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Tea Leaf Center Updates
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A lot of things are going on behind the scenes at the Tea Leaf Center. We are working towards registration and being legally able to operate here. So, keep an eye out over the next few months for news on this front. Our first priority once we register - hiring a communications officer. As you may have seen, our blog is currently on hold until we can get more time to dedicate to building our audience and reach. This means we will be placing our blog series covering various aspects of research in displacement sites on hold until next year. We will continue to host events such as our ethics roundtable to engage on this important topics.

Our reason behind this decision is so that we can find the right staff to relaunch our blog and also start a podcast featuring local researchers and their work. We are also relaunching our website. It will have a new look and more streamlined user experience. Feedback is always welcomed, so feel free to leave us comments.

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Don't forget, we will host our professional Writing for Civil Society course in early December. The course teaches skills like techniques of persuasive writing, turning interviews into narrative case studies, writing an executive summary, tailoring your argument to a specific target audience, and more. Get information here or email info@thetealeafcenter.org if you would like to apply. Spaces are limited.
 
If your organization would like us to host this course specifically for your staff, do let us know.
Resources and Tools
Research to Action (R2A) is an online resource that has tons of useful information. Their focus is on research and communication, an important focus for any organization that conducts research. Their "How To" section contains excellent information on topics such as capacity building, writing policy briefs, and understanding theory of change.

There are so many challenges a researcher must face. One of the biggest challenges for smaller organizations and their researchers can be in accessing software that allows you to do your research work. Below, we have compiled a small list of open source software that allows you to be productive without costing you or your organization tons of money.
Most Commonly Used

1) Office Suite (word, excel, etc.)

2) SPSS

3) GIS


4) Survey

5) Python

6) Adobe photoshop
Open Source alternatives

1) Apache OpenOffice

2) R | PSPP | JASP | more

3) list of GIS type software and platforms

4) LimeSurvey (open source option)

5) SciPy

6) Gimp
This past week proves  that we must continue to be diligent about our personal information and that anyone can easily become a victim of scams. Pieter Gunst twitted a conversion he had with a scammer. But if you are not trained in digital literacy, or simply let your guard down like so many might have, this could have ended differently. This conversation starts the same as so many bank notifications I have legitimately recieved.
Those working in development, please be aware that a new scam is specifically targeting aid workers over seas. A friend of mine received this following email.
SCAM E-MAIL
"You happen to be one of the 15 selected recipients to receive a private donation from us (Five Hundred Thousand British Pound Sterling). Your email was among the email addresses selected for this notification, which was powered by a certified freelance tech expert upon our request. This donation is made out to you voluntarily to enable you to strengthen your issues and mostly, to generously help us extend hands of giving to the less privileged and charity organizations within your locality.
 
We are lucky to have won the Euro Millions (58 Million Pounds, which is quite an enormous amount), and we have decided to extend the hands of giving to affect the lives of others positively. As soon as we discovered that we had won, we made our decision to give much of it away. We have made donations to different national charities; donations were also made to help victims of natural disasters who have become homeless. We also wish to touch the lives of others randomly, which is a good reason why we are conducting this financial donation project.
 
All of this does appear strange, but it is real, and we’d like you to know that we do understand if you have got doubts, but this can become a reality for you if you believe as donations of these dimensions are extremely rare. Read more on the news link to verify our win; (link to actual news of the lottery winners removed).
These types of emails, targeting CSO and CBO leaders, are often made worse by appealing to their desire to use such funds to improve their communities. In the end, the scammers did not get the money the requested to "set up" a bank account, but they had already phished enough personal data to essentially steal this person's identity.
Civil Society Research Outputs
Ko Bo Kyi of AAPP recently wrote on Burma penal reforms stating policy efforts need to focus on "abolishing sentencing with hard labor, improving the human and civil rights of prisoners, and re-establishing the Ministry of Justice". He draws on lessons learned from Uganda's labor-payment scheme and China's public facing policy towards camp reforms that have actually simply shifted the abuses to "black prisons" and mental wards.
The Center for People and Forests released a handbook on Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade (FLEGT). The thought behind this is that stakeholders, especially non-state actors, must have the capacities to participate effectively in the Voluntary Partnership Agreements processes. 

The Karen Human Rights Group (KHRG) continues to document evidence of human rights violations, land grabs, and abuse. They do an excellent job seeking consent to use information and have a mechanism for protecting identities by removing names and specific villages where incidences occur. Their most recent report includes an assault by a Boarder Guard Force Corporal and documentation of a 2017 sexual assault case.
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