How do you critique a project proposal? Learning from the Experts

Duncan Green - September 21, 2016

A confession – I’m not a programme person. I’ve never run a country programme, or spent aid money (apart from squandering a couple of million quid of DFID’s during my short spell there). So I really enjoyed a recent workshop in Myanmar where a group of real programme people (and me) were asked to critique an imaginary (but not that imaginary) project proposal. It was a great …

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Is it time for the Aid Community to Explain Itself to Developing Countries?

Duncan Green - September 7, 2016

Thomas Carothers of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace introduces his newly released report, Navigating International Aid in Transitions:  A Guide for Recipients, written with Mark Freeman, Cale Salih, and Robert Templer While interviewing the director of a women’s rights NGO in Zambia some years back, I asked her why she thought various foreign groups supporting her organization were present in her country. Her initial …

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How do developing country decision makers rate aid donors?

Duncan Green - August 19, 2016

Had a last minute cancellation of today’s post – ah Oxfam sign off, doncha love it? So here’s the most read new post from the last year. Brilliant. Someone’s finally done it. For years I’ve been moaning on about how no-one ever asks developing country governments to assess aid donors (rather than the other way around), and then publishes a league table of the good, the …

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Is this the right moment to reboot the Aid, Trade and Private Sector agenda?

Duncan Green - August 12, 2016

Oxfam’s private sector adviser Erinch Sahan thinks the times are ripe for a paradigm shift  In a former life (i.e. six years ago), I worked as a development adviser to Australia’s trade negotiators. Back then, we development types were suspicious and hostile – we feared that rich countries would divert aid to pursue a narrow interpretation of their national interests. Now, from TPP to the UK’s …

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How do you make aid programmes truly adaptive? New lessons from Bangladesh and Cambodia

Duncan Green - August 5, 2016

Following on from yesterday’s post on adaptive aid, a guest piece from Lisa Denney (left), Daniel Harris (middle)and Leni Wild (right), all of ODI (sorry layout’s gone so weird – it’s cos there’s so many of them…..) A swelling chorus of the development community has been advocating for more flexible and adaptive programming that can respond to the twists and turns of political reform processes. They argue that in order …

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What is Adaptive Aid? Useful lessons from six case studies

Duncan Green - August 4, 2016

Move over ‘Innovation’, ‘Adaptive’ is the new fuzzword on the block – stick it in front of ‘learning’, ‘management’, ‘programming’ or ‘aid’ if you want to sound up to the minute. Dave Algoso and Alan Hudson wrote a handy overview on this blog recently. But to get an idea of the substance, it’s also worth reading Adapting Aid, a synthesis of six case studies by …

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If politics is the problem, how can external actors be part of the solution? New World Bank paper

Duncan Green - August 2, 2016

The new paper comes from Shanta Devarajan, the Bank’s Chief Economist for the Middle East and North Africa Region, (recently drafted in to help get the WDR to the finishing line) and Stuti Khemani, Senior Economist at its Development Research Group. The World Bank seems currently to be awash with fascinating reflections and rethinking on politics and power. This one’s big message is perfectly captured …

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Parts of the aid system just don’t work – the dismal cycle of humanitarian response

Duncan Green - July 21, 2016

Every now and then an email stops me in my tracks, reminding me that Oxfam is stuffed full of bright, motivated, altruistic people. Here’s one I got a few weeks ago from Debbie Hillier, one of our Humanitarian Policy Advisers, in response to my request for thoughts on the state of the aid business. Her views are fleshed out in ‘A Preventable Crisis’, a new …

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Do aid organisations need marriage guidance? Five lessons for better partnerships

Duncan Green - July 20, 2016

Audrey Lejeune (right), Programme Learning Adviser and Yo Winder (left), Global Partnerships and Accountability Adviser, both of Oxfam, introduce Partnership for Impact – a series of reflections by its staff Oxfam works in partnership with almost 700, often very different, organisations: academic institutions, UN agencies, national and/or sub-national NGOs and Civil Society Organisations – some of whom will be lobbyists, some of whom will truck water on …

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