous species. King snakes are immune to the venom ofrattlesnakes, cottonmouths and copperheads. Water snakes are found in aquaticenvironments. However, somespecies have been spotted several hundred feet away from water.They aren’t cottonmouthsWater snakes often grow to a length of four feet and are lightbrown on top with darker squares on the back and sides. The brownwater snake is the most common and is often mistaken for thevenomous cottonmouth. This snake frequently basks on tree limbsthat overhang the water. Brown water snakes feed almostexclusively on fish. Garter snakes are found in habitats that aredamp, although notnecessarily near permanent water. They are usually less than twofeet long, but can get longer.They have three yellow longitudinal stripes on a dark body. Theyhave black lines on their lip scales.Although this pattern is common, some garter snakes in Georgiahave a checkered body pattern with poorly defined stripes and agrayish body color. Their bellies are white or light yellow. Thisspecies gives birth to live young, sometimes having more than 50babies. Garter snakes feed on fish, small reptiles andamphibians.Also known as ‘chicken snakes’Rat snakes are most often found in wooded orswampy areas. Adultsgrow to more than four feet in length. Coastal species are olive with four dark stripes on their backs.Inland species range from black to light gray or brown. They feedon birds, rats, mice and squirrels. They are know as “chickensnakes” in farming areas because they readily eat caged chickens.Brown snakes are found in woodlands andswampy areas. But it’sone of the most common species found in residential areas, wherethey are often spotted in and around debris. It seldom grows to more than a foot in length. Its color variesfrom brown or gray to dark brown. They feed on earthworms, slugs and salamanders. When threatened,they curl their upper lips upwards, making their mouths looklarger.Black racers are found in a wide variety ofhabitats. Racers arefrequently seen crossing highways during the day. Adults areusually slender, three to five feet long and black except for awhite chin. They feed on frogs, rodents, birds, lizards and insects. To avoid all snake species, be cautious when gardening andperforming lawn chores. You can also limit your encounters withsnakes by not creating habitats for them in your yard. For more information on snakes commonly found in Georgia, consultyour local county Extension Service office.