DFID

What can NGOs/others learn from DFID’s shift to ‘adaptive development’?

Duncan Green - July 23, 2015
adaptation

Got back from holiday last week and went straight into a discussion with NGOs and thinktanks on ‘adaptive development’. Really interesting for several reasons: I realized there’s a bunch of civil society people (100 people at the seminar, plus 50 online) thinking along parallel lines to donors and academics in the Thinking and Working Politically and Doing Development Differently initiatives, but currently very little cross over. …

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How can research help promote empowerment and accountability?

Duncan Green - March 3, 2015

In the development business, DFID is a research juggernaut (180 dedicated staff, £345m annual budget, according to the ad for a new boss for its Research and Evidence Division). So it’s good news that they are consulting researchers, NGOs etc tomorrow on their next round of funding for research on empowerment and accountability (E&A). Unfortunately, I can’t make it, but I had an interesting exchange …

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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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Politics, economists and the dangers of pragmatism: reflections on DFID’s governance and conflict conference

Duncan Green - November 14, 2014

DFID really is an extraordinary institution. I spent Monday and Tuesday at the annual get together one of its tribes professional cadres – about 200 advisers on governance and conflict. They were bombarded with powerpoints from outside speakers (including me), but still found time for plenty of ‘social loafing’, aka networking with their mates. Some impressions: They are hugely bright and committed, wrestling to get stuff …

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What are the big trends on conflict and fragility? Some great presentations at DFID

Duncan Green - November 13, 2014

I spent a seriously interesting couple of days this week in a rainswept Brighton, attending DFID’s annual get together of its 200 (approx) governance and conflict advisers. Definitely worth a couple of posts – I’ll give some general impressions tomorrow, but want to start with a fascinating panel on conflict and fragility. First up was David Harland, an ex diplomat with a wry sense of …

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DFID is changing its approach to better address the underlying causes of poverty and conflict – can it work? Guest Post from two DFID reformers

Duncan Green - October 9, 2014

Aid donors are often maligned for bureaucratic procedures, a focus on short-term results at the expense of longer-term, riskier institutional change, and a technical, managerial approach to aid with insufficient focus on context, power and politics. Are these institutional barriers insurmountable? Can aid agencies create an enabling environment to think and work politically? Tom Wingfield (left) and Pete Vowles (right) from DFID’s new ‘Better Delivery Taskforce’ have been …

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The future of DFID, partnerships, aid and INGOs, c/o Alex Evans

Duncan Green - September 18, 2014

Alex Evans always gives good bullet point. A former SPAD (special adviser) to DFID, turned academic/consultant at the Center for International Cooperation, last week he gave some NGOs a whirlwind tour of his big picture thinking on development, based on a recent submission (with Owen Barder) to the UK parliament’s International Development Committee. Here are some highlights. On DFID: Next year is DFID’s 18th birthday, …

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International Aid and the Making of a Better World: a great new book

Duncan Green - July 30, 2014

Ros Eyben makes retirement look terribly exhausting. No sooner had I reviewed her book on feminists in development organizations than another appeared. This one is a little (170 page) gem. International Aid and the Making of a Better World interweaves her own life story with the evolution of the aid system, in which she is both a participant and a ferocious critic. And although it …

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An important breakthrough on disability, aid and development

Duncan Green - July 8, 2014

One of the trends in aid and development in recent years has been increasing recognition of issues around disability. A lot of that is down to the activism of Disabled People’s Organizations (DPOs). Here disability campaigners Mosharraf Hossain and Julia Modern update us an important breakthrough In April we blogged on this site about the publication of the UK parliament’s International Development Select Committee report …

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Can complex systems thinking provide useful tools for aid workers? Draft paper on some DFID pilot experiments, for your comments

Duncan Green - May 7, 2014

Ben Ramalingam, who wrote last year’s big book on complexity and aid (Aid on the Edge of Chaos) has been doing some interesting work with DFID and wants comment on his draft paper (with Miguel Laric and John Primrose) summarizing the project. The draft is here BestPracticetoBestFitWorkingPaper_DraftforComments_May2014 (just comment on this post, and the authors will read and reply where necessary, and make sure any non-bonkers …

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