Aid

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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How bad is my filter bubble problem? Please help me find out

Duncan Green - January 5, 2017

In an idle moment over the Christmas break, I decided to run a twitter poll to assess the extent of my filter bubble. For any of you who’ve been on a different planet for the last few months, that’s the social media phenomenon whereby you like/follow/read only those sources that broadly agree with you, creating an echo chamber that can lead to you mistakenly thinking …

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How do we choose the most promising theory of change? Building on the context-intervention 2×2

Duncan Green - December 9, 2016

One of the slides from my standard HCH presentation that resonated most during the many conversations and book launches in the US was the 2×2 on which kinds of interventions are compatible with different contexts. I first blogged about this a year ago, when the 2×2 emerged during a workshop of aid wonks, but the recent discussions have added some nice extra ideas to what …

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Are these the worst aid agency road-side signs ever? Send in your candidates

Duncan Green - November 30, 2016

Jonathan Tanner is communications manager at the Africa Governance Initiative (check out their new ‘art of delivery’ paper). Here he calls out some truly dire communication by aid agencies I was recently in Sierra Leone and Liberia to record a series of podcasts for AGI. The things I saw ranged from the jaw-dropping beauty of dawn on the road out of Freetown to the gut-wrenching destitution …

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Friday rant: ‘development’ is not the same as ‘aid’. Got that?

Duncan Green - November 25, 2016

A recent headline in my RSS feed flicked my ‘Activate Rant’ button. ‘This Video from Uganda Highlights Everything Wrong with Global Development’ it shouted. I knew what the video was about – some young white American missionaries getting into trouble for ‘dressing up native’ and singing ‘get your mission on’ provoked outrage in various quarters. I hadn’t found it interesting enough to blog or even …

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Payment by Results in Aid: What’s new?

Duncan Green - November 24, 2016

Development Economist Paul Clist discusses some of the ideas from his new paper (Link to paywalled article version, link to free draft version) Payment by Results (PbR) is a fairly new idea in aid, where a donor decides how much money to disburse on the basis of how much a recipient has achieved against a target. For example, a donor could pay an NGO for …

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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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