August 2014

Good research, great video: what’s the best way to motivate community health workers?

Duncan Green - August 29, 2014

Some more innovative work from the London School of Economics. This genuinely thought-provoking 8 minute video describes a collaboration between the LSE-hosted International Growth Centre and Zambia’s Ministry of Health. The background academic paper is here. Researchers and officials worked together to answer an important question:  to motivate people in rural villages to become rural community health workers (CHWs), is it best to appeal to …

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The best evidence yet on how Theories of Change are being used in aid and development work

Duncan Green - August 28, 2014

If you are interested in Theories of Change (ToCs), you have to read Craig Valters’ new paper ‘Theories of Change in International Development: Communication, Learning or Accountability’ or at least, his accompanying blog. The paper draws on the fascinating collaboration between the LSE and The Asia Foundation, in which TAF gave LSE researchers access to its country programmes and asked them to study their use …

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What’s next for the (rapidly growing) global disabled people’s movement?

Duncan Green - August 27, 2014

Last week I headed off to the Kennington Tandoori for one of those enjoyable food-fuelled brainstorms that seem to happen during the summer lull. This one was with two disability campaigners – Mosharraf Hossain (right) and Tim Wainwright of ADD International. ADD is doing some brilliant work supporting the emergence of Disabled People’s Organizations in Africa and Asia. ADD is at the forefront of what feels …

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Links I liked

Duncan Green - August 26, 2014

Last week’s top tweets, a day late, as we enjoyed a traditional rain-soaked August bank holiday yesterday. Media fatigue with Syria v the mounting death toll – powerful infographic from ODI  It was World Humanitarian Day last Monday: In South Sudan, Oxfam’s staff ‘walk for 12 hours through mud & rain, in an area with a lot of men with guns’. A brilliant account of the evolution …

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Which is more important – changing policies, or changing social norms and behaviours (and how are they connected)?

Duncan Green - August 22, 2014

It can be a little disorienting when you stray from your intellectual silo, and read stuff from other disciplines. Sometimes it is entirely unintelligible, but it gets more interesting  when it resembles debates in development land, but with slightly different language (or the same words mean slightly different things) and reference points, like Darwin’s finches diverging on their different Galapagos islands. So thanks to Katherine …

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Can alternative economic indicators ever be any good if they are devised solely by experts?

Duncan Green - August 21, 2014

This guest post comes from Oxfam well-being guru Katherine Trebeck Over the last few years there has been a spate of measurement initiatives – way too many to list here. Together they represent a positive, if disparate, effort to improve the measures that we take into account when assessing the success of something – a policy, a programme, or even a country. Many of them …

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How change happens: What can we learn from the same-sex marriage movement in the US?

Duncan Green - August 20, 2014

As I begin work on the book on How Change Happens (no I haven’t written it yet, please stop asking), I’m collecting good analyses of social/political change processes. So thanks Bert Maerten for sending a fascinating account of the same-sex marriage movement in the US, by Paul and Mark Englers. The speed of the change is breathtaking: As of 1990, three-quarters of Americans saw homosexual …

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On World Humanitarian Day, where are the examples of ‘good donorship’ in conflict, disasters etc?

Duncan Green - August 19, 2014

It’s World Humanitarian Day today, and I want to talk about money, but not the perennial topic of quantity of aid for emergency relief.  Let’s talk about quality. On my visit to the DRC in May, I was pretty shocked by the conversations I had with humanitarian colleagues about how they fund their work. The ‘crisis’ has been going on for some 20 years, but …

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Links I liked

Duncan Green - August 18, 2014

This week’s top tweets, with a big hat tip to the indefatigable Conrad Hackett  I suspect everyone has already seen this except me, but I thought it was cool. This will change how you see Australia [h/t Conrad Hackett] Fascinating: Tim Berners-Lee’s 1992 article on the future of this web thing he’s cooked up, which was then groaning under the weight of over 1014 documents …

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At last, some evidence on the national impact of the MDGs. In Zambia, rivalry with other governments and measurable indicators have made a difference.

Duncan Green - August 15, 2014

Yesterday’s post covered some new work on the MDGs’ limitations, so in the interests of balance (ahem) today Alice Evans from the LSE discusses her slightly more positive findings from Zambia. I would love to hear about other comparable research in other countries. Over the last few years, I’ve been trying to fill in the evidential vacuum on whether/how the MDGs have had an impact …

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