Month: July 2011

Maasai v investors in Ngorongoro, Tanzania: guest post by Jane Lonsdale

Ngorongoro district in Tanzania, home to the famous Ngorongoro crater and bordering the Serengeti national park, must surely be one of the most beautiful landscapes on earth. Maybe this explains its hotly contested land disputes.  Everyone seems to want a piece of it, but those in danger of being left without are the indigenous Maasai…

By admin July 28, 2011 7

The Duke of Wellington on the aid bureaucracy

Just read the much quoted paper from former USAID boss Andrew Natsios, ‘The Clash of the Counter-bureaucracy and Development’. The counter-bureaucracy is his term for the bean counters within USAID and the development sector in general, who are currently in the ascendant. Of it, he says simply. ‘The counter-bureaucracy ignores a central principle of development…

By admin July 26, 2011 5

$66bn ends world poverty; the Great Divergence; bashing BAE and the China-bashers; the UK and Africa; talk v action on greenhouse gases; ultra-low tech lighting: links I liked

How much would it cost to eradicate (that’s right – not halve, but end) world poverty? “If we could accurately and directly supplement the income of each poor person in the world to bring his or her daily income up to $1.25, it would have cost $96 billion in 2005. But by 2010, as the…

By admin July 25, 2011 1

How do we talk about resource limits, fair shares and development?

Fascinating morning earlier this week discussing Alex Evans’ new paper for WWF and Oxfam on ‘Resource Scarcity, fair shares and development’. Alex summarizes the paper in the Guardian, so I won’t rehearse his arguments for adding ‘fair shares’ to the more accepted topics of responding to resource scarcity by increasing production and strengthening resilience. Instead,…

By admin July 22, 2011 3

A morning with Ena Conteh in Freetown, Sierra Leone: guest post by Penny Lawrence

Our international director, Penny Lawrence, regularly educates me with stories from her field trips, and this time I managed to persuade her to write it down: “I recently spent a morning in one of Freetown’s slum areas. Since the horrific civil war (1991 – 2002), which was finally ended by the UK military, elevating Tony Blair…

By admin July 21, 2011 5

Why do we know so little about how poor people 'do' development?

I’ve just been reading the draft of a review by Charlotte Sterrett of climate change adaption experiences in South Asia. It’s great, and I’ll link to it when it’s published, but one conclusion set me thinking more widely: ‘While autonomous adaptation is likely to become more common and widespread than planned adaptation, most research and…

By admin July 20, 2011 8

Playing games with the climate – a great way to explore difficult choices in complex systems

By pure coincidence, the day after linking to Jane McGonigall’s impassioned plea that gamers can save the world, I ended up playing a rather more low-tech climate change game with a load of DFID staff. We were farmers, taking decisions on risks and returns for different crops in accordance with the unpredictable weather patterns (represented…

By admin July 19, 2011 7