Beer and Tacos with Samir Doshi from USAID

Duncan Green - October 5, 2016

  Had a fun dinner in Brixton market last week with Samir Doshi, a Senior Scientist at USAID’s U.S. Global Development Lab, which describes itself as “an innovation hub that takes smart risks to test new ideas and partner within the Agency and with other actors to harness the power of innovative tools and approaches that accelerate development impact.” This appears to be a novel way to get into the sandpit and do all sorts of really intere…

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Doing Development Differently: a great discussion on Adaptive Management (no, really)

Duncan Green - November 4, 2015

Went to a fascinating workshop last week on ‘adaptive management’ hosted and designed by USAID as part of their work on Knowledge, Information and Data (see final para for more links) and facilitated by Ben Ramalingam, who has just started at IDS as their new digital, technology and innovation czar. A whole load of participants are going to write posts for this blog, which will go up over the next few weeks, but I thought I’d kick off with some…

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Adaptive Management looks like it’s here to stay. Here’s why that matters.

Duncan Green - December 8, 2016

The past two weeks in Washington, New York and Boston have been intense, USAID’s ‘Collaborating, Learning and Adapting’ Framework leaving lots of unpacking for the blog. Let’s start with the numerous discussions on ‘adaptive management’ (AM), which seems to where the big aid agencies have found a point of entry into the whole ‘Doing Development Differently’ debate. I spent a day with USAID and came away with a sense that AM ha…

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Update on US aid reform

admin - September 9, 2009

…rding to the office of John Kerry, one of its co-sponsors, the Senate Bill:   •  restores strategic thinking to USAID by reestablishing a bureau for policy and strategic planning;   • calls for strengthening the coordination of U.S. foreign aid in the field under the guidance of the USAID mission director;    • increases accountability and transparency of U.S. foreign aid programs by establishing an independent Council in the executive branch – t…

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The US gets serious on the Millennium Development Goals

admin - August 2, 2010

…tless commitment to measuring results’, in the words of the MDG Strategy). Hardly surprising as the new head of USAID, Rajiv Shah (left), is a former GF high flyer. This document shows how quickly Shah and USAID have won back lost political ground from other government agencies (USAID was put in charge of developing the MDG strategy and Shah unveiled the strategy on Friday). The document also stresses the importance of promoting ‘broad-based econ…

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The Obama Doctrine – where is the US going on development and diplomacy?

admin - January 25, 2011

…Hilary Clinton’s ‘principal charges to us, making it an equal pillar with diplomacy’. This included ‘rebuilding USAID’, moving from what she characterized as a ‘contracting agency’ to something more like the European model. Even allowing for her desire to flatter hosts, it was noteworthy that she said ‘we have looked extensively at DFID, which really is a thought leader’ – although that examination did not stretch to making USAID an independent g…

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How do we choose the most promising theory of change? Building on the context-intervention 2×2

Duncan Green - December 9, 2016

One of the slides from my standard HCH presentation that resonated most during the many conversations and book launches in the US was the 2×2 on which kinds of interventions are compatible with different contexts. I first blogged about this a year ago, when the 2×2 emerged during a workshop of aid wonks, but the recent discussions have added some nice extra ideas to what this diagram does/doesn’t tell us: Top Right: If you are confide…

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Fragility v Conflict – can you help with a new 2×2 please?

Duncan Green - November 16, 2016

…imple enough to think about, we simplify beyond usefulness.’ That sounds about right. I’m becoming a big fan of 2×2s (for example this one on aid intervention v context) because they help you look at hitherto ignored combinations and quadrants. But if they start looking like a typology, where you have to try and cram all known situations into one of four quadrants, then forget it. They should always remain an aid to thought, not a substitute for…

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Where have we got to on adaptive learning, thinking and working politically, doing development differently etc? Getting beyond the People’s Front of Judea

Duncan Green - June 9, 2016

…rld Bank in 2012. Making All Voices Count (MAVC) Five-year program (2013-2017) funded by multiple donors (DfID, USAID, Sida, and Omidyar) to find, fund, and learn from innovations that support accountable governance. TA LEARN Community of practice composed of transparency and accountability practitioners from many countries. Focused on targeted aspects of the aid/development sector (but not governance/accountability) Initiative What is it? ADAPT(…

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The Duke of Wellington on the aid bureaucracy

admin - July 26, 2011

Just read the much quoted paper from former USAID boss Andrew Natsios, ‘The Clash of the Counter-bureaucracy and Development’. The counter-bureaucracy is his term for the bean counters within USAID and the development sector in general, who are currently in the ascendant. Of it, he says simply. ‘The counter-bureaucracy ignores a central principle of development theory—that those development programs that are most precisely and easily measured a…

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