The Toolbox Dialogue Initiative and Development Practice
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Title Image
Cover of Malavisi 2022 book

The Toolbox Dialogue Initiative and Development Practice

In this chapter of her new book, Dr. Anna Malavisi offer a concrete example of doing helpful philosophy using the Toolbox Dialogue Initiative. This approach offers a way to enhance effective communication, but also practice.

First Paragraph of Chapter

During my time as a development practitioner one of my strongest criticisms, and the one that ultimately resulted in the impetus to leave the practice and ponder its activity was the gross absence of an ongoing critical analysis and reflection of our work. We[i] were just cogs in a system that was more concerned with keeping things going than with thinking that maybe some things had to change, that in fact, some of the things we were doing caused more harm than good. We were part of a system that through our work, only perpetuated its existence and paid heed to an unjust system. As a graduate student at Michigan State University, I met Dr. Michael O’Rourke, one of the founders of the Toolbox Dialogue Initiative (TDI). In this chapter I argue that the TDI is one way of addressing the ethical and epistemic challenges confronting development practice. I begin by giving some background to the TDI, what it consists of, and why I think it is useful. I do not put it forward as a panacea to address all the ills of development, but as one way to generate a critical dialogue.

[i] By ‘We’ I am referring to the team of development professionals I was a part of.


Book Summary

This book offers a critical analysis on the theory and practice of global development. Chagas Disease is used as an example of a failing of global development for the way this disease has been understood and addressed. Anna argues for a rethinking from an ethico-epistemic perspective using a strong ethical approach.


Malavisi, A. The Toolbox Dialogue Initiative and Development Practice in Global Development, Ethics and Epistemic Injustice: Rethinking Theory and Practice, Rowman & Littlefield, forthcoming November 2022.


November 1, 2022


TDI Approach, TDI Contributions, xD Facilitation