Do Aid and Development need their own TripAdvisor feedback system?

Duncan Green - April 10, 2015

I’ve been thinking about TripAdvisor recently, as a model of fast, crowdsourced feedback which highlights rubbish hotels and restaurants, and creates pressure for them to shape up. There’s plenty of rubbish performance in the aid and development sector, but our feedback loops are mainly limited to conversations in corridors and the occasional email. So what would be your top candidates for a developmental TripAdvisor? Let’s start with aid organisations …

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How can research help promote empowerment and accountability?

Duncan Green - March 3, 2015

In the development business, DFID is a research juggernaut (180 dedicated staff, £345m annual budget, according to the ad for a new boss for its Research and Evidence Division). So it’s good news that they are consulting researchers, NGOs etc tomorrow on their next round of funding for research on empowerment and accountability (E&A). Unfortunately, I can’t make it, but I had an interesting exchange …

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The Four Magic Words of Development, by Tom Carothers and Saskia Brechenmacher

Duncan Green - November 6, 2014

This guest post comes from Thomas Carothers and Saskia Brechenmacher of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and Tufts University, drawing from their new paper Accountability, Transparency, Participation, and Inclusion: A New Development Consensus? The penultimate para in particular got me thinking about the different tribes present at the recent Doing Development Differently event. If you are about to visit an organization engaged in international …

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From transactional to transformational: thinking about the future of Social Accountability. Twaweza guest post.

Duncan Green - October 17, 2014

Varja Lipovsek & Ben Taylor of Twaweza, one of my favourite accountability NGOs, read the tea leaves on the future of their field In the private rooms of the Royal Society in London, under the stern gaze of Isaac Newton, the World Bank, DFID, ODI and a handful of others gathered recently to discuss an evaluation of the Bank’s Governance Partnership Facility (GPF) and the …

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Can donors support civil society activism without destroying it? Some great evidence from Nigeria

Duncan Green - September 9, 2014

The Thinking and Working Politically crew are reassembling next week to discuss how better to apply power analysis, political economy etc in the practice of aid, so I thought I’d highlight a couple of good examples in advance. First up is some really exciting work from DFID’s State Accountability and Voice Initiative in Nigeria, which suggests that even big donors can successfully support citizen engagement …

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Four ways in which a good theory of change can help your social accountability work

Duncan Green - July 29, 2014

This piece went up last week on the World Bank’s Global Partnership for Social Accountability blog. Sorry, I mean ‘knowledge platform’. Theories of change (ToCs) are a bit of a development fuzzword at the moment, used in lots of different and sometimes baffling ways. But Oxfam finds ToCs extremely useful, provided they address issues of power and politics, avoid linear ‘logframe on steroids’ or exclusively …

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Big Data and Development: Upsides, downsides and a lot of questions

Duncan Green - July 23, 2014

One of the more scary but enjoyable things I do is be interviewed on stuff I know absolutely nothing about (yeah, yeah, I know – no change there then). You get to grasshopper around multiple issues and disciplines, cobbling together ideas and arguments from scattered fragments, making connections and learning new stuff. Great fun. This week, I’ll blog about a couple of these BS (blue …

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What are the limits of transparency and technology? From three gurus of the openness movement (Eigen, Rajani, McGee)

Duncan Green - April 7, 2014

After a slightly disappointing ‘wonkwar’ on migration, let’s try a less adversarial format for another big development issue: Transparency and Accountability. I have an instinctive suspicion of anything that sounds like a magic bullet, a cost-free solution, or motherhood and apple pie in general. So the current surge in interest on open data and transparency has me grumbling and sniffing the air. Are politicians just …

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How to build accountability in fragile states? Some lessons (and 2 new jobs) from an innovative governance programme.

Duncan Green - February 11, 2014

One of my favourite Oxfam programmes is called (rather arcanely) ‘Within and Without the State’. It is trying to build civil society and good governance in some pretty unpromising environments – Yemen, South Sudan, Afghanistan and OPTI (Occupied Palestinian Territory and Israel). It’s currently advertising two new jobs (one on learning and communications, the other a programme coordinator), if you’re interested. WWS recently published some …

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How do you measure the difficult stuff (empowerment, resilience) and whether any change is attributable to your role?

admin - December 3, 2013

In one of his grumpier moments, Owen Barder recently branded me as ‘anti-data’, which (if you think about it for a minute) would be a bit weird foranyone working in the development sector. The real issue is of course, what kind of data tell you useful things about different kinds of programme, and how you collect them. If people equate ‘data’ solely with ‘numbers’, then …

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