October 2012

Lost in translation: the alienation of the development worker

admin - October 31, 2012

I’m writing this flying over Afghanistan, on my way back from India (blog flurry to follow). The air is extraordinarily clear, so that even from 30,000 feet, I can make out individual fields, clusters of mud-coloured houses, nestling among the serrated, snow-topped mountains and winding river courses. At the same time, I’m reading ‘Lost in Translation’, by Eva Hoffman, a stupendously thoughtful, observant study of …

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China’s African road; Euro-governance failures; patronage -> accountability; building fragile states; Blattman needs you; grey planet; toxic development; why people cheat: links I liked

admin - October 30, 2012

The colonialists never built a road around the West African; they only needed extractive roads and railways ‘like the fingers of a hand’, from coastal ports into the interior. But now China is building one. So maybe it isn’t so colonialist after all? http://www.chinaafricarealstory.com/2012/10/china-to-build-west-african-coastal.html ‘From the perspective of Europe or the United States, hesitation and uncertainty [over financial market reform] may look like the price …

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How can a post-2015 agreement drive real change? Please read and comment on this draft paper

admin - October 29, 2012

The post-2015 discussion on what should succeed the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) is picking up steam, with barely a day going by without some new paper, consultation or high level meeting. So I, along with Stephen Hale and Matthew Lockwood, have decided to add to the growing slush-pile with a new discussion paper. We want you to read the draft (see right) and help us …

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Why the World Bank is wrong (so far) on large land deals

admin - October 26, 2012

You’re getting a lot of guest posts this week, not least because I’m in India – expect a spate of India posts next week. Here’s Hannah Stoddart, Oxfam’s Head of Economic Justice Policy, responding to the World Bank’s response to Oxfam’s call for a freeze on large land deals. Oxfam’s land grabs campaign, launched on 4th October, highlights the alarming increase in the speed and …

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Getting evaluation right: a five point plan

admin - October 25, 2012

Final (for now) evaluationtastic installment on Oxfam’s attempts to do public warts-and-all evaluations of randomly selected projects. This commentary comes from Dr Jyotsna Puri, Deputy Executive Director and Head of Evaluation of the International Initiative for Impact Evaluation (3ie) Oxfam’s emphasis on quality evaluations is a step in the right direction. Implementing agencies rarely make an impassioned plea for evidence and rigor in their evidence …

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What do DFID wonks think of Oxfam's attempt to measure its effectiveness?

admin - October 24, 2012

More DFIDistas on the blog: this time Nick York, DFID’s top evaluator and Caroline Hoy, who covers NGO evaluation, comment on Oxfam’s publication of a set of 26 warts-and-all programme effectiveness reviews. Having seen Karl Hughes’s 3ie working paper on process tracing and talked to the team in Oxfam about evaluation approaches, Caroline Hoy (our lead on evaluation for NGOs) and I have been reading …

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Why are international conferences so bad, and what can be done about it?

admin - October 23, 2012

Last week I attended the OECD’s 4th World Forum on Measuring Wellbeing. Actually, I sampled it, ducking out to look at Oxfam programmes in Delhi, meet people and give a couple of lectures in local universities. Lots of people do this, so it ought to have a name – conflirting? Condipping? Any better suggestions? My overall impression was that official interest in well-being and its measurement …

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Deconstructing resilience; savage v fragile; China's flashmob breastfeeders; Africans in the Diaspora; I'm a (Welsh) prof; Why Tories love aid; hierarchies of misery: links I liked

admin - October 22, 2012

OxfamAmerica wonk Gawain Kripke unpacks the latest devt fuzzword, resilience http://politicsofpoverty.oxfamamerica.org/2012/10/19/thoughts-on-resilience-as-organizing-focus/ For ‘savage’ read ‘fragile states’. Changing development terminology 1821->2012 http://nyudri.org/2012/10/18/new-historical-discovery-the-change-in-development-terminology-from-1821-to-2012/ Flashmob breastfeeding in China (inspired by a similar action in Manchester), take on bottlefeeding + caesarean culture http://www.danwei.com/the-year-of-the-breastfeeding-flash-mob-in-china-a-fathers-account/ Project Umubano – is this the reason the Tories have stuck to the UK’s aid promises? http://www.conservatives.com/Get_involved/Project_Umubano.aspx Africans in the Diaspora (AiD). Exciting new initiative http://www.aviewfromthecave.com/2012/10/activating-diaspora-for-development.html …

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To close the energy poverty gap, we need ideas, investment…and natural gas. Todd Moss responds to Hannah Ryder

admin - October 20, 2012

CGD’s Todd Moss responds to Hannah Ryder’s critique of his ‘let them burn fossil fuels’ line on energy poverty Thanks to Hannah for raising some good questions about my proposal that the US agency OPIC partially exempt the world’s lowest-income, lowest-emitting countries from the greenhouse gas cap. I think we both agree that 1.3 billion people without access to electricity in the 21st Century is inexcusable. …

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Why high carbon energy is the wrong solution for low income countries

admin - October 19, 2012

DFID staff break their duck as guest writers on FP2P with this post from Hannah Ryder (right), a regular blogger on the DFID site and Senior Economist specialising in climate change and low carbon growth Economists have a reputation for being sceptical – there is even a book called “the Skeptical Economist”. This has a lot to do with how it is taught. For instance, …

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