Tag Archives: development

The archive of development economist Richard Jolly is now available

The catalogue can be found online at Bodleian Archives & Manuscripts.

Richard Jolly graduated in economics from Magdalene College Cambridge in 1956. Due to his Christian religious convictions, he registered as a conscientious objector and did his National Service not in the military but as a Community Development Officer in the Baringo District of Kenya from Jan 1957-Jan 1959, although he reassessed and relinquished his religious convictions during that time. Jolly’s Baringo service, meanwhile, sparked a change in career focus away from business and into the development field and eventually into the United Nations.

(Immediately after leaving Kenya, however, Jolly took part in the British Alpine Hannibal Expedition, which attempted to retrace, with an elephant called Jumbo, Hannibal’s route across the Alps.)

During the 1960s Jolly studied for a Masters and PhD at Yale University in America, and participated in a research tour of Cuba soon after the revolution. After his masters he became a research fellow at the East Africa Institute of Social Research, Makerere College in Uganda (1963), and did short-term economic consultancies in countries across the world.

He became a fellow and later director of the Institute of Development Studies (IDS) at the University of Sussex in 1969. In 1970 he was seconded from the IDS to work for the United Nations as the Senior Economist in the Development Division of Zambia’s Ministry of Development and Finance. Through the 1970s he continued to work on technical assistance and advisory programmes for the UN focussing mainly on labour and employment, including heading missions on agriculture and basic needs to Bangladesh and Zambia.

From 1975 Jolly sat on the governing council and executive board of the Society for International Development (and was vice president of SID from 1982-1985). He helped develop the North-South Roundtable as a project of the Society for International Development, chairing the Roundtable from 1987-1996. The Roundtable was a group founded by Barbara Ward (1914-1981) which incorporated equal numbers of representatives from developed and developing countries to discuss and brief policy makers on global development issues.

Jolly was appointed Deputy Executive Director (Programmes) of the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) in July 1981 with the rank of UN Assistant Secretary General, serving from 1 Jan 1982 until 1995. He had responsibilities for UNICEF’s programmes globally. His focus on paying more attention to the needs of women and children in economic adjustment policies led to his work on the co-authored book Adjustment With a Human Face (1987).

He was appointed to the UN Development Programme (UNDP) from 1996-2000 as Special Advisor to the Administrator of the UNDP and co-ordinator of the UNDP’s Human Development Report which published reports on a human development approach to growth as well as on poverty, consumption, globalization and human rights.

From 1996-2000 Jolly chaired the UN Sub-Committee on Nutrition and from Sep 1997-Dec 2003 and Nov 2004-Aug 2005 was the Chair of the Water Supply and Sanitation Collaborative Council. Following retirement from the UN he was a trustee of the charity Oxfam [Oxfam’s archive is also at the Bodleian Library, with multiple catalogues] and chairperson of the United Nations Association (UK), an independent policy association.

In the 2000s Richard Jolly became the co-director of the UN Intellectual History Project based at City University in New York which produced a sixteen volume history of the UN’s contributions to development. His papers here at the Bodleian Library form a significant part of a collection of archives from United Nations staff (the UN Career Records Project), a collection that Richard Jolly has been involved with since its inception.

The ‘Tribal Medicine Project’ (Part 2)

In this post I would like to draw attention to some correspondence in the Tribal Medicine Project file with Dr. Sue Chowdhury, a Health Adviser in Oxfam’s Health Unit from 1986-1990. There is a memo dated 1st June 1988 from Dr. Chowdhury to David de Pury in which she lists the positives and negatives of the Tribal Medicine Project. One of the most interesting things about the memo is that it shows Oxfam was conscious of developing an approach to traditional medicine. Chowdhury writes: ‘In summary, I think this is an interesting project; […] For my personal interest, I would be grateful if I could see full documentation of the study as I am trying to look into issues of Oxfam support for traditional medicines’.
Indeed, Chowdhury went on to write a ‘Review of Oxfam’s involvement with traditional medicine’ dated February 1989. A summary of this report states:
Oxfam has funded projects involving traditional medicine for many years. There have been attempts in the past to discuss traditional health in relation to Oxfam’s funding criteria. To arrive at a better understanding of the kind of work Oxfam funds in this area, this paper concentrates on a review of existing projects.
In total Dr. Chowdhury’s report reviews 36 projects from Latin America, Asia, the Middle East and Africa. The Tribal Medicine Project is mentioned on page 8:
Dr. Sue Chowdhury, 1989, page 8 (Bodleian Libraries, Oxfam Archive)
From the report, and the earlier memo, it is clear that Dr. Chowdhury is in favour of the integration of traditional and allopathic (‘western’) medicine; she cites China as an example of where this has been successful. She also importantly recognises that for some people traditional medicine is the only form of primary health care that they have access to, often because it is cheaper. Therefore, it is vitally important for Oxfam to identify and work with traditional practitioners, for example a ‘Traditional Birth Attendant’ (TBA).
The Field Directors’ Handbook, first published in 1985(Bodleian Libraries, Oxfam Archive)
This point is reiterated in The Field Directors’ Handbook: An Oxfam Manual for Development Workers (4thed., 1990) which has a section relating to ‘Alternative Health systems’. It states that an estimated 70-90% of all ‘self-recognised episodes of ill-health’ are treated either at home or by using ‘traditional/alternative healers’. It advises field staff to ‘find out about these alternatives, and wherever possible to integrate them into primary health care and social development programmes’.
Throughout the short time that I have been working on the archive, the sheer variety and range of projects that Oxfam has funded never ceases to amaze me. I didn’t imagine I would come across anything to do with alternative medicine, but I have been impressed by the thoughtful and sensitive way in which Oxfam has approached this subject.

The ‘Tribal Medicine Project’ (Part 1)

The little girl of the Kirātas, she the little one, digs a remedy, with golden shovels, upon the ridges of the mountains.
(Atharva Veda X.4.14, trans. Whitney, 1905)
During the first phase of the Oxfam archive project the team will be appraising and cataloguing ‘project files’ relating to grant support from Oxfam for work in India. Before appraisal, approximately half of the 10,000 boxes in the archive fall under the category of ‘project files’, so it is going to be a mammoth task! The project files contain a wealth of information and will be an invaluable resource for researchers interested in a variety of countries and subject areas.
One project file that has initially caught my attention contains material relating to a grant for the ‘Tribal Medicine Project’ approved on 21 June 1988, which will be the focus of the next 2 posts. The description of the project is as follows: ‘To support additional work in final 3rd phases of a study on tribal medicine […] to train tribal youth in their own health care system; to encourage tribal’s to plant and cherish medicinal plants – for their use and probably also income generating.’ This was a surprising discovery, and reiterated the huge range of projects that Oxfam has funded and been involved with. The projects span categories such as health, agriculture, social organisation, education and humanitarian emergencies.
The Tribal Medicine Project’ (Oxfam reference BIH 091/Q8) was carried out by the Rural Development Association (RDA) in Bihar, in north-east of India. Oxfam has been working in this region since 1951 when a famine in Bihar prompted them to respond to a natural disaster in a ‘developing country’ for the first time. Oxfam awarded the RDA a grant of £3,008 which, in 1988, equated to 74,000 Rupees. This was just one of many grants that Oxfam made to them for a variety of projects.
Cash receipt for the first installment (Bodleian Libraries, Oxfam Archive)
The Documents
From the documentation, we know that the principal project investigator was Dr. Kali Krishna Chatterjee. In a detailed summary report written by Chatterjee there is statistical information, such as how many practising ‘tribal medicine men and women’ there were and how many ailments they could treat, as well as information about the efficacy of herbal medicines on particular diseases and illnesses, ranging from malaria to respiratory infections and skin complaints.
Contained in this file there is also a letter addressed to David de Pury (Oxfam’s temporary representative for East India who was based in Calcutta) from the RDA’s Secretary Dipankar Dasgupta dated 15th April 1988. In this letter, Dasgupta mentions an ‘invitation to participate in the “International Congress of Anthropological and Ethnological Sciences” to be held […] at Zagreb’ for both himself and Dr. Chatterjee. He writes:
This would give us an opportunity to bring into international prominence the rich tradition and prospect of developing tribal medicine as an alternative form of medical culture which will help the poor people to come out from the clutches of the present dominating modern system of medicine.
The letter asks Oxfam to contribute to their travel expenses, and they clearly both attended as their presentations are listed in Abstracts: 12th International Congress of Anthropological and Ethnological Sciences, Zagreb, 24-31 July 1988. We also know, from a budget submitted with the project application, that two anthropologists were employed on the project.
The OED defines ethnobotany as: ‘The traditional knowledge and customs of a people concerning plants; the scientific study or description of such knowledge and customs’. This includes the medical uses of plants, and I think it aptly describes the remit of theTribal Medicine Project.
In an appendix to Dr. Chatterjee’s summary report, the history of Indian traditional medicine is traced back to the ‘Ayurvedic’ system. Ayurvedais the system of traditional medicine native to the Indian subcontinent and a form of alternative medicine. Dr. Chatterjee ends this appendix with a quote, cited in full above, ‘about a Kirāta girl collecting herbal medicines from the ridges of a mountain’. This passage is from the Atharva Veda (or Atharvaveda), one of the four Sanskrit Vedic texts originating from ancient India.
 Atharva Veda 003
MS. Mill 80 Atharva-Veda Samhitā, c. 1840 (Bodleian Libraries, Oriental Manuscripts)
Most importantly in this context, the Atharva Veda is ‘intimately connected to the medical traditions of classical India, and it presents some of the earliest perspectives on the concept of diseases and how to cure them’. The ‘herbal medicines’ the Kirāta girl is collecting are for a remedy against snake bites. It is the 14th stanza of a longer passage about remedies which invoke the white horse of Pedu as it was known as a slayer of serpents. The reference to this classical India text demonstrates how the scientific study of the medical uses of plants can lead to, and arguably requires, a much broader investigation of the medical culture of the people concerned.
In the next blog post I will continue to look at the work of the Tribal Medicine Project in the broader context of Oxfam’s policy on traditional medicine…

Developing & Implementing Tools for Managing Hybrid Archives

As previously blogged, we were invited to talk at the University of Dundee’s Centre for Archive and Information Studies seminar. I understand that the presentations along with a set of notes will be made available shortly, but in the mean time I thought I’d let you know my slides and notes are available on SlideShare and also my rather hastily thrown together home page! 🙂

-Peter Cliff