Weekend reading: on Tohoku, Myanmar, education and the loneliness of work

At the edge of the weekend, a quick round-up of some online articles I spotted this week.

Three years on

Of course, this selection wouldn’t be complete without a few articles looking back at the past three years since the earthquake and tsunami in Japan on 11 March, 2011.

The Japan Times looks at what happened to the children, and reports rising instances of trauma and stress for children living in Fukushima prefecture dealing with what happened and their uprooted life: Tohoku kids stressed by trauma

Dutch Tokyo-based correspondent Daniel Leussink visited the region and spoke to several people on reconstruction in Tohoku, which you can read about (in Dutch) here: Three years on, an empty coast

Work is lonely

An article that struck a chord this week is from Gianpiero Petriglieri, who I have been following on Twitter for some time for interesting insights on leadership and organisational development. He published a blog for the Harvard Business Review titled Why Work Is Lonely in which he talks about speaking up in organisations and sharing your opinion and about why people don’t. But also, why it is so important to do exactly this: have the courage to speak up.

We keep forgetting that our closest relationships are not those where tension is glossed over but those where it can be aired and worked through safely enough.

This is not only true of professional workplaces of course, but you can apply this – I think – to other organizations as well where people work together and where there is some type of hierarchy, whether intended or not. The challenge is to make everyone feel comfortable enough to actually say what they want to say.

Measuring business & human rights

The past two weeks for me were mostly about learning about how business can respect human rights. I attended a conference on due diligence and spent a few days in a course on implementing the UN Guiding Principles on business and human rights.

Michael Addo writes on the LSE-blog about the importance for businesses to work with indicators to be able to measure their progress on respecting human rights: Business and human rights indicators: Opportunities and challenges in measuring corporate respect for human rights

Notwithstanding the great potential of indicators, measuring and comparing respect for human rights by corporations is not an easy task.

He rightly also says this is very difficult to do: how do you measure discrimination? How do you measure whether or not a company-based grievance mechanism is accessible enough for the intended users? Luckily, there are various organisations working on this, including GRI and Shift.

Education in Myanmar

The NY Times highlights the lack of education in Myanmar and what organizations – NGOs but also businesses – are doing to address this. Raising the level of education will be vital for the further development of the country, so it’s good to read about these initiatives which are happening: Education Programs Try to Close Gaps in Myanmar

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