Spent a fascinating day last week talking to staff at the Gates Foundation at its HQ in a cold, grey and sleety Seattle (felt quite at home). I presented the book in one of those ‘brownbag lunches’ that Americans love (although these days ‘clear plastic box lunches’ would be more accurate), and we then got on to discussing the implications for aid agencies in general …Continue reading
The new Gates Foundation aid report: great at human stories; but where’s the power, politics and mess?
I’ve been reading the new Gates Foundation report, The Stories Behind the Data (lots of jazzy webstuff and graphs of bad stuff going down here – and if you dig hard enough, you can even find a good old-fashioned report to read here). On one level it is exemplary, setting out both an optimistic story of progress, and a warning that this could all be in jeopardy, not …Continue reading
Joseph Hanlon and Teresa Smart are unimpressed by a new initiative, but disappointingly avoid all the potential excruciating puns Bill Gates announced on 7 June that he is giving 100,000 chickens to the poor because chickens are “easy to take care of” and a woman with just five hens in Africa can make $1000 per year. For Mozambique where we work, this is remarkable …Continue reading
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 …Continue reading
Are we now in a period of global British exceptionalism in aid and development, and if so, what are the implications for the work of British-based NGOs and their allies? That question has been niggling away at me during the run-up to the big UK government + Gates Foundation ‘Family Planning Summit’ tomorrow. Why exceptionalism? Because the UK is pretty much alone among traditional donors …Continue reading
On Monday night I joined the besuited masses of the UK development scene to sit at the feet (OK, in a crammed 400 seat lecture theatre) of Bill and Melinda Gates as they promoted the ONE campaign’s ‘Living Proof’ project on effective aid. It was great to hear an optimistic message on aid and development for once, especially when it was laid out brilliantly in …Continue reading