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What we’re reading: Staff picks (February 2020)

February 4, 2020 by PATH

Whether narrative or video, new or time-tested, all of these works are making the rounds at PATH offices across the globe. See what’s inspiring us today.

A bookshelf in the library at PATH’s Seattle office. Photo: PATH.

A bookshelf in the library at PATH’s Seattle office. Photo: PATH


“Against all odds”: The inside story of how scientists across three continents produced an Ebola vaccine
For more than two decades, researchers worked to develop vaccines and drugs to combat Ebola—only to hit one roadblock after another. Through an unlikely series of twists and turns, a vaccine was finally approved and deployed last year. Read more on STAT.

Grim and hopeful global trends to watch in 2020 (and fold into a zine)
From water scarcity to satellite imagery, youth activism to the decolonization of global development, here are 11 trends that the staff at NPR’s Goats and Soda blog are watching in 2020. Read more on NPR.

INGOs can help dismantle development's “white gaze,” PopWorks Africa founder says
Stephanie Kimou created her consulting firm with a clear mission: “disrupt the historically white space of power in international development.” She and her team are working to educate NGOs and undo colonial definitions of partnership. Read more on Devex.

TED Talk

Want to help someone? Shut up and listen!
Ernesto Sirolli describes how he’s helped entrepreneurs start more than 40,000 businesses that capture the passion, energy, and imagination of local communities. His secret? Sitting with people, one-on-one, and listening. Watch it on TED.


Decolonizing Wealth: Indigenous Wisdom to Heal Divides and Restore Balance by Edgar Villanueva
A provocative analysis of the dysfunctional colonial dynamics at play in philanthropy and finance. Villanueva draws from native traditions to prescribe the medicine to restore balance and heal our divides. Learn more

A Stranger Truth: Lessons in Love, Leadership and Courage from India's Sex Workers by Ashok Alexander
Alexander left the corporate world to head Avahan, a nonprofit charged with stemming the spread of HIV in India. He weaves moving stories of the lives that the program touched, while documenting its enormous success in reducing HIV infections. Learn more

Lazy, Crazy, and Disgusting: Stigma and the Undoing of Global Health by Alexandra Brewis and Amber Wutich
Two medical anthropologists reveal how well-intentioned public health campaigns can create new and sometimes damaging stigma. They detail how stigmas act as massive drivers of global disease and suffering, killing or sickening billions every year. Learn more

The Old Drift by Namwali Serpell
Partly narrated by mosquitoes, this speculative novel tells the history of Zambia from the days of colonialism through independence, touching on the Kariba Dam, the AIDS epidemic, and forward into the age of mass surveillance and drone warfare. Learn more


We’ll post new staff favorites over time, and we welcome your suggestions. What should our staff be reading? Tell us about it on Twitter @PATHtweets.

These recommendations do not constitute endorsement of opinion or fact by PATH.