User fees are bad; India's middle class; disgraced professions; a good bank; Aesop and the Euromeltdown; the Amnesty ad the FT rejected; bad news from Rwanda and mangled lyrics: links I liked

Charging even very small user fees sharply limits access to preventive health care. MIT’s Poverty Action Lab summarizes the evidence and comes to an unequivocal  conclusion. Hope everyone’s listening Does India’s middle class care about poverty and inequality? SCF’s Ben Phillips is hopeful ‘I write to you from a disgraced profession’ (guess which one…..). James […]

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Who's better at preparing tomorrow's campaigners: LSE or Harvard?

Enough about aid, let’s talk about campaigning. By pure coincidence, I’ve been spending time with a bunch of Master in Public Adminstration (MPA) students recently – fascinating, not least because of the different approaches taken by their courses. Last week, the winning team from this year’s crop at the London School of Economics came in […]

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What is the future of UK development policy?

Consensus on size But tensions on coherence And definition This run of posts on aid is starting to seem endless (you probably agree….). But this one, on the outlook for UK aid, is the last of the series, at least for now. From tomorrow, I’ll be getting back to the usual random scattergun stuff, but […]

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Are aid workers living a lie? And does it matter?

These are the questions posed by Rosalind Eyben in an intriguing new paper in the European Journal of Development Research (no ungated version, sorry). Ros, formerly of DFID and now attached to the Institute of Development Studies, knows the aid industry backwards and is struck by “the dissonance between what [aid workers] do and what they report […]

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'Just Give Money to the Poor: the Development Revolution from the Global South', an excellent overview of cash transfers

Cash transfers (CTs – regular payments by the state directly to poor people) are all the rage at the moment, prompting heated debates across the development sector. As its title suggests, a new book, ‘Just Give Money to the Poor’ has no doubts about their merits. But Joseph Hanlon, Armando Barrientos (see his blog on […]

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Me with the IMF at the Hanoi Hilton – please add photo caption

OK, the blog’s been pretty heavy going of late, so here’s some light relief, c/o the IMF, who have just sent me multiple copies of this pic from a conference back in March on the impact of the global economic crisis in low income countries (see my previous post, or the IMF page on the […]

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Why 21st Century Aid needs to be bigger AND better

The arguments on aid over the last few years seem to have fallen into three camps: 1. Aid is bad (Dambisa Moyo, Bill Easterly) 2. Aid is great (Jeff Sachs, various aid donors, and to some extent, Oxfam and other NGOs) 3. Hey, I’ve just had this great idea for making aid much better (CGD, […]

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Should we get paid?; the eye of the beholder; Unesco loses it; Hillary gets it; 0.7 v 2.4 and London Citizen on youtube: links I liked

Owen Barder considers the contradictions of being (relatively well) paid to work on poverty Malawi based aid worker Duncan McNicholl subverts the aid agency and media stereotypes by taking photos of people he meets in two different poses ‘miserable victim asking for help’ and ‘sharp geezer on the mobile’. Lovely idea. [h/t Laura Freschi]. Here’s […]

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Cash on Delivery – worth a try?

You’ve got to hand it to the policy entrepreneurs at the Center for Global Development – they sure know how to get new ideas onto the tables and into the minds of decision makers. One of their biggest and most interesting new(ish) ideas is ‘Cash on Delivery’ (CoD), and I’ve just been reading their new […]

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What to make of the leaked US development strategy?

First the plug: I’m in the US at the moment (for quite a long time, if the ash cloud has anything to do it) and will be speaking at Oxfam America in Washington DC on Tuesday at 12 noon (1100 15th St NW, 6th floor). Subject: the UK elections and development policy. Co-speaker Jim Kolbe […]

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Helping small farmers get a better deal in Colombia

I’m on a panel at the Harvard Kennedy School tomorrow, pulling together some of the lessons from on the ground success in development programming. I’ve already posted on some of the stories, but here’s an interesting one from Colombia, where small scale farmers find it hard to sell into urban areas at a decent price. […]

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Should emergency relief be used to build mosques and churches?

Should Oxfam’s emergency relief money be used to build mosques? That was the fascinating question that cropped up in a recent internal discussion on faith and development. And it’s not a purely academic one. In Aceh after the 2004 Boxing Day tsunami, Oxfam said no to one request.  But two years later, after the big Java […]

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