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  • Paula

Welcome to Dev Diaries Blog

Hello and welcome to Dev Diaries and to my first blog post! This is where I share my passion for international development and for personal development. I explore a wide range of international development topics and also share my personal growth and learning experiences through the exploration of self, nature, and culture.

Photo: Stream crossing at Waipio Valley on the Big Island, Hawai'i

I'd like to start by telling you why I created this blog and what you will be seeing from my posts.

My "why"

I took a course in transformative leadership this semester. One thing I took from the course was defining my leadership why - a leadership why explains what drives people to do whatever it is they do in life. Inspired by a recent ted talk by Simon Sinek, the course asserted that some of the most influential leaders leaders in the world have a core goal or reason that influenced their choices, decisions, or careers and that the impact they make is inherently tied to their leadership whys. For example, for former US president Barack Obama, it was the belief that when we work hard and work together, we can effect change in our societies. He believes that however hard or impossible our tasks or goals seem, if we work hard at it and stick to our principles and values, we should be able to make desired changes in our communities. It is because of his strong beliefs that he got involved in the public sphere, serving Americans and the world at large in various capacities.

For me it is the belief that every human being deserves dignity. I truly believe that all people, regardless of their race, gender, religion, class, or background deserve to live in and to be treated with dignity. I grew up in Kenya in a mostly rural and poor region where I learned about the importance of dignity and treating people with respect.

It is because of my why that I think that improving access to equal opportunity (equity) and improving individual autonomy and agency are important factors to building prosperous societies. It is why I decided to start this blog -- to share my thoughts on how to contribute to shaping a world where opportunities are equally available to everyone. In particular, I am looking to dig deeper into how increasing employment opportunities for young people, strengthening education policy, and empowering women from low-income communities can be avenues to increasing equity and independence, and thus paving the way to dignified living for current and future generations.

Image: Monte 'Alban Aztec ruins in Oaxaca city, Mexico

It is also because of my "why" that I believe that it is important to be curious about other cultures, nature and oneself. There is a humbling quality to learning about and appreciating each of these things. Learning about other cultures first and foremost introduces you to different ways of living that you might not have known existed or be used to, but it also makes you appreciate and respect others. Learning about nature exposes you to different geographies and makes you appreciate our planet and conservation efforts. And learning about oneself? Well, I think that's almost self-explanatory given the extent of resources that talk about the significance of knowing thyself. For me however, I plan on going beyond just learning about myself but connecting that to how it helps me understand others and to treat them in the way they would appreciate being treated.

Although I do not consider myself a particularly good writer, and though I have never really had the desire to start a blog, I am deeply passionate about development and decided to consider writing through this avenue because I think it would be useful to document and share thoughts on personal development and contemporary international development issues.

what you will be seeing from my posts:

I will primarily explore issues around increasing equity, independence, and agency among marginalized groups. I will focus on both providing commentary, thoughts, and critiques on relevant topics. Youth workforce development, women's economic empowerment, and education would be my main topics in international development, while music, history, art, culture, nature and they way these interact would be my topics on personal development. That might sound like a bit too much :) but I really think that they cover, in a wholesome way, topics that are relevant to development, are diverse, and also

interesting. Don'y worry though, we'll take it one step at time, one issue at a time.

Let me know if there are any other topics you would like to have included.

I look forward to connecting with you all. Thanks again and welcome to Dev Diaries!


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