Topic: NGOs

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, […]

Read More »

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. […]

Read More »

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 […]

Read More »

The IMF pronounces on the Robin Hood Tax

Yesterday, I discussed the IMF’s fascinating new proposals for two international taxes on the financial sector  – a ‘financial stability contribution’ (FSC) and a ‘financial activities tax’ (FAT). But the leaked interim report to the G20 also discussed the financial transactions tax (FTT), better known as the Robin Hood Tax. What did it say? First […]

Read More »

What is the impact of aid on overall health spending?

Fungibility makes aid complicated. Where does the money go? The Lancet has put the cat among the aid pigeons with its recent piece on the arcane, but important issue of ‘aid fungibility’. This claims that for every $1 given in health aid, the recipient government shifts between 43 cents and $1.14 of their own spending […]

Read More »

How will the UK election change the development sector?

‘British elections’ and ‘exciting’ don’t usually make it into the same sentence, but the TV debates between the party leaders have changed all that. Tonight’s second debate will focus on foreign policy, so development may even get a mention. That would be good, because so far the media perception seems to be that so much […]

Read More »

Robin Hoodies and Robbing Oil Revenues: two fine new youtubes

Here’s the latest youtube treat from Richard Curtis for the Robin Hood Tax campaign (whose Facebook fan club just topped 150,000 people). OK, we oldies recognize Ben Kingsley, but test your yoof credentials by naming the rest of them…….. See here for more considered (if less enjoyable) posts on the subject.   Meanwhile Oxfam America’s animated short “Follow the Money” has […]

Read More »

Whatever happened to Robin Hood? Update on the Financial Transaction Tax

  From deep inside the boilerhouse of the Robin Hood Tax campaign, this helpful update comes from Max Lawson, Oxfam’s man in the green mask….. The weeks up to the G20 Finance Ministers meeting in Washington DC on 23 April (on the margins of the IMF and World Bank Spring Meetings) and the UK election […]

Read More »

What do readers think of this blog? Results of audience survey

Executive wonku (see below): Lots of folk like it but want fights, shorter posts and more southern voices Wow. As promised here are the results of the online survey of users of this blog, crunched by the amazing elves in Oxfam’s market research department. Just as well, as the response was far greater than I […]

Read More »

Why no-one believes what scientists tell them

The Guardian’s George Monbiot is a former environmental scientist turned journalist-activist. Many moons ago I studied physics, before joining the development and human rights dark/light side (depending on your point of view). So his recent meditation on the nature of science and ‘public reason’ as Amartya Sen would call it, struck a chord, (and not just […]

Read More »

Why the Today Programme leads to premature ageing

I feel terrible today, all thanks to the Today programme. For non-UK readers, it’s the flagship drivetime radio news show – the one that politicians and chattering classes listen to as they scan the newspapers and munch on their cornflakes. I was on this morning, talking about aid and corruption. What you heard on the […]

Read More »

Some big development brains ask 'what's next?'

The Institute for Development Studies is a Good Thing. Located on the brutal 60s campus of the University of Sussex near Brighton, its gurus like Robert Chambers and Hans Singer have educated and inspired generations of Masters and PhD students, who then scattered to every corner of the aid industry and beyond (diplomats, politicians etc). […]

Read More »