February 2013

At last, a sensible suggestion for post2015

admin - February 28, 2013

After my ‘bah humbug’ paper on post2015, I’ve been largely avoiding the subject as a monumental timesuck. However, a combination of Sabina ‘multidimensional’ Alkire and Andy ‘bottom billion’ Sumner is an unstoppable force, so I’m making an exception for their new paper, Multidimensional Poverty and the Post-2015 MDGs, which is worth a skim. What Sabina and Andy do is use her previous work for UNDP …

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What is the evidence for evidence-based policy making? Pretty thin, actually.

admin - February 27, 2013

A recent conference in Nigeria considered the evidence that evidence-based policy-making actually, you know, exists. The conference report sets out its theory of change in a handy diagram – the major conference sessions are indicated in boxes. Conclusion? ‘There is a shortage of evidence on policy makers’ actual capacity to use research evidence and there is even less evidence on effective strategies to build policy …

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Beyond Horsegate: comparing the supply chains of the big 10 food companies

admin - February 26, 2013

Erinch Sahan (right), a private sector policy advisor at Oxfam GB, introduces Behind the Brands, a big new report and company scorecard, launched today. So we didn’t know we were eating horses. What else don’t we know about the supply chains delivering our food? 18 months ago, Oxfam posed this question to the Big 10: the world’s 10 largest food and beverage companies. In alphabetical …

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Community-based tourism in Ethiopia – aka where I’ve been for the last two weeks

admin - February 25, 2013

Just got back from something of a busman’s holiday – two weeks in Ethiopia with my wife Cathy. The highlight was some community-based tourism, a magical four-day trek across the highlands near Lalibela. First the community bit. The trek consisted of daily walks, with the next village providing a donkey for the bags (v welcome at 3000 metres), a donkey minder + local guide (we …

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Aid and the private sector: a love story

admin - February 11, 2013

Oxfam private sector adviser Erinch Sahan (right) summarizes a critical new review of the growing interlinkages between aid and the private sector Donors have a new love: business. And it will end poverty. Aid chiefs across the world have concluded that if we need growth to end poverty and the private sector drives growth, isn’t aid most effective where it focuses on the private sector? …

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Bad Governance leads to bad land deals – the link between politics and land grabs

admin - February 8, 2013

Ricardo Fuentes-Nieva (right) and Marloes Nicholls (left) crunch the numbers to find that big land investments sniff out countries with ‘weak governance’ – aka no accountability, no regulation, no rule of law, and a green light for corruption. If you had bags full of money and wanted to buy land, where would you go for a good deal? If you’re only looking for ways to …

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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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Why do some (better) alternatives to GDP get picked up, while others sink without trace? Useful new study on political economy of indicators.

admin - February 5, 2013

Took me a while to overcome my reluctance to read a document subtitled ‘Deliverable 1.1’ on the front page (yuk), but I’m glad I did so. The paper ‘Review report on Beyond GDP indicators: categorisation, intentions and impacts’ (cracking title too…..) is published by BRAINPOoL – ‘Bringing Alternative Indicators into Policy’ (is that the sound of teeth grinding?).  The authors come from Eurothinktanks CUEC (Czech …

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