At the forefront of shaping the theory and practice of development, the Society for International Development (SID) challenges existing practices and suggests alternative approaches to three notable themes— environment, women in development and the concept of human development.

SID is a global network of individuals and institutions that are concerned with development, believing it is participative, pluralistic and sustainable.

Founded in Washington D.C. in 1957 and based in Rome since 1978, SID is a policy-oriented organization that focuses on advocacy and service-delivery actions but plays a unique role that sets their society apart from the rest. What differentiates SID from other development organizations is that the organization builds on multi-disciplinary dialogues, future-minded thinking and scenarios-based and holistic policy planning. Three core actions truly distinguish SID from any other organization: knowledge building through research, facilitating dialogue and catalyzing policy change.

According to the SID website, “since its inception in 1957, SID has always acted as a unique global space for honest dialogue and effective interconnected nature among diverse actors at community, national and international level.” The Society’s broadly-stated vision and mission has remained unchanged and generally, SID’s activities will aim to, “contribute to building consensus for the need for a new convivencia (or coexistence) by supporting initiatives that generate new visions for society, leadership and political will; Encourage and facilitate dialogue between diversities through knowledge based activities; [and] facilitate knowledge generation, sharing and dissemination.”

SID’s website further states that the organization is “recognized as a pertinent, innovative and future oriented institution that fosters learning, innovation and constructive dialogue; one that nudges institutional boundaries and enlarges the spaces for exchange and exploration in the search for social justice and development that is just, equitable and sustainable.”

Today, SID has more than 3,000 members in 80 countries and more than 45 chapters worldwide. SID works with more than 100 local and international associations, networks and institutions involving parliamentarians, academics, students, political leaders and development experts. This society has a holistic, multi-disciplinary and multi-sectoral approach to development.

Eastin Shipman

Sources: Society for International Development 1, Society for International Development 2, Society for International Development 3, Society for International Development 4, Society for International Development 5 SIDW
Photo: Facebook

How is NASA Related to Development?
A recent event held by the Society for International Development in Washington, DC highlighted the SEVIR program, a joint venture of NASA and USAID. Started in 2004 the program provides essential geospatial and earth-based observations to developing countries in Central America, Africa and the Himalayas. This information is used to monitor environmental impacts and natural disaster damages.

Science experts help convert the raw data into a usable form that governments and non-governmental organizations can use. USAID provides the developmental expertise to assist in directing this information to useful topics and applicable to issues confronting developing nations. SERVIR provides information in the following areas of interest for developing nations: water, weather, biodiversity, climate, disasters, ecosystems, and air and health quality.

USAID also assists the host governments to build technological capacity. The program’s goal is for host governments to assume responsibility for the scientific data and application. In order to support this self-sustaining aspect, the program implementers work closely with the host nations.

NASA and USAID signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) in 2011 that expanded SERVIR’s programs to include food security, climate change, and environmental and energy management.

NASA and USAID also partner with the State Department and Nike on LAUNCH, a program encouraging technology innovation in the private and public sectors to help create a better world. In April the LAUNCH partners held a conference focusing on sustainable material development. Under this call for technological innovation, individuals or teams may submit project ideas. Those selected will participate in a creative immersion project with funding opportunities.

Previous recipients of LAUNCH support include projects for clean water, renewable energy, and biodegradable vaccination needles, and future projects supported by NASA and USAID feature the promotion of education in the sciences.

The SID Washington event focused on SERVIR’s projects in the Hindu-Kush Himalayan region. The Himalayan regional node, launched in 2010, provides satellite imagery of rural, mountain areas previously unavailable. Countries served by the Himalayan regional node include Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, China, India, Nepal, and Pakistan.

– Callie D. Coleman
Sources: NASA, SIDW, Nike Inc.
Photo: Engadget