Can donors support civil society activism without destroying it? Some great evidence from Nigeria

Duncan Green - September 9, 2014

The Thinking and Working Politically crew are reassembling next week to discuss how better to apply power analysis, political economy etc in the practice of aid, so I thought I’d highlight a couple of good examples in advance. First up is some really exciting work from DFID’s State Accountability and Voice Initiative in Nigeria, which suggests that even big donors can successfully support citizen engagement …

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How to build accountability in fragile states? Some lessons (and 2 new jobs) from an innovative governance programme.

Duncan Green - February 11, 2014

One of my favourite Oxfam programmes is called (rather arcanely) ‘Within and Without the State’. It is trying to build civil society and good governance in some pretty unpromising environments – Yemen, South Sudan, Afghanistan and OPTI (Occupied Palestinian Territory and Israel). It’s currently advertising two new jobs (one on learning and communications, the other a programme coordinator), if you’re interested. WWS recently published some …

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Thinking and Working Politically: an exciting new aid initiative

admin - November 27, 2013

Gosh I love my job. Last week I attended a workshop in Delhi to discuss ‘thinking and working politically’. A bunch of donors, academics, NGOs and others (Chatham House rules, alas, so no names or institutions) taking stock on how they can move from talk to walk in applying more politically informed thinking to their work. That means both trying to do the normal stuff …

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What does ‘big business’ say about Africa when it’s off the record?

admin - November 14, 2013

I get a lot of random invitations along the lines of ‘come and be a token esteemed NGO rep at our next gabfest’, and accept a few of the more promising ones. So this week I ended up at a conversation on ‘Africa’s Reformers’ hosted by the Africa Governance Initiative and the FT’s This is Africa magazine (which has just published an issue with that …

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Will the next generation of thinktanks be more NGO-friendly? Geoff Mulgan on ‘do-tanks’ (sorry)

admin - November 1, 2013

I don’t often listen to lectures online – in these ADHD times, a 4 minute youtube video is usually my limit (unless it’s Breaking Bad or The Wire, of course). But I’m glad I made an exception for this lecture on ‘how do thinktanks think’ by Geoff Mulgan. No tricks, no powerpoint, just a lot of brainpower. Which is what you would expect from a …

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Getting to the ‘so whats': how can donors use political economy analysis to sort out bad governance?

admin - October 30, 2013

Close but no cigar. Just been reading an ODI paper from a few months ago, Making sense of the politics of delivery: our findings so far, by Marta Foresti, Tam O’Neil and Leni Wild. It’s part of the ODI’s excellent stream of work on governance and accountability (see my review of David Booth and Diana Cammack’s book) and repays close study. The starting point is the …

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Aid’s segmented future

admin - October 25, 2013

This piece was written for a blog discussion on the future of aid, which will double up as a Global Policy ebook, organized by Andy Sumner’s new outfit, the Kings College International Development Institute, King’s College London. It’s all part of the build up to their launch conference on Emerging Economies and the Changing Global Order, 7-8 November. One of the most pressing challenges for …

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Governance for Development in Africa: Solving Collective Action Problems: Review of an important new book

admin - October 23, 2013

The last year or so has been a bit quiet in terms of big new books on development, but now they are piling up on my study floor (my usual filing system) – Angus Deaton, Deepak Nayyar, Ben Ramalingam, Nina Munk etc etc. I will review them as soon as I can (or arm-twist better qualified colleagues to do so). But I thought I’d start …

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Should you keep innovating as a programme matures? Dilemmas from (another) ground-breaking accountability programme in Tanzania

admin - October 16, 2013

Certain countries seem to produce more than their share of great programmes. Vietnam is one, and Tanzania appears to be another. After the much-blogged-on Twaweza workshop in Tanzania last week, I headed up North to visit the Chukua Hatua accountability programme. It’s one of my favourites among Oxfam’s governance work, not least because it has a really top notch theory of change (keep clicking) I often …

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Why is football such a successful (and replicable) institution?

admin - September 16, 2013

My visit to Australia and New Zealand has been full of discussion of fragile states – how might durable, effective, accountable institutions emerge in the Pacific islands that are the focus of much of the aid (and thinking) here? I’ll need time to process those conversations, but in the meantime, here’s a more immediate question, raised in a conversation with Ausaid’s governance guy, Steve Hogg. …

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