Month: April 2017

How far has DFID got in implementing ‘Doing Development Differently’ ideas on the ground?

I’ve been banging on about the ‘Doing Development Differently’ movement for a few years now. Initially driven by big bilateral donors frustrated with the failure rate of old school project approaches, especially in trying to ‘build states’ and reform governments , DDD advocates ‘politically smart and locally led’ approaches, avoiding cookie cutter ‘best practice’, while…

By Duncan Green April 27, 2017 11

Pragmatism and its discontents: Brian Levy’s brilliant review essay on How Change Happens

Brian Levy, governance guru and author of Working with the Grain, recently published this magisterial essay on his blog. Nominally a review of How Change Happens (chuffed, naturally), it goes way beyond to provide a powerful critique of the aid/development/progressive consensus in light of the events of the last year. Enjoy. At times in the last few years”,…

By Duncan Green April 26, 2017 5

How could a ‘life cycle analysis’ help aid organizations engage better with the public?

Following on the post (and great comments) about whether Oxfam should get serious on changing social norms, I’ve been thinking about a ‘life cycle analysis’ approach to INGOs’ engagement with the public. The starting point is that at different ages, people have different assets and constraints (eg disposable time, cash, openness to new ideas). Obviously,…

By Duncan Green April 24, 2017 7

Improving collaboration between practitioners and academics: what to do? (with a little help from Einstein)

Previous posts in this 3 part series explored the obstacles to INGO-academic collaboration, and the lessons of systems thinking. This final post suggests some ways forward (with some sarcastic asides from Einstein) Based on all of the above, a number of ideas emerge for consideration by academics, INGOs and funders of research. Suggestions for academics…

By Duncan Green April 21, 2017 6

What does Systems Thinking tell us about how INGOs and Academics can work together better?

Yesterday, I wrote about the obstacles to NGO-academic collaboration. In this second of three posts on the interface between practitioners and researchers, I look at the implications of systems thinking. Some of the problems that arise in the academic–INGO interface stem from overly linear approaches to what is in effect an ideas and knowledge ecosystem. In such…

By Duncan Green April 20, 2017 4

Links I Liked

I’m running a two week summer school on How Change Happens in Cape Town in July. Sign up here. Newspapers should have had the headline “Number of people in extreme poverty fell by 137,000 since yesterday.” Every day for the last 25 years [h/t Max Roser] New Oxfam report. From 2009-2015, the 50 biggest US…

By Duncan Green April 18, 2017 2

Drought in Africa – How the system to fund humanitarian aid is still hardwired to fail

Guest post from Debbie Hillier, Oxfam Humanitarian Policy Adviser Nearly 11 million people across Ethiopia, Somalia and Kenya are facing alarming levels of food insecurity. In Somalia, deaths as a result of drought have already been recorded, and as its next rains are forecast to be poor, famine is a real possibility. But why are…

By Duncan Green April 13, 2017 4