Aid

Why rethinking how we work on market systems and the private sector is really hard

Duncan Green - May 17, 2017

Whatever your ideological biases about ‘the private sector’ (often weirdly conflated with transnational corporations in NGO-land), markets really matter to poor people (feeding families, earning a living, that kind of thing).  But ‘making markets work for the poor’ turns out to be really difficult and, just as with attempts to tackle corruption or improve institutions, there is a rethink going on in the aid business. …

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Why election politics don’t work as well for the environment as they do for international development

Duncan Green - May 11, 2017

Guest post from Matthew Spencer, who crossed over from the environment sector recently to become Oxfam’s Director of Campaigns and Policy  Before the end of the first week of the UK election campaign, to widespread surprise, Theresa May agreed to the development sector’s main demand to maintain our 0.7% overseas aid commitment. In contrast, the following week the government had to be forced to publish …

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Blockchain for Development: A Handy Bluffers’ Guide

Duncan Green - May 9, 2017

Top tip: if you’re in a meeting discussing anything to do with finance, at some point look wise and say ‘you do realize, blockchain is likely to change everything.’ Of course, there is always a terrifying chance that someone will ask what you actually mean. Worry not, because IDS has produced a handy bluffer’s guide to help you respond. Blockchain for Development – Hope or …

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How far has DFID got in implementing ‘Doing Development Differently’ ideas on the ground?

Duncan Green - April 27, 2017

I’ve been banging on about the ‘Doing Development Differently’ movement for a few years now. Initially driven by big bilateral donors frustrated with the failure rate of old school project approaches, especially in trying to ‘build states’ and reform governments , DDD advocates ‘politically smart and locally led’ approaches, avoiding cookie cutter ‘best practice’, while staying sufficiently aware and adaptive to learn and tweak your …

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Improving collaboration between practitioners and academics: what to do? (with a little help from Einstein)

Duncan Green - April 21, 2017

Previous posts in this 3 part series explored the obstacles to INGO-academic collaboration, and the lessons of systems thinking. This final post suggests some ways forward (with some sarcastic asides from Einstein) Based on all of the above, a number of ideas emerge for consideration by academics, INGOs and funders of research. Suggestions for academics Comments on the blogposts that formed the basis for this …

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Could New Zealand become the Norway of the South on aid and diplomacy?

Duncan Green - April 7, 2017

Spent last week in New Zealand, involved in some fascinating, if jetlag-bleary, conversations with both Oxfam and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT), which manages NZ’s US$400m aid budget. What emerged was that both Oxfam NZ and MFAT have what it takes to become ‘innovation hubs’ within their respective sectors. That means they are smart enough and small enough to be able to …

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So is ‘Doing Development Differently’ a movement now? And if so, where’s it going?

Duncan Green - March 30, 2017

Guest post by Graham Teskey, Principal Global Lead for Governance, Abt JTA, Australia and all round aid guru The fourth meeting of the ‘Doing Development Differently’ movement (as one of its founders, Michael Woolcock, calls it) was held over two days in Jakarta a couple of weeks ago. Jointly hosted by the Government of Indonesia, the World Bank and Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and …

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A new case must be made for aid. It rests on three legs.

Duncan Green - March 28, 2017

Guest post from aid guru Simon Maxwell Is the tide turning on aid? Famine in Africa has rekindled both media and public support.  By 20th March, the UK’s Disasters Emergency Committee had raised £24m from the public in only six days for its East Africa Crisis appeal. Red Nose Day on 24th March provided another opportunity to demonstrate support. And on aid more generally, the …

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On Populism, Nationalism, Babies and Bathwater

Duncan Green - March 23, 2017

A couple of Oxfamers were over from the US recently so ODI kindly pulled together a seriously stimulating conversation about life, theuniverse and everything. More specifically, how should ‘we’ – the aid community broadly defined – respond to the rising tide of nationalism, populism, and attacks on aid. It was Chatham House rules, so I’ve already told you too much, but here are some of …

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Is the Anti-Politics machine still a good critique of the aid business?

Duncan Green - January 11, 2017

Just been re-reading a great 6 page summary of James Ferguson’s 1994 classic critique of the aid industry, The Anti-Politics Machine. Read this and ask yourself, apart from the grating use of the term ‘Third World’, how much has changed? ‘Any question of the form ‘what is to be done?’ demands first of all an answer to the question, ‘By whom?’ The ‘development’ discourse, and …

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