The Politics of Results & Evidence. Most read post from this summer (ICYMI)

Duncan Green - September 23, 2015

OK, Oxfam’s IT whizzes finally seem to have fixed a really frustrating problem – several thousand people who had signed up for email alerts about new FP2P posts haven’t been receiving them for the last 3 months. Many of them assumed Oxfam had finally got round to sacking me and/or I’d got fed up with blogging/gone under a bus. Sorry to disappoint – I’ve been …

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Aid and Development: A Brief Introduction. Book review of handy new bluffer’s guide

Duncan Green - September 15, 2015

One of the best things about Aid and Development: A Brief Introduction, by Myles Wickstead, is the user-friendly format: a 90 page basic introduction to the aid system from World War Two to the SDGs, followed by a 65 page compendium of 20 ‘key words and concepts’ from aid effectiveness to the UN system. Another plus is the author: Myles is a charming UK government …

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Aid agency ex-staff are a huge wasted asset – how cd we set up an alumni scheme and what wd it do?

Duncan Green - September 3, 2015

I regularly hear from friends who have been cold called by their old university, seeking to extract money from them for the alma mater (apparently hungry current students are particularly convincing). That got me thinking – how come aid organizations don’t do more with their alumni? Because Exfam staff (as we call them) are a wasted asset: many go on to influential jobs elsewhere in …

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The C Word: How should the aid business think and act about Corruption?

Duncan Green - July 1, 2015

Went to a seminar on corruption and development on Monday – notable in itself as corruption is something of a taboo topic in aid circles. Aid supporters often cite framing – George Lakoff’s ‘Don’t Think of an Elephant’ or Richard Nixon’s ‘I am not a crook’ (below)- as justification for avoiding the topic; even if you raise it to dismiss it, the connection between aid …

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Which bits of advice do developing country decision makers actually listen to? Great new research

Duncan Green - May 12, 2015

Another interesting feedback loop in the aid system: a new report, The Marketplace of Ideas for Policy Change summarizes a survey of 6,750 policymakers and practitioners in 126 low- and middle-income countries to find out which of the innumerable bits of advice and analysis churned out by aid agencies, international organizations and NGOs actually influence their work. What’s most alarming is how original this is …

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Fit for the Future? Systems thinking and the role of International NGOs – draft paper for your comments

Duncan Green - April 14, 2015

I’m committing potential hara-kiri by giving a DFID staff talk on the future of INGOs tomorrow lunchtime (Wednesday) – if you’re an FP2P reader in DFID, do please come along. Here’s the background and a call for comments on the draft paper I’m presenting: (INGO futures, Green v5 April 2015 (edited)). Just before Christmas, Oxfam boss Mark Goldring collared me in the canteen and off the …

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A Novel Idea: Would Fiction be a better induction to a new job than boring briefings?

Duncan Green - March 31, 2015

A mysterious, anonymised, scarlet pimpernel character called J. flits around the aid world, writing a blog (Tales from the Hood – now defunct, but collected into a book, Letters Left Unsent) and fiction. He asked me for a plug for the latest novel, Honor Among Thieves. Here’s the plot blurb: ‘Mary-Anne has left East Africa and traded in her dusty cargo pants for business suits …

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Why Bill and Melinda’s Annual Letter is both exciting and disappointing

Duncan Green - January 23, 2015

Judging by his latest annual letter, if you could bottle and sell Bill Gates’ optimism, you’d probably make even more money than he has from software. In what they call a ‘big bet’ (actually, more like a prediction), the letter sets out Bill and Melinda’s personal version of some post-MDG goals for 2030 (Charles Kenny sees it as an implicit criticism of the official UN …

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$2 leaving developing countries for every $1 going in – big new report on the state of global financial flows

Duncan Green - December 18, 2014

A very useful new report from Eurodad, published today, provides ‘the most comprehensive review of the quantity of different financing sources available to developing countries, and how they have changed over the past decade.’ This in the run up to the big UN summit on financing for development (FfD) in Addis Ababa in July 2015. Here are some highlights from the exec sum: ‘We have …

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Did Britain’s Aid Programme (and maybe aid in general) just get its Mojo back?

Duncan Green - December 9, 2014

[Mojo: NOUN (plural mojos), chiefly US: A magic charm, talisman, or spell] I got back from Malta on Friday, just in time to watch the end of the House of Commons debate on enshrining in British law the longstanding, but widely ignored, international commitment to spend 0.7% of Gross National Income on international development. By an overwhelming majority (146 to 5), the bill passed. It still has to go to the House of Lords, …

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