Aid

Another good idea from ODI – regular ‘scans’ of hot topics like resilience

Duncan Green - July 31, 2015

The aid and development business is full of tribes – separate ‘epistemic communities’ with their own jargon, shorthands and assumptions, which helps to hermetically isolate them from all the other communities. I try and surf across a few of them, but it’s hard – half the time I have only the vaguest idea what resilience, humanitarian, conflict or livelihoods people are talking about. So I …

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Learning by un-doing: the magic of immersion

Duncan Green - July 28, 2015

Varja Lipovsek of Twaweza, one of my favourite accountability NGOs, reflects on a recent staff immersion in a Ugandan village. It’s a bit too long, but just too nicely written to cut – sorry! Take a group of people that are used to talking about development while sitting in offices behind computers, going to meetings at ministries, writing reports and worrying about indicators, and give each some …

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Have the MDGs affected developing country policies and spending? Findings of new 50 country study.

Duncan Green - July 24, 2015

One of the many baffling aspects of the post-2015/Sustainable Development Goal process is how little research there has been on the impact of their predecessor, the Millennium Development Goals. That may sound odd, given how often we hear ‘the MDGs are on/off track’ on poverty, health, education etc, but saying ‘the MDG for poverty reduction has been achieved five years ahead of schedule’ is not …

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What can NGOs/others learn from DFID’s shift to ‘adaptive development’?

Duncan Green - July 23, 2015
adaptation

Got back from holiday last week and went straight into a discussion with NGOs and thinktanks on ‘adaptive development’. Really interesting for several reasons: I realized there’s a bunch of civil society people (100 people at the seminar, plus 50 online) thinking along parallel lines to donors and academics in the Thinking and Working Politically and Doing Development Differently initiatives, but currently very little cross over. …

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Why is there no ‘Fundraisers Without Borders’? Big missing piece in development.

Duncan Green - July 22, 2015

There are an extraordinary number of ‘without borders’ organizations (see here, or an even longer list here) – every possible activity is catered for, from chemists to clowns (and that’s just the c’s). But one seems to be missing, and it may well be the most useful – why is there no ‘fundraisers without borders’? Mike Edwards argues that ‘we should focus as much attention …

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FEAR/LESS: Standing with women and girls to end violence

Duncan Green - July 9, 2015

Lucia Fry, ActionAid UK‘s Head of Policy, introduces a new report Listening to the news yesterday, I grimaced as I heard about the latest episode to unfold in the story of the schoolgirls kidnapped by Boko Haram in Northern Nigeria last year: according to news reports, captive girls are being recruited as torturers and combatants by the militant group. 24 hour rolling news and social …

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What should we expect from next year’s World Humanitarian Summit?

Duncan Green - July 8, 2015

Thought all the big development-related summits were scheduled for 2015? Think again. Ed Cairns, Oxfam’s senior policy adviser on humanitarian advocacy, introduces its new report/shot across the bows of the World Humanitarian Summit, 2016. Humanitarians tend to be practical people, and so when they learn lessons it’s usually from what has failed or succeeded in real crises. Take MSF’s challenge to the world’s ‘inefficient and slow …

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What can big foundations do to support Southern Influencing?

Duncan Green - July 7, 2015

Took part in a really interesting conversation last week between some Oxfam southern campaigners and the big-but-as-yet-little-known Children’s Investment Fund Foundation (CIFF), which is exploring the whole idea of southern advocacy. Their main focus is on ‘children and mothers’ health and nutrition, children’s education, deworming and welfare, and smart ways to slow down and stop climate change’. Last year their grants came to $122m – I think we’ll be hearing a lot …

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Impact investing: hype v substance, the importance of ownership and the role of aid

Duncan Green - July 2, 2015

Oxfam’s Erinch Sahan tries to disentangle hype from substance and makes a pitch for a new approach to impact investing. Impact investment is the next black. It’s already worth about $46 billion, and rapidly growing. In 2010, when it was a mere $4 billion, JP Morgan predicted it would be between $400 billion to $1 trillion within a decade. Forbes has declared impact investing is …

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The C Word: How should the aid business think and act about Corruption?

Duncan Green - July 1, 2015
india

Went to a seminar on corruption and development on Monday – notable in itself as corruption is something of a taboo topic in aid circles. Aid supporters often cite framing – George Lakoff’s ‘Don’t Think of an Elephant’ or Richard Nixon’s ‘I am not a crook’ (below)- as justification for avoiding the topic; even if you raise it to dismiss it, the connection between aid …

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