Aid

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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What’s the evidence on fundraising with language of pity v language of dignity? Testing the Narrative Project

Duncan Green - July 15, 2016

Guest post by Alison Carlman of GlobalGiving   A report was published last week shedding new light on the Narrative Project.  In case you’re not familiar, The Narrative Project was a wide-scale research project driven by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, InterAction, and other major NGOs in the lead-up to 2015 (and the new Sustainable Development Goals), aiming to improve US, UK, French, and …

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NGOs face a slow-onset funding disaster – what can be done to avoid it?

Duncan Green - July 13, 2016

Brexit is prompting a lot of discussion within the UK’s aid community right now. But while the focus is understandably on EC funding and exchange rates, there’s a less visible and potentially more dangerous funding threat to deal with, argues Michael O’Donnell of Bond (the network of UK development NGOs). Right now, NGO staff focused on quality and effectiveness need to mobilise and polish their …

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What’s the likely impact of Brexit on development, aid and Oxfam? Any opportunities amid the gloom?

Duncan Green - June 30, 2016

Following on Tuesday’s retrospective ‘how did this happen?’ piece, some thoughts on the future, starting wide (development in general) then narrowing down to the aid business, and all the way to Oxfam/INGOs. All highly tentative, subject to correction etc in the coming days. One big assumption: I’m assuming that Brexit actually goes ahead. And one pleasant surprise – there are a few opportunities as well …

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Community Philanthropy: it’s a thing, and you need to know about it

Duncan Green - June 2, 2016

  Guest post from Jenny Hodgson of the Global Fund for Community Foundations It’s almost always the same argument. Or excuse. Governments joining the accelerating global trend of restricting civil society at home like to claim that they are protecting their country against meddling “foreign powers”. No one has to like, or agree, with that point of view in order to take it seriously, and …

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Book Review, Augusta Dwyer: The Anatomy of Giving (on the aid industry and Haiti)

Duncan Green - May 26, 2016

If you want a readable and short (167 pages) introduction to the many contradictions and debates that beset the aid business, I recommend The Anatomy of Giving (apologies for Amazon link – couldn’t find another). Dwyer’s subject is Haiti – ‘At just a two-hour flight from Miami, Haiti is the Western Hemisphere’s own little piece of Sub-Saharan Africa.’ She’s been visiting on and off since 1985 …

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Should aid fight corruption? New book questions logic behind this week’s anti-corruption summit

Duncan Green - May 10, 2016

Over at the Center for Global Development, Charles Kenny wants comments on the draft of his book on Aid and Corruption (deadline end of May). Let’s hope this becomes standard practice – it worked brilliantly for me on How Change Happens – more varied voices can chip in good new ideas, spot mistakes or contradictions, and it all helps get a buzz going ahead of publication. …

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Payment by Results take 2: what I learned from the response to last month’s rant

Duncan Green - April 12, 2016

A couple of weeks ago I posted a fairly polemical piece about the hype around ‘payment by results’, which prompted quite a response, including a piece by CGD’s Nancy Birdsall and William Savedoff, and an excellent set of comments from a bunch of people who are much more on top of the issue than I am (not difficult, I know). Nancy argued that the problem with …

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What did trade campaigns achieve? Plus reinventing Robert Chambers & changing aid narratives: some Berlin conversations

Duncan Green - March 24, 2016

Had a really interesting couple of days in Berlin last week, at the invitation of the German government aid agency, GIZ. Also spent time with the impressive policy and campaigns wonks at Oxfam Germany. Here’s a few of the topics that came up. What did all that trade campaigning achieve? From the late 90s to 2005, when I was working on economic policy for CAFOD, …

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