"Devblog" is short for "development blog". Development cooperation is my chosen metier, what I have devoted a large part of my working life to. While honing my skills in performing the tasks I take on, in different sectors and countries in Africa, Middle East and Asia, involving stakeholders in public sector, private sector, and civil society, I early on realized that development cooperation is a very broad and intricately woven canvas. It involves and is based on relations between individuals that cut across, inter alia, cultures, ethnicities, languages, man-made and natural boundaries, races, and values. Understanding this is a pre-condition to doing a good job as a development worker. On a personal level it has become a quest of sorts, one that goes beyond giving expert advice, and at the core involves a search for who I am in the midst of it all.
The two quotes are self-composed and have been with me since years. The first is posted in the "about" section on accounts and profiles on diverse websites that I manage or am involved in. The second is posted on all office doors – those I have occupied, and those I occupy at the present time – in several countries around the world. Taken together they speak to my view of my own self, and how it has evolved over my professional life. The quotes are a reflection of who I was at the time they were composed. There may be a sense in which I today sub-consciously try to live up to whatever truths or insights they hold. This inverse logic aside, I have tried to hold on to certain basic values throughout my work and travels in multiple countries and cultures.
And so it is that this blog is circuitous and rambles widely, while hopefully still being coherent, centred around a fundamental concern with description, analyses, and advancement of the human condition, as seen through the double filter of development cooperation and my own personae. Given my citizenship, present pattern of residence, and where I have done a lot of my work, there is a certain focus on Norway, Bulgaria, and South Asia. The majority of the articles are in English, some are in Norwegian, and a few are in both languages. Once published, articles are not cast in stone and may be updated, partly because the world is changing, partly because I am changing, and partly because of a perhaps unfortunate tendency towards perfectionism. Further, diversions may turn into main avenues of exploration. This means I cannot promise a clear logic in the progression of the overall argument. Photos and videos are from projects I have worked on, and are on Flickr (https://www.flickr.com/photos/supras/albums). Your comments are welcome – under each article or in a form (https://devblog.no/en/content/contacts).
So much for my rationale – or excuse – for writing this blog. Hold tight and enjoy the ride!
Lars T. Soeftestad (Søftestad)