Monday, December 17, 2012

KP Author Milford Bateman Reviews Zimbabwe Takes Back Its Land

"Perhaps nowhere more than in the case of post-independence Zimbabwe has the land reform issue in Africa created controversy. Initially, and justifiably, this controversy arose because of the brutality, double-dealing, broken promises, lies and corruption associated with both sides to the land reform process - the Mugabe regime and the international donor community, particularly the UK government. The new book by Joseph Hanlon, Jeanette Manjengwa and Teresa Smart – Zimbabwe Takes Back Its Land - takes as its starting point this land reform process, before venturing boldly into dismissing the often ideologically-driven, and sometimes simply racist, myths that quickly arose concerning the ability of the black community to efficiently farm and manage restituted land. Crucially, this book also provides an assessment of the economic and social policy implications of the new raft of smaller farms now owned by the black community. And although it follows fast on the heels of a couple of other excellent books looking into the same land reform topic,[i] in my opinion this book surpasses these earlier contributions, brilliantly extending, confirming, illustrating and nuancing many of the most important arguments and issues that needed to be raised.

Above all the book provides an important reality check to those who swallowed whole the narrative provided by the international development community, key western governments and a good many international media outlets, which was that the land reform process (in reality, a land restitution process) in Zimbabwe was horribly corrupted by the Mugabe regime, and that the sour reality emerging from the whole state-driven process was, predictably, a grossly inefficient agricultural system to boot. Dealing with these myths is the rationale for the book.

First, there is the crucial role of politics and ideology to deal with. To help illustrate the many absurdities here, we might just note the different attitudes to land reform/restitution shown in Zimbabwe and in another region undergoing a major process of change that I know quite well - the former communist states of Eastern Europe. The land reform/restitution process still taking place in the former communist states in Eastern Europe, where land was appropriated from private individuals by the state as far back as 1918 in the former Soviet Union, has actually been driven forward by the international community. At least partly, we know that this was done in order to build a completely new private sector elite, one that could forge important links to western business interests and would reflect the importance of certain western ideological preferences. Now contrast this scenario with the process of land reform/restitution in Zimbabwe as described in this book, a process that was all too often presented as an abomination that had no basis in legality or fairness or (as we will discuss below) efficiency, and so it was largely resisted by the very same international development community agencies and western governments that supported extensive land reform/restitution in the former communist countries. Indeed, many international aid agencies even refused to work with the so-called ‘land reform farmers’ in Zimbabwe. But the authors show that the land reform/restitution process in Zimbabwe was largely resisted by the international development community not so much because of its basic unfairness, but because it would undermine the white Zimbabwean business elite that was very well disposed towards western business interests and supported western country ideological preferences. Sadly, as the authors allude to, a healthy does of racism was also involved in the Zimbabwe case. Revealing the real rationale, as opposed to the stated rationale, behind policy-making and Zimbabwe’s engagement with the international development community is one of the most important aspects of this book for serious scholars.

However, this book is about something else that has much more importance in terms of the future of Zimbabwe, Africa and other developing countries too: it is about the economic and social efficiency of the particular agricultural structure thereby created by land reform/restitution over a generation, and the crucial policy implications this holds for other nations and communities also seeking the best possible agricultural system. To date, and not always for the most honourable of reasons, as we have noted, a large number of analysts have used the example of post-independence Zimbabwe as evidence that large plantation-style farming, previously under white control, was far superior to the much smaller farms under black ownership and control that emerged out of the messy land reform/restitution process. This book very thoroughly and engagingly dispels this long-standing and ultimately hugely destructive myth.

The book fittingly starts with the plight of war-veterans - the white war veterans, that is, who, returning to then Rhodesia from the battlefields of Europe and the Far East in 1945-7, were helped by state intervention to become the backbone of commercial farming in the country. This goal was largely achieved thanks to the rapid construction of a very comprehensive institutional support structure, notably comprising important public infrastructure, the establishment of well-capitalised and integrated (farm to retail) cooperatives, a large volume of subsidised credit and outright grants, and extensive training and extension services programs. These important measures were then ‘assisted’ by further dispossessing the black community of any remaining high quality agricultural land that was still in their individual or communal ownership. Rhodesia’s agricultural sector thus became one of Africa’s strongest. Importantly, it was by no means the supreme bulwark it is commonly assumed to be. On this, the book dispels many myths about the economic efficiency of the agricultural system prior to independence, notably showing that about a third of the farms remained unprofitable and that much good land was later abandoned and remained unused right up till independence.

Notwithstanding, the agricultural system was a major prop to the white Rhodesian economy and society, especially in terms of consolidating white control and in generating valuable foreign exchange. As noted, the authors highlight the importance to the white farming community of extensive state support. This description offers a striking contrast to the shortfall of support offered to the black farmers after independence. Crucially, the authors point out that Zimbabwe’s white-owned plantation farms needed a major state export promotion program, including grants and subsidies, in order to make serious inroads into expanding global markets for niche agricultural products (e.g., mangetout peas, passion fruit and cut flowers). There should be no surprise here. As a growing number of development economists have begun to recount, notably Ha-Joon Chang[ii], and as a growing number of practical experiences elsewhere in Africa also appear to confirm,[iii] there are in fact almost no examples of a successful agricultural sector that did not count on comprehensive state support and financial investment/subsidies. Not all such individual programs ‘worked’, of course, but there are no successful agricultural systems that did not use such programs and policies. So Zimbabwe’s extensive set of agricultural interventions in the pre-Independence period were actually based on very sound economic principles. And they worked.

Understandably, then, the authors are right to repeatedly point out that when the black community began to move into farming in the post-Independence period thanks to the land reform/restitution process, it was therefore a major barrier to the new farmers to find that similar forms of state support were simply unavailable. This makes the ultimate success of the black owned and controlled farms even more astounding. This deleterious lack of support was not so much policy-driven, as the authors are quick to point out, but simply because of a lack of domestic resources in the country after a vicious liberation war and in the face of continuing military and economic attacks by the apartheid regime of South Africa. For example, although the existing agricultural marketing and extension services were immediately opened up to all Zimbabweans following Independence, the funding made available was not anywhere near in proportion to the enormity of the task at hand. Partly also, however, the problem facing Zimbabwe’s new black farming community was that the international community, then in thrall to the ideology of neoliberalism and structural adjustment, did not actually believe in, and so nor would they sanction, such forms of state support being funded with international loans and grants – instead, ‘the market’ was expected to take care of such important matters.

The authors paint a vivid picture of the new class of black farmers returning from the war of Independence only to encounter very much worse conditions compared to the previous white generation returning from duty in World War II. They also point to the serious drought in 2001-2 that followed upon a series of catastrophic droughts, notably in 1991-1992 (the worst of the century), which hardly made things any easier for the new black farming class. Nonetheless, it is the defining feature of the book to show how, seemingly in spite of all the odds, economically successful farms were eventually created by the black community upon their newly restituted land. Making use of peer-to-peer learning (often involving white farmers that remained in Zimbabwe), by the patient reinvestment of any initial surplus made on the farm, by experimentation with different crops and techniques, and through much collective effort, the new black farmers eventually began to reach, and then sometimes to exceed, the productivity levels reached by the former white farmers on much larger plantation-style farms using better quality land. The book thus makes a hugely important contribution to the ongoing debate over the economically ‘optimum’ farm size. The evidence presented here from Zimbabwe supports those analysts, especially those associated with the agro-ecological lobby,[iv] who claim that the key to a productive agricultural system is more likely to be found not in plantation-style farms, but in much smaller but still commercially-oriented farms.

Going even further, the authors show that the old white-owned and controlled plantation farms in Rhodesia were not just much less economically efficient than was hitherto very widely assumed, but that such plantations clearly exacerbated the depth of general poverty and existing social divisions in the community along colour lines: that is, very much as is the norm across Africa, the few employees used on the plantation farms in white-controlled Rhodesia were very seriously exploited, while the local community rarely benefitted from even the most successful plantation farms that were in the vicinity. This unsatisfactory situation is then very usefully contrasted with the emerging situation in the post-Independence period, where the growing numbers of black-owned farms have begun to impel a very positive economic and social development trajectory at the local level. This new trajectory is marked out by rising individual farm incomes, growing levels of solidarity and intra- and inter-community trust, more local food self-sufficiency, and a lessening of previous high levels of inequality. So, smaller farms in Zimbabwe are not just doing very well in terms of productivity, as was noted above, but are also increasingly seen as a much better strategic option for local communities seeking generalised economic and social progress. Pointedly, even the international community is now starting to pick up on the radically different and significant reality that is Zimbabwe today, and is so carefully and intelligently described by the authors of this book.[v]

All told, this book is, first, a fantastic history lesson. At a time when another on-going land grab is dominating the world news as I write this review – the relentless and brutal dispossession of the Palestinians by the early Israeli settlers coming mainly from Europe, and the continuation of this program by their equally intransigent descendents – the appalling unfairness, brutality and stupidity of the white settler land grab from the late 1800s onwards in what is now Zimbabwe is pointedly and rightfully noted throughout the entire book. But, even more than this, this important book provides a much-needed antidote to so many of the myths surrounding the economic and social efficiency of the post-land reform/restitution agricultural sector in Zimbabwe. On this issue, it is informative, passionate and well-argued, and written in such a brilliantly engaging style that it was hard to put down. For this reason, it is an indispensible addition to the library of those working in land restitution and reform issues, and perhaps an even more important purchase for the probably much larger group of economists looking at the role of the agricultural sector in facilitating sustainable rural development everywhere around the world. This book cannot be rated too highly."
By Milford Bateman, author of the Kumarian Press publication Confronting Microfinance.

[i] Notably, for example, Ian Scoones, Nelson Marongwe, Blasio Mavedzenge, Jacob Mahenehene, Felix Murimbarimba and Chrispen Sukume, 2010, Zimbabwe’s land reform: Myths and realities, Harare: Weaver Press.
[ii] Chang, H-J. 2009. ‘Rethinking Public Policy in Agriculture – Lessons from History, Distant and Recent’, Journal of Peasant Studies, 36 (3), 477-515.
[iii] Pointedly, the major improvements registered in Malawi thanks to targeted subsidies that were used to allow smallholder farmers to purchase fertiliser and quality seeds, and which within a few years transformed Malawi from a net food importer into a major food exporter. See Bello, W. 2009. Food Wars. London: Verso. 
[iv] For example, see Norberg-Hodge, H., and T Merrifield T, S Gorelick. 2002. Bringing the Food Economy Home: Local Alternatives to Global Agribusiness, Zed Press: London.
[v] For example, ‘In Zimbabwe Land takeover, a golden lining’, New York Times, July 20th, 2012.

Monday, December 10, 2012

What to Expect from KP in January 2013

Kumarian Press has a wide range of activities and books being released at the start of the new year.

New titles to look out for by Kumarian Press include:

  • Poverty and Development in Latin America
  • Development Challenges Confronting Pakistan
  • Managing Drug Supply

Poverty is still widespread in Latin America, in spite of over five decades of international development efforts to eradicate it. While some progress was made during the first decade of the new Millennium, at least until the onset of the global food and economic crises, there are still over one hundred and eighty million people in the region who unable to meet their basic needs. This is the ‘poverty problematic’ that is at the center of this book. It addresses what are perhaps the most important questions of our time: What are the root causes of poverty? And how can it overcome? Also, with regards to the recent progress in the so-called war against poverty, the editors ask: How real is this progress? What or whose actions are responsible for this achievement? Through a critical analysis of public policies and development pathways, Poverty and Development in Latin America provides nuanced responses to these questions. The major conclusion reached and shared by the editors is that poverty reduction cannot be sustained with an anti-poverty strategy based only on social inclusion and economic assistance, or humanitarian relief.

In Pakistan, there has been limited substantive research conducted to identify the unique blend of structural impediments to development that prevail in the country today. Indeed, Pakistan’s prospects to promote viable, sustainable social development appear bleaker today than a decade ago. Development Challenges Confronting Pakistan seeks to rectify this void by bringing together scholars and practitioners—many of them from Pakistan—to provide a scholarly understanding of the structural impediments, or barriers, that have negative effects on Pakistan’s ability to eliminate poverty, promote social justice and implement policies to promote equity.

Managing Drug Supply (MDS) is the leading reference on how to manage essential medicines in developing countries. MDS was originally published in 1982; it was revised in 1997 with over 10,000 copies distributed in over 60 countries worldwide. The third edition, MDS-3: Managing Access to Medicines and Health Technologies reflects the dramatic changes in politics and public health priorities, advances in science and medicine, greater focus on health care systems, increased donor funding, and the advent of information technology that have profoundly affected access to essential medicines over the past 14 years.

  1. January 9th: The Society for International Development, DC Chapter, will host a presentation of Susan Ross's work, including an introduction to her Kumarian Press release Expanding the Pie. The event will range from 12:30pm - 2:00pm.
  2. January 15th: Radio Peacebuilding will interview Max Stephenson and Laura Zanotti about their new KP release Peacebuilding Through Community-Based NGOs.
  3. January 28th: Author Joseph Hanlon will speak on Voice of Africa radio about his new release Zimbabwe Takes Back Its Land.
To receive review and/or exam copies of the titles listed, please contact the Marketing Associate:

Monday, December 3, 2012

Guest Blog Posting by Kerry Fosher of Practicing Military Anthropology

Practicing Military Anthropology
Edited by Robert Rubinstein, Kerry Fosher, and Clementine Fujimura

Sometime in 2008, I realized I was spending a third of every conference presentation talking about things I don’t do in the course of my work with the U.S. military. I do not spy. I do not do classified research. I do not work for the Human Terrain System. I do not collect information about the people who live in places where U.S. forces are deployed. Many anthropologists who worked with military and intelligence organizations were experiencing similar problems. We joked about wearing t-shirts or displaying posters listing all the things we don’t do so that we could spend our presentation time on what other anthropologists were able to, our work and research. The idea for the book, Practicing Military Anthropology, began in those discussions of how to provide better information about what it means to be a military anthropologist.

Between 2006 and 2008, the American Anthropological Association (AAA) began to take note of an increasing interest in anthropologists and anthropology on the part of military and intelligence organizations.  As the discipline became aware of the Army’s Human Terrain System (HTS) concept, much of the discussion came to center around that program. Many in the discipline felt that HTS epitomized the problems that arise when anthropologists get involved with government organizations, especially those involved with spying and the use of force.  Many conference panels on militarization, military anthropology, ethics, and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan were organized. Anthropologists spoke to the press and began to publish their concerns about the connection of anthropologists to the military. The first report from the AAA’s Commission on the Engagement with U.S. Security and Intelligence Communities (CEUSSIC), which tried to introduce some of the scope of work anthropologists were doing in the security sector, was nearly eclipsed by the discipline’s new awareness of HTS and the questions it raised. The work of CEUSSIC was extended to allow a more thorough investigation of HTS.

As I and other anthropologists involved with the military participated in these discussions, it became clear that we were swimming upstream against strong assumptions. Almost every discussion was sent spinning off in strange directions by the assumption that military organizations only wanted was anthropologists to do fieldwork or act as spies. The discipline had little frame of reference for thinking through the significant ethical, professional, theoretical, and methodological questions our work raised. Much of the critique was based on macro-level assessments of the problematic nature of working within flawed institutions. Relatively little incorporated the sorts of empirically grounded knowledge that the discipline normally prioritizes. It became clear that if we wanted to have a more robust discussion, we would need to do more than react to assumptions and assertions. We also needed to provide information on what we actually do and how we think about it.

When Syracuse University’s Anthropology Department approached me and Brian Selmeski with a generous offer to support a symposium about military anthropology, the timing was perfect. It was not only a chance to produce the accounts of practice we felt were so urgently needed. It also allowed us to bring together old and new colleagues to think about what it might mean to work with military and intelligence organizations in the future and the broader issues the topic raised. In particular, it was a chance to engage with anthropologists who had examined some of this realm before, people like my co-authors Robert and Clementine, Anna Simons, and Jessica Turnley. As discussions and work on the book progressed, it became apparent that there was no one set of conditions or decisions that led people to work with the military. People had varying degrees of interest in the things that were preoccupying people at AAA meetings and located themselves differently within those debates. In fact, despite the book’s title, some of the authors, including myself, do not think of ourselves as military anthropologists. Rather than trying to standardize what the authors addressed, we chose to let the differences be part of the message of the book. Although other demands on his time caused Brian to have to leave the project toward the end, in that choice and in other ways his influence is still felt in the volume.

Although it was not a focus in most of the chapters, one of the interesting side effects of the interaction among the authors was the discussion about how the focus on military anthropology raised (sometimes resurrected) issues for other aspects of anthropology. In the concluding chapter of the volume, Robert raises some significant issues for how the debates reflect on work in the academy. Unsurprisingly, we also found that the same issues of the potential for bias, enabling flawed institutions, requirements for ongoing decision-making, and compromises necessary to influence policy apply in anthropological advocacy and applied or practicing projects across domains. Some of these domains, such medicine, public health, work with NGOs, human rights actions, etc., are seen as topically and contextually less problematic in the discipline and, therefore, receive less scrutiny. The work of fully articulating these commonalities remains to be done.

For several authors it was a period of intense personal and professional decision-making. Almost all of us changed jobs or focus during the development of the book. So, while there is diversity within the book, the chapters also represent snapshots of lives that were simultaneously shaped by and shaping the practitioner context.  Many of us were in the midst of intensive work to create or significantly reshape the programs and institutions in which we worked. Some of us had been brought into the organizations to instigate such changes. Others were taking advantage of what we knew to be a momentary wobble in powerful institutional processes in order to insert changes.

Far from being constrained by the dictates of the state, some of us had fundamental disagreements about what kinds of engagement were appropriate, about the legitimacy of critiques being made of military anthropology, even about what anthropological theories to teach to military personnel.  Those disagreements took place among people who were almost constantly on travel, away from home for long periods of time, tired and cranky. Yet the discussions remained civil and constructive.

The civility of this process and the similar atmosphere in CEUSSIC matter greatly. At a time when the debates were at their most polemic among military anthropologists and the broader discipline, it has been possible to create places where difficult questions can be asked and possible answers discussed in ways that do not a priori categorize and exclude certain participants. It also has been possible to expand discussion outside of the frames proposed by the loudest voices, frames that do not always take the complexity of practice into account. Practicing Military Anthropology represents one such effort, moving beyond assertions that rely on one reductionist view of anthropologists in military contexts and delving into the complexity of practice that must be understood for informed debate to take place.

 Practicing Military Anthropology is available to purchase through Kumarian Press and retails for $24.95. To request review and/or exam copies, email Jennifer at  

Monday, November 12, 2012

Guest Author Posting by Teresa Smart

Zimbabwe Takes Back iIs Land

By Joseph Hanlon, Jeannette Manjengwa, and Teresa Smart

Esther and Teresa are both land reform farmers in Mazowe, Zimbabwe. We first met Esther and her friend Teresa at a field day at Kia Ora Farm. They each have 15 acre plots of top quality land. The former white farms had been subdivided into 50 or 60 fifteen acre plots. These two women had impressed us with their tales of how much and what they produced on their farms. Esther talked about harvests of 100 tonnes of maize from 35 acres (her own 15 plus a borrowed 20 acres). Esther says that during 10 years of farming, she had invested her money in farming equipment.

My namesake, Teresa, has invested her profits in buying cattle and sending her two children to university in South Africa. She borrows a tractor and irrigation pipes from her friend Esther. When we asked how they had managed to produce so much, Teresa leant down and picked up some earth and showed me the earth and her work roughened hands; good soil and hard work was her answer.

We were researching our book, Zimbabwe Takes Back its Land, looking at what has happened to the 170,000 black farmers who controversially occupied 4,000 white farms in 2000 and 2001. Although the local agriculture extension officer independently verified their stories of production and equipment, we wanted to see it with our own eyes. On our visit we saw the tractors, irrigation equipment, planter, and pumps. All are in good working order and Esther already knows how she will spend the profit from the coming harvest – this tractor needs new tires and she wants to buy a harvester. Every penny from her production is invested in the farm. But her pride and joy is her maize – strong, clean, well-weeded fields of maize. She is expecting three tonnes per acre, which the extension officer confirms. She has hedged her bets by planting three different seed types: one high yielding, one lower yield but drought resistant, and one for late planting in case of late rains. So whatever the weather her yield will always give an average of three tonnes per acre.

While we are admiring her maize, she tells us her story. She was a teacher, but she had grown up on a farm and always wanted to be a farmer; so when the land reform started she applied for land. When she was granted her 15 acres, she gave up her job, but her husband stayed in his job in the police and paid the household bills while she ploughed all of her savings into the land. The first year she produced 100 tonnes and spent the money on buying a second hand tractor. The second year she bought irrigation pipes and pumps so that she could grow winter wheat giving her two crops a year. The third year she bought another tractor and so on. Her husband has since died so she has full financial responsibility for the family. The problem with farming is that you have to pay bills for fuel, workers, electricity, school fees and food every week but you only receive money once or twice a year when you sell your crops. Esther resolves this in two ways: When she sells her crops she immediately buys fertilizer, seeds and new equipment for the next year; and, then she has diversified running a small shop for local farmers and making peanut butter to sell so she has a small fund coming in every day.

Esther and Teresa are some of the best of the new farmers, but overall the new farmers are using more of the land than their white predecessors and now producing nearly as much. Research shows that it takes two decades to reach the maximum potential of a farm, so the new farmers are only halfway through that process, and seem set to produce more than the former white farmers.

At independence in 1980, only one-third of what farmers were doing well, and one-third were bankrupt. Our surveys and other studies show a similar spread for the new farmers, with a third becoming serious commercial farmers like Ester and Teresa. But what is equally impressive is standing with Joe, whose father was thrown off his land by white settlers 55 years ago, or Agnes who lost her leg as a guerrilla in the liberation war, in the middle of their resettlement farms, and of their pride not just in regaining their land, but in what they have built on their own farms in the past decade.

Many problems remain in Zimbabwe. But United States sanctions are not just against an evil elite, but against Esther, Teresa, Joe, Agnes and the other 170,000 land reform farmers. As President Barak Obama goes into his second term and looks again at foreign policy, perhaps it is time to rethink how the U.S. approaches Zimbabwe.

Zimbabwe Takes Back Its Land releases later this month. The book is available to pre-order through Kumarian Press and retails for $26.95. To request review and/or exam copies, contact Marketing Associate Jennifer Kern:

Monday, November 5, 2012

Guest Author Posting By Anthony Ware

Context-Sensitive Development
Anthony Ware

How do you write an up-to-date book about a context that is changing as fast as Myanmar? I commenced research for this book several years ago, and began writing  my findings in earnest during 2010 and 2011. However, as anyone at all familiar with Myanmar will know, political and social change has been unexpectedly rapid in this country over the last 18 months or so, making it difficult but most important to keep checking and updating the research and findings right up until the final hour before printing. Accordingly, the last revisions were made to the text in late July 2012, for an early October book launch date!

On the back of numerous visits to the country between 1992 and  2007, and a lot of reading about the history and context over the years, I commenced formal research specifically for this project during an extended visit in 2009. I have had several visits since, but that initial research period was about a year after Cyclone Nargis devastated the country at a loss of some 140,000 lives, an event which greatly change the involvement of international actors in Myanmar. Actually, the cyclone itself was not a significant factor motivating my research; to me the challenge was more about understanding how we foreigners could most effectively assist in poverty alleviation within such an enigmatic context. Poverty in Myanmar has been amongst the worst in Asia, and the state in Myanmar has long been highly bureaucratic, authoritarian, incompetent and often brutal. Complicating the issue, however, Myanmar has also long been greatly suspicious of Western motives, while itself being sanctioned by Western governments over human rights violations and a failure to respect the democratic voice of the people. How do we help alleviate poverty in such a context? That was what I set out to document.

Unexpectedly, just as I was in the midst of writing up my research, military strongman Senior General Than Shwe resigned as president. This event, of course, paved the way for the now-familiar reforms under new president Thein Sein, something we are all very pleasantly surprised to see coming to partial fruition. I had been aware that the November 2010 elections were to be held, but I did not give them must consideration. Along with most of the international community, I was taken completely by surprise when Than Shwe resigned to allow a more civilian government to form, and even more surprised by the content of Thein Sein's March 2011 inaugural speech, which outlined an ambitious reform agenda. Without taking anything away from my discussion of this in the book, let me just say that from his first speech, Thein Sein has set a very different path to that of his predecessor.

While the reforms which began to take shape over the months following Thein Sein taking power were extremely welcome, they had major ramifications for me as an author in the middle of a book about the country. Naturally, I was immediately nervous that my research and findings might become irrelevant. Thus I planned several follow-up visits during 2011 and 2012 to remain up with the changes, and consider their impact on the work of international NGOs in the country.

So I found myself back in Yangon in July 2011. I remember feeling quite frustrated at the difficulty I was having securing appointments with the Australian ambassador, the AusAID team, and others, when then news came out that Kevin Rudd, then Australian foreign minister, had arrived to assess the reform; the first Western ministerial-level visit to Myanmar in decades. I hardly minded not getting an appointment that week! (Although I was delighted to receive an invitation for an appointment with the ambassador the week after he left.)

I returned again in December 2011, just in time for Hillary Clinton's visit. It was quite interesting to find myself in a house in Insein district, chatting about her major speech to the press with local informants just the morning after the speech. As it turns out, I then flew back into the country during the second week of April 2012, just after the by-elections that saw Aung San Suu Kyi and 42 members of her National League for Democracy (NLD) elected to parliament. It was a privilege to be sitting with local residents in one of the electorates won by the NLD just a week after the election, and able to talk about their reactions to the by-election. But I did start getting a little paranoid foreign political leaders were stalking me when UK Prime Minister David Cameron appeared in the country that same week. Not that I got to see him personally, of course! What capped it all off, though, was travelling back to Myanmar yet again in June 2012, to make the final edits to the manuscript, and find that yet again I was there within days of the visit by the new Aus­tralian, Senator Carr, as he announced ground-breaking policy changes and new aid commitments by Australia.

Watching these events unfold, largely from a position inside the country, gave me the opportunity to monitor the changes closely, and incorporate these into the manuscript right up to the last moment it was sent to the printer. I have to say, Kumarian were wonderful with this – so flexible in trying to deliver the most relevant and up-to-date book to readers. The final edits sent through were dated 24 July 2012, and included several updates and an Afterword. Thank you so much to Jennifer, McKinley, Jim and everyone at Kumarian for your flexibility and encouragement in this endeavor.

Context-Sensitive Development is available for purchase through Kumarian Press. To receive review and/or exam copies, please contact Marketing Associate Jennifer Kern:

Monday, October 29, 2012

Interested in Publishing with Kumarian Press?

Hello, KP Readers:

Do you have a great book idea? We would like to invite you to send your editorial proposals to us for review.

Below are a few helpful tips to help you get started:

The length of the manuscript is an important part of the contract: it is a key factor in determining the list price as well as the cost of producing and printing the book. Manuscript length is expressed as thousands of words. Book length is expressed in multiples of 16-page or 32-page "signatures," which are the number of pages created by folding and gathering paper mill reels or large sheets of paper into a bound book. Accordingly, a typical Stylus contract may stipulate a manuscript not exceeding 84,000 words, which, allowing for front ("prelims") and back matter (usually bibliography and index), will yield a 224-page book of a given trim size and using a page design with a particular typeface

The word count allows for the fact that a number of pages are set aside for such elements as the title page, the copyright page, dedication, acknowledgments and table of contents (the "prelims"). A typical double-spaced word-processed page of 12-point type comes to about 380 words.

If a book is to be illustrated or will present a great deal of tabular material, or needs a design with lots of indents and bullet points, this needs to be discussed at contract stage so that these factors are taken into account in determining length.

Our Stylus contract calls for you to submit your final manuscript in both hard copy and disk forms. In this digital age, hard copy is still important for transmitting detailed instructions to those involved in converting your manuscript into a book, and as a safeguard in case of corrupt files.

It is also very important to adhere to the following instructions in preparing your manuscript. In addition to the quality of the content, the physical form of submission is a key element of what constitutes an acceptable manuscript.

These instructions are designed to streamline the work of the many people who will be involved in editing, designing and printing your book, and enable them work effectively with you in the process.

Be sure to check out our manuscript submission guidelines for more information.

Are you ready to begin working with us? Contact Editor Jim Lance: We look forward to working with you.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

New Titles Releasing Next Month

Kumarian Press has a slew of new titles in the fields of foreign affairs, anthropology, advocacy and more. Pre-order these titles now:

Practicing Military Anthropology: “Professor Rubinstein’s shocking revelations of brutal and cruel professional malfeasance committed by leading scholars against other contributors to this volume lays bare a shameful and deeply rooted pathology within the disciplinary culture that poses a grave threat to the collective integrity and, indeed, to the very future of anthropology itself."- George R. Lucas, Jr. (Ph.D.), Professor of Ethics & Public Policy at the Naval Postgraduate School, Distinguished Chair of Ethics at the U.S. Naval Academy

In this book, a number of anthropologists who have either worked with the US armed forces or who teach at military service academies reflect on what they do and teach in their military anthropologist personae. Through their personal accounts they show that the practice of military anthropology is much more than HTS and that they are more than mere “technicians of the state” as critics allege.

Confronting Power: "Jeff Unsicker's Confronting Power provides new knowledge for policy advocacy practitioners so that they understand the contributions they make as advocates. I found myself cheering Unsicker's writing and the stories he, his students and colleagues uncovered. Students of policy advocacy can learn from the case studies which demystify advocacy as they respect the advocates' serious work. Academic discipline does not stand in the way of making the advocates work come alive. We come away valuing the public work of policy advocacy and wanting to engage in it."- David Cohen,Co-Founder , Advocacy Institute

Confronting Power provides an academically rigorous, yet practical and comprehensive framework and concepts for planning, implementing and evaluating policy advocacy. Based on the author's experiences both as teacher and activist, the framework is general enough to be relevant for advocacy in a variety of sectors such as poverty alleviation, human rights and the environment, in different national and cultural contexts, and at levels ranging from influencing a town council to transnational institutions such as the World Bank.

Zimbabwe Takes Back Its Land: "Land and farming rights have been the most powerful issue in Zimbabwe for over 100 years, as I discovered when I wrote my MSc thesis on this subject in the 1960s. While white farmers were evicted in a brutal fashion and many of Mugabe's cronies were the beneficiaries, this is not the whole story. This excellent book describes how agricultural production is now returning to the level of the 1990s. If tens of thousands of poor Zimbabwean farmers are now able to make a livelihood from the land, some significant good will have emerged from a terrible period of Zimbabwe’s history." - Sir Malcolm Rifkind, MP, Former UK Defence Secretary and Foreign Secretary

The news from Zimbabwe is usually unremittingly bleak. Perhaps no issue has aroused such ire as the land reforms in 2000, when 170,000 black farmers occupied 4,000 white farms. A decade later, with production returning to former levels, the land reform story is a contrast to the dominant media narratives of oppression and economic stagnation. Zimbabwe Takes Back it Land offers a positive and nuanced assessment of land reform in Zimbabwe. The book stresses that the land reform was organized by liberation war veterans acting against President Mugabe and his cronies and their corruption.

NGO Leadership and Human Rights: “Addresses a critical issue that has received scant scholarly attention in the mainstream human rights/humanitarian affairs literature.”- Prof. George Andreopoulos, Center for International Human Rights , John Jay College of Criminal Justice-CUNY

NGO Leadership and Human Rights covers various topics of importance to those who work in development and/or advocacy organizations with human rights orientations and for undergraduate and graduate students aspiring to such careers. This book provides context, definition and guidance for the perplexed seeking entrance into a challenging but rewarding endeavor.

Find these books and more on our website and contact Marketing Associate Jennifer Kern if interested in obtaining a review and/or exam copy:

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Conflict Resolution Day is Thursday, October 18th

Since 2005, the ACR has joined human rights activists and conflict resolution practitioners to celebrate Conflict Resolution Day on the third Thursday of every October.

The goals of Conflict Resolution Day are to:

• Promote awareness of mediation, arbitration, conciliation and other creative, peaceful means of resolving conflict;
• Promote the use of conflict resolution in schools, families, businesses, communities, governments and the legal system;
• Recognize the significant contributions of (peaceful) conflict resolvers; and
• Obtain national synergy by having celebrations happen across the country and around the world on the same day.


View our Conflict Resolution Titles

Click on the cover image for more information on each title*

   9781565494268   9781565492868_cf200 3


Coming Spring 2013

Conflict Assessment and Peacebuilding Handbook
Lisa Schirch

The handbook contains 1) conflict assessment exercises; 2) self-assessment exercises; and 3) peacebuilding planning frameworks. Conflict assessment exercises help to map the factors increasing conflict and the factors supporting peace. Self-assessment exercises help narrow priorities and assess abilities of those planning peacebuilding.  Peacebuilding frameworks offer a range of program options.

To receive a review and/or exam copy of our conflict resolution publications, contact Marketing Associate Jennifer Kern at

Monday, October 8, 2012

Third New October Release Update

Hello, KP Bookreaders:

In addition to Context-Sensitive Development and Foreign Aid Competition in Northeast Asia, The Golden Fleece is out.

Edited by Antonio Donini, The Golden Fleece delves into questions that are rarely asked and seldom answered. It examines the impact of manipulation on the effectiveness of humanitarian action. This book takes a long view, starting with the origins of organized humanitarianism in the mid-19th century and zeroes in on the twenty-plus years since the end of the Cold War. It examines whether instrumentalization has achieved its desired objectives, whether political manipulation is greater today than before, and whether the recent dramatic growth of relief work has opened up humanitarian action to greater manipulation.

The book has already received national and international attention by organizations such as: The Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission and the Global Insecurities Centre, University of Bristol.

The book is available to purchase through Kumarian Press and retails for $29.95.

Contact Marketing Associate Jennifer Kern if you express an interest in review and/or exam copies:

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Guest Author Posting: Alcinda Honwana

The Time of Youth
Alcinda Honwana

The research for this book began in 2008 in Mozambique and was later expanded to South Africa, Senegal, and Tunisia. In these four countries I met young people from a range of social and economic backgrounds. I conducted individual interviews and focus-group discussions with students, young professionals, musicians and other artists, activists from various fields, and unemployed young men and women carrying out the most diverse activities to try to make ends meet.

Young people were eager to tell their stories. In long individual interviews I listened to their life stories and their views about their peers, their elders, the economy, and politics. Focus-group discussions were undertaken with diverse groups of young people. Some were all female, some all male, and some mixed. Others involved people with common interests, such as musicians and performers. I also spoke with groups belonging to particular organizations, such as party youth leagues and civil society associations. Most focus groups considered specific topics, and participants debated and exchanged views among themselves.

I also took time to interact with young people in places where they normally hung out, such as youth clubs, restaurants, and bars. Occasionally I was invited for meals at their homes and had the opportunity to meet their parents, siblings, and other relatives. The fact that my research assistants were themselves quite young facilitated my access to their social networks; I met their friends and then the friends of those friends, creating a snowball effect. My research assistants mediated between my young informants and me, as they advised me about the “dos and don’ts” and explained what was considered “cool” and “uncool.” They provided useful insights regarding ways of broaching difficult subjects. Although I speak the major languages of all four countries, they also translated and helped interpret some of the discussions conducted with young people in their mother tongues, especially Wolof in Senegal and Arabic in Tunisia.

In addition, I interviewed government officials, religious leaders, scholars, journalists, and public intellectuals who are concerned about youth. These interviews provided information about the ways these societies look at young people, specific policies and programs designed for them, and youths’ place in the economy, society, and culture.

Most of the research was conducted in urban settings, although I occasionally visited rural areas. Many young people who grow up in the economically undeveloped countryside seek a solution to their pressing problems in the cities. African cities are teeming with young men and women trying to survive on the margins of formal socioeconomic structures. For many, the city becomes a place to forge new ways of living free from the constraints of rural society. In the countryside, youth have no platform for action not only because resources are limited but also because older people tend to monopolize power; indeed, some call rural communities gerontocracies. The city promises anonymity, a degree of chaos that allows for personal freedom. Here they find possibilities for improvisation, experimentation, and desenrascar—literally, to disentangle themselves from a situation, and metaphorically, to improvise a solution from almost nothing at the very last moment.

The young people I interviewed described their daily life struggles as well as their aspirations. They shared amazing stories of resilience and survival under dire circumstances. I tell the stories of the young men in Maputo who survive by scavenging in the city’s garbage dump; of the Mozambican mukheristas, young women who engage in small-scale, cross-border trading without paying import taxes; of the young South Africans whose only form of livelihood is sporadic overnight shelf-packing in supermarkets; of the Senegalese street vendors and those desperate enough to try to make the dangerous crossing to Europe in small pirogues (boats); of the Tunisian university graduates working in European-owned call centers; and of the many young women and men who hook up with “sugar daddies” and “sugar mamas” to be able to pay high school fees and buy fashionable goods. I also introduce readers to rappers who criticize the status quo, protesters who force governments to reverse unsound policies, and revolutionaries who topple dictatorships. Indeed, young men and women do not merely wait for their lives to change. They are proactive and wake up each day with the goal of making their own lives better despite their depressing circumstances.

I was amazed by their agency as they actively set out to live as fully as possible despite their circumstances. I was equally struck by their capacity to understand the broader structural forces that shape their everyday lives. I was most impressed by their creativity and the commitment to citizenship that they sustained amid such a chaotic and often improvised existence. Young people are involved in a myriad of associations and activist groups and deeply engaged with the issues that matter to them, often on the margins of formal political structures and ideologies.

Young people were very clear about the ways they wanted me to portray them and the messages they hoped I would deliver on their behalf. They are keenly aware of the disapproving ways parents and elders, governments, and the media generally depict them. In this book I bring their own voices to the fore by using as many direct quotations as possible and providing information about who they are in order to allow the reader greater insight into their lives.

The Time of Youth focuses on the lives of many of these youths struggling with unemployment and sustainable livelihoods in the context of widespread social and economic crisis. Failed neo-liberal socio-economic policies, bad governance and political instability have caused stable jobs to disappear—without jobs young people cannot support themselves and their families. Most young Africans are living in a period of suspension between childhood and adulthood because they are unable to make the transition into adult independence -to build, buy, or rent a house for themselves, support their relatives, get married, establish families, and gain social recognition as adults. They live in a state of limbo that I call  “waithood” (a portmanteau term of “wait” and “-hood”, meaning ‘waiting for adulthood’). Unfortunately, in many of these social contexts waithood is becoming pervasive and is gradually replacing conventional adulthood. While the book focuses on four African case studies, it also argues that youth in Europe, North America and other parts of the world are facing the same crisis of joblessness and restricted futures. Thus the youth crisis, or waithood, is becoming global.

Order your copy of The Time of Youth today. To request review and/or exam copies, contact Marketing Associate Jennifer Kern at:

Monday, September 24, 2012

Two KP Titles Release Next Week!

Kumarian Press is excited to welcome two titles into the family this October entitled Context-Sensitive Development and Foreign Aid Competition in Northeast Asia.

Context-Sensitive Development, By Anthony Ware, examines how to effect successful development interventions in Myanmar. Anthony Ware points out that while practitioners have questioned universal economic prescriptions for development, they have not been as consistent in questioning the normative foundations behind their work. Ware does not argue for a facile moral relativism; he sees Myanmar as an egregious violator of human rights, but he does call for “context sensitivity” to help organizations adapt their values to better meet the needs of client populations.

The book retails for $27.50 and is available for purchase, review and exam inspection.

High levels of economic growth have transformed the countries of Northeast Asia from aid recipients to aid donors. Foreign Aid Competition in Northeast Asia explores this transformation and its implications for economic development paradigms, policies, and practices. By being the first authors to look holistically at the countries in this region, Kim, Potter, and contributors address the dynamics, potential, and tensions of the aid programs of China, Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan.

The book retails for $27.50, as well, and is available for purchase, review and exam inspection.

Topurchase and/or request these copies, please contact Marketing Associate Jennifer Kern:

Monday, September 17, 2012

Guest Authors Blog Post for New Peace Studies/NGO Title

By Max Stephenson and Laura Zanotti:

Our field research for Peacebuilding through Community-based NGOs: Paradoxes and Possibilities took us to three sites of long-lived conflict: Northern Ireland, Serbia and Haiti. Each left lasting impressions on us in different ways.

In Belfast, we undertook a series of interviews with representatives of the Community Foundation for Northern Ireland as well as delegates of Foundations for Peace, a global network of philanthropies actively engaged in peacebuilding work in multiple nations. We learned much during our visit and interestingly, one central lesson of our interviews was strongly underpinned by our forays around the city. Our visit coincided with the 10th anniversary of the Good Friday Accord that formally ended the decades of the “Troubles” whose violence had literally torn the province apart. We imagined that the city would evidence some healing due to persistent peacebuilding efforts at all scales in the decade that had elapsed since a formal peace had been negotiated. And this was so in some ways, but to our surprise, no one among our interviewees believed the city’s population was yet ready to see the so-called “peace walls” separating neighborhoods and parts of the city and originally aimed at controlling violence and protecting innocents, removed. And now nearly 15 years after the Accord, the city is more segregated than ever and its many walls remain a continuing and ubiquitous hulking presence whose borders and boundaries define the warp and woof of resident’s daily life and activities. If we needed an object lesson in how long it may take societies once rent asunder to begin to build trust across their previous divisions, despite the good efforts of many, we witnessed it first-hand in Belfast. Peacebuilding requires steadfastness, a vision that must be ready to encompass decades and courage to have any hope of success. We explored the work of an NGO in the province that has demonstrated the pluck to continue questioning discourses of conflict deeply ingrained in Northern Ireland society, while challenging standardized and “short cut” approaches to peacebuilding by fostering ongoing intra-communal engagement opportunities concerning peace and its distributive effects.

            Our fieldwork in Serbia took us not only to Belgrade, but also to Srebrenica. We visited the latter site on the day of commemoration of the tragic genocide that made that isolated beautiful valley with its now abandoned and dilapidated United Nations compound and row upon row of neatly tended gravesites, infamous. As we write, the international community continues to fund forensic efforts to identify the victims of the massacre near the site. One central feature on the commemoration day of our visit was the honoring and interment of the remains of several hundred newly identified individuals. It was at once an unforgettable and deeply moving spectacle underpinned by the knowledge that all sides in that conflict continue to construct warring narratives that implicate the “other” in genocidal actions. This tit-for-tat mentality and its accompanying partisan social constructions of the past conflict have marred efforts to secure progress to address still fresh enmities. We also could not fail to note that one avowed aim of this mass killing was to “ethnically cleanse” what was for decades a mixed religious and ethnic community. Srebrenica is today a single ethnic enclave.  This situation teaches that violent human fear and hatred of “the other” are likely to have enduring and deeply lamentable consequences, and those may not be safely predicted in advance. Most international organizations and NGOs, by focusing on the memorialization of war victims, end up reinforcing political dynamics rooted into war identities, rather than opening the way for new possibilities for intra-communal relations.     

            Our work in Haiti found us visiting not only that nation’s capital city, but also traveling to its mountainous and still relatively inaccessible plateau region. The long-lived conflict and associated regime changes that have beset the nation in recent decades, some born of native political conditions and movements and others imposed by the international community, have essentially eviscerated government capacity and left a population to fend largely for itself. This, it continues to do and with amazingly good grace and sheer determination, but the immiseration of the island’s people has left a nation in tatters and an international community, deeply complicit in that condition, seeking ways and means to address the population’s multivalent suffering. International strategies of peace building in Haiti have focused on “building institutions” while de facto diverting funds from that nation’s government to NGOs, thereby further eroding local economic capacity and social capital.  We were heartened therefore to study a nongovernmental organization that has taken as its aims not only the provision of necessary services, but also the development of accompanying government capacities in its areas of interest and a commitment to try to foster virtuous circles in the local economy.

            Taken together, our work for this book left us humbled by the complexities that social conflict occasions as well as by the need for sustained engagement among all relevant parties and for rethinking current international approaches to peacemaking, if an alternate social vision (or visions) that result in peaceable coexistence is to be constructed and broadly accepted in communities previously riven by conflict. Peace is not born of “an intervention,” but instead of the sustained efforts and commitment to learning of all involved (especially those in position to control resources and devise intervention strategies) to create fresh conditions for trust, economic sustainability and possibility amidst enduring fear and, often, acculturated hatred. These are not challenges either for the cocksure or the faint of heart. We came away with enormous respect for those engaged in peacebuilding efforts, even when we disagreed with their adopted strategies.

Peacebuilding Through Community-Based NGOs is available for purchase through Kumarian Press. To request review and/or exam copies, please contact Marketing Associate Jennifer Kern at:

Monday, September 10, 2012

New September Release: Peace Studies

Peacebuilding Through Community-Based NGOs explores the contested but increasingly relevant role nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) play in processes aimed at bringing about international peace and security and in the invention of alternatives for resolving conflict.

Through case studies of Partners In Health (Haiti), Women in Black (Serbia), and the Community Foundation for Northern Ireland highlight the range of ways these organizations are involved in post-conflict social reconstruction efforts and with whom and for what purposes they interact as they do so. The authors argue for analyses that take into account the rich mosaic that is the civil society sector rather than treating all of these entities with one broad brush. At once a celebration and a critique, this book provides guidance for those seeking to understand the complexities and potential of the civil society sector for facilitating social justice and transformation.

Table of Contents:
1) NGOs, International Governance, and the Neoliberal Peacebuilding Consensus
2) Providing Services and Building the State Amid a Cacophony of International Aid: Partners in Health, Haiti
3) Implementing the Liberal Peace, Hardening Conflict Identities: Women in Black, Serbia
4) Revealing Conflict Narratives in Pursuit of Peace: Exploring the Peacebuilding Efforts of the Community Foundation for Northern Ireland
5) Conclusions

This brief handbook is essential reading for NGO professionals and human rights activists.

For more information on purchasing, visit the book's web page.

Contact Marketing Associate Jennifer Kern at to receive review and/or exam copies.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

2013: The Year of Crisis, Panic

We have already witnessed the violent surge of next year's crisis from political instabilities in the Middle East to economic blunders throughout the world.

Syria is in turmoil and the violence continues in Afghanistan, as Bin Laden's death has proved to be both an unsettling victory and a defeat. New leaders are being chosen in Afghanistan as they look for a new Intelligence Leader, as well as in the States - the presidential election is just around the corner.

Politics will not only dictate how 2013 will go down in the history, but also environmental changes, social and economic.

For starters, the U.S, as well as Australia and Russia, have experience droughts that have affected the crops. These droughts are ruining crops essentials for economic sustainability. Corn, alone, is expected to drop to an all-time low since 1995, and will inevitably raise grain and other food prices.

For us in the developed world, these higher prices are a burden, but are manageable; for others, in Africa, for example, these prices determine life and death, as most poorer countries spend at least half of their income on food - or, shall we say bread - which tops the list of essentials.

If food prices rise, China is vulnerable to food cost inflation.

"In just one month, July 2011, the cost of living jumped 6.5%. Inflation happily subsided over the course of 2012. Springtime hopes for a bumper U.S. grain crop in 2012 enabled the Chinese central bank to ease credit in the earlier part of the summer. Now the Chinese authorities will face some tough choices over what to do next." (CNN: Why 2013 Will Be a Year of Crisis)

Social changes will affect China and the rest of the world if we continue to follow the path of destruction that 2012 is causing. As 2013 is fast approaching, we must ask ourselves, what can be done? Can the youth generation help change the future by acting in the present?

Monday, August 27, 2012

Hurricane Isaac Kills 10 In-and-Around Haiti As It Continues to Move Into the U.S.

Since the storm reached the Caribbean on Saturday, at least eight Haitians have been killed and another two in the Dominican Republic.

Although the scale of impact from the storm was less than anticipated, many Haitians still dug themselves out of the mud with buckets - rising to the waist of an adult male. The island itself sufferred flooding, fallen poles and collapsed tents - where more than 400,000 residents still live in since the 2010 7.0 magnitude earthquake (See Kumarian Press's Tectonic Shifts to learn more about the conditions of Haiti since the earthquake). Dozens of homes were destroyed and over 269 homes damaged.

Those that died included a 51-year-old and a 10-year old. Most left dead due to flooding.

In Haiti, more than 14,000 people evacuated their homes and temporary tents over the weekend. The World Food Program had issued out two days worth of food to over 8300 individuals.

More information about this story can be found through CNN.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Pakistani Girl, 11, Held in Prison on Blasphemy Charges

An 11-year-old girl in Pakistan, named Ramsha, has been arrested on charges of blasphemy, as witnesses noted that she had burned pages of the Mulslim holy text. She used the pages as fuel for cooking. The girl has medical complications including down-syndrome. She stated that she had no idea pages of the Quran were used in the fire.

"Niazi said that 150 people had gathered on Friday where the neighborhood's Christian population lived and threatened to burn down their houses." (CNN Story: Girl held on Pakistan blasphemy charge)

The mob of angry protested wanted to burn the girl to teach her a lesson. Christians in the area fled their homes to aviod backlash. (See KP's Living Our Religions to get a sense of what minority religious followers deal with in other countries)

In Pakistan, it is a crime to insult the Quran, Islam or the Prophet Mohammed and is punishable by death.

Monday, August 13, 2012

What Afghan Girls Risk By Attending School

Seven small villages make up Deh'Subz, where the first all-girls school is located. Though Deh'Subz is not Taliban-controlled, the adminstrators still have trouble keeping the school safely open and away from the inhumane treatment of young girls.

Here, the 14 room Zabuli Education Center teaches kindergarten through eighth grade. This is where 354 girls go to receive a free education, and learn subjects including math, language and science.

However, the price fora free education is significantly high, as these young girls risk poisonous water given to them and acid thrown in their face. The Principle noted that on the first day of school, terrorists threw hand gernades into the school which killed 100 girls. Now, to ensure safety, guards are inside and outside the school. These individuals test the water everyday.

"It is heartbreaking to see the way these terrorists treat ... women," said Founder Razia Jan, 68. "In their eyes, a women is an object that they can control. They are scared that when these girls get an education, they will become aware of their rights as women and as a human being."

The school opened in 2008. Jan said that 12-year-olds would show up on the first day not knowing how to write their own name.

Jan recalls one such visit from a group of men who busted the doors of the school one day to say:  'This is your last chance ... to change this school into a boys' school, because the backbone of Afghanistan is our boys,' " Jan recalled. "I just turned around and I told them, 'Excuse me. The women are the eyesight of Afghanistan, and unfortunately you all are blind. And I really want to give you some sight.' "

Inhumane treatment of women is a global concern. This is much more than men on a power trip treating women as if they are objects. Why are women being opressed to the point that they cannot be escorted outside without a male; or drive; or voice an opinion? Why are the men so afraid of what they can learn from women? Shouldn't we be more globalized and concerned with helping one another to build peace and achieve greatness?

The world is a global example that freedom is never free.