I recently tweeted a link to a truly wonderful piece by the FT’s Lucy Kellaway, How I lost my 25-year battle against corporate claptrap, and a couple of people demanded an aidspeak version. Where better to turn than the FP2P hivemind? Her 8 rules are: Never use a short word when a long one will do Everyday euphemisms are the way forward Disregard the grammar …Continue reading
This is genius from Lisa McNally – feel free to suggest further improvements And I guess this is the exec sum, although it’s actually a very optimistic version, in that ‘what happened’ ends up roughly in the same place as the planned version, in the top right quadrant (there’s three others available…..) Anyway, they’re both brilliant. …Continue reading
Spent a day earlier this week in a posh, but anonymous (Chatham House Rule) Central London location, discussing the state of the global anti-corruption movement with some of its leaders. The meeting took place in a posh, very high ceilinged room, under the stern gaze of giant portraits of assorted kings, aristos and philosophers. I wondered what they would have made of the assembled academics …Continue reading
In response to Lisa Denney’s piece last week on the low quality of much capacity building work in the aid biz, several people got in touch to say ‘but we do it better’. Here’s one example – a guest post from Arjan de Haan and Olivia Tran, from one of my favourite organizations, IDRC (see rave review of some of their previous work on evidence …Continue reading
Charlotte Petri Gornitzka took over as chair of the OECD’s Development Assistance Committee last October, and from her new vantage point, reflects on the necessary evolution of the aid system For the aid system, the SDGs call for transformation rather than “business as usual”. Everybody is talking the talk but how ready and willing are we to change our own ways of working to enable …Continue reading
$15bn is spent every year on training, with disappointing results. Why the aid industry needs to rethink ‘capacity building’.
Guest post from Lisa Denney of ODI Every year a quarter of international aid – approximately US$15 billion globally – is spent on capacity development. That is, on sending technical assistants to work in ministries or civil society, running training programmes, conducting study tours or exchanges, or supplying resources and equipment to help organisations function better. This is often referred to as ‘teaching men to …Continue reading
Spent another couple of days with the International Budget Partnership (IBP) last week. If budgets sound boring and bean-counter ish, consider this quote from Rudolf Goldscheid: “the budget is the skeleton of the state stripped of all misleading ideologies.” Follow the money, because the rest is spin. The IBP trains and supports civil society organizations (CSOs) in dozens of countries to become better radiographers of …Continue reading
Went to an enjoyable panel at ODI last week, with the wonderful subtitle ‘Shouting at the system won’t make it work!’. It presented new research on how to improve the accountability of local government in Tanzania. Here’s the paper presented by two of the authors, Anna Mdee and Patricia Tshomba, the first of a series. The research is about how you construct a local government …Continue reading
Digested read: 3 new papers on measuring women’s empowerment; gender and ISIS; women’s rights in the Middle East and North Africa
Just sampled a couple of hundred pages of Oxfam’s prodigious output on gender issues. 3 new papers, to be precise, all of them ground-breaking in different ways. A ‘How To’ Guide to Measuring Women’s Empowerment; a Gender and Conflict Analysis in ISIS-affected communities in Iraq, and Gender Justice, Conflict and Fragility in the Middle East and North Africa. All of them ground-breaking, but none of …Continue reading
What is really going on within ‘shrinking civil society space’ and how should international actors respond?
Good conversation (Chatham House Rule) last week on the global crackdown on civil society organizations (CSOs) and what to do about it. I was expecting a fairly standard ‘it’s all terrible; international NGOs must take action, speak truth to power etc’ discussion, but it was actually much more interesting and nuanced than that. While it is undoubtedly true, and horrible, that governments around the world …Continue reading