What could Foundations add to the aid mix? A conversation with the Children’s Investment Fund Foundation

Duncan Green - July 31, 2014

Foundations are increasingly important players in the aid scene, spending the interest and/or capital from monster endowments set up by philanthropists. Some of the best known (Ford, Rockefeller) have been around for a long time, and as their names suggest, have an American feel – the big Daddy is the Gates Foundation, which spends some $4bn a year (by comparison, DFID spends £8bn ($13.5bn)). But …

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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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How to think in Systems? Great (and accessible, and short) book.

admin - August 23, 2013

Thanks to whoever suggested I read ‘Thinking in Systems’, by Donella Meadows. It’s great – one of those short, easy reads that may induce a gestalt shift in the way you see the world. The topic is ‘systems theory’ – that phrase that wise-looking wonks bandy about in meetings, to intimidating effect. If you can’t beat them, then I suggestion you join them by reading …

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