results

What do we know about the long-term legacy of aid programmes? Very little, so why not go and find out?

Duncan Green - May 21, 2015

We talk a lot in the aid biz about wanting to achieve long-term impact, but most of the time, aid organizations work in a time bubble set by the duration of a project. We seldom go back a decade later and see what happened after we left. Why not? Everyone has their favourite story of the project that turned into a spectacular social movement (SEWA) …

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Measuring the difficult stuff (empowerment, resilience) and learning from the results; where has Oxfam got to?

Duncan Green - December 3, 2014

I’m not generally a big fan of measurement fetishism (too crude, too blind to complexity and systems thinking). When I used to (mis)manage the Oxfam research team and wanted a few thousand quid for some research grant, I had to list numbers of beneficiaries (men and women). As research is a global public good, I always put 3.5bn of each. No-one ever queried it. But …

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Is ‘thinking and working politically’ compatible with results? Should advocacy ever be done in secret? Big questions at the LSE this week.

Duncan Green - July 4, 2014

This week I found myself on a fun panel at LSE discussing ‘can politics and evidence work together?’  with Mary Kaldor (LSE), Ros Eyben (IDS) and Steven Rood (The Asia Foundation – TAF has a really interesting partnership with LSEto study its use of theories of change). Early last year, I promised to revisit the topic after this blog hosted an epic debate on the …

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New research shows aid agencies get better results if they stop trying to control their people on the ground, especially in complex environments (and performance monitoring can make it worse)

Duncan Green - May 22, 2014

This fascinating excerpt from a recent Owen Barder speech to the little-known-but-huge Children’s Investment Fund Foundation (CIFF) covers two new papers on the management of development interventions, with big potential implications: ‘[First] a study of the evaluations of 10,000 aid projects over the last ten years from nine different development organizations. In this paper Dan Honig, from Harvard University, looks at whether different kinds of …

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The Aid trilemma: are complexity, scale and measurability mutually incompatible?

Duncan Green - February 18, 2014

I’ve been reflecting on Owen Barder’s recent post on the tensions for aid agencies between wanting to go to scale, and acknowledging that lasting development solutions have to emerge from discussions among local actors, based on local context. Seems to me we have something of an aid trilemma here – I would add in attribution to the mix as a third element. You can have …

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Why are NGOs and Academics collaborating more?

admin - August 8, 2013

August is a good month for getting people to step back and take stock – those who are not on holiday have fewer meetings, and so are more relaxed and available for shooting the breeze. And so I found myself at the London International Development Centre this week in one of those periodic soul searchings about how to get NGOs and researchers to work together …

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Can impact diaries help us analyse our impact when working in complex environments?

admin - July 8, 2013

One of the problems about working in a complex system is that not only do you never know what is going to happen, but you aren’t sure what developments, information, feedback etc will turn out (with hindsight) to be important. In these results-obsessed times, what does that mean for monitoring and evaluation? One answer is to keep what I call an ‘impact diary’, where you …

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Aid and complex systems cont’d: timelines, incubation periods and results

admin - May 22, 2013

I’m at one of those moments where all conversations seem to link to each other, I see complex systems everywhere, and I’m wondering whether I’mstarting to lose my marbles. Happily, lots of other people seem to be suffering from the same condition, and a bunch of us met up earlier this week with Matt Andrews, who was in the UK to promote his fab new …

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So What do I take Away from The Great Evidence Debate? Final thoughts (for now)

admin - February 7, 2013

The trouble with hosting a massive argument, as this blog recently did on the results agenda (the most-read debate ever on this blog) is that I then have to make sense of it all, if only for my own peace of mind. So I’ve spent a happy few hours digesting 10 pages of original posts and 20 pages of top quality comments (I couldn’t face adding …

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Theory’s fine, but what about practice? Oxfam’s MEL chief on the evidence agenda

admin - February 6, 2013

Two Oxfam responses to the evidence debate. First Jennie Richmond, (right) our results czarina (aka Head of Programme Performance and Accountability) wonders what it all means in for the daily grind of NGO MEL (monitoring, evaluation and learning). Tomorrow I attempt to wrap up. The results wonkwar of last week was compelling intellectual ping-pong. The bloggers were heavy-hitters and the quality of the comments provided …

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