Topic: Aid

Book Review: The Business of Changing the World, by Raj Kumar

I found reading The Business of Changing the World rather disturbing – a bit like being taken hostage by a cult and submitted to polite but persistent brainwashing for several days (I’m a slow reader). The cult in question is what Anand Giridharadas calls ‘MarketWorld’ – an effusive, evangelical belief in the power of markets, […]

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In ‘Winner Takes All’, Anand Giridharadas takes down philanthropy’s ‘MarketWorld’: Book Review

If you’ve ever been irked by the combination of arrogance, platitude, complacency and dismissiveness that often characterizes the private sector-aid complex (philanthropists, management consultants, foundations, impact investors and their groupies across the aid business), then this is the book for you. In Winner Takes All, Anand Giridharadas hangs out at their motivational talks and high […]

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How can Daniel Kahneman help organizations get better at Strategic Planning?

Oxfam is embarking on another round of strategic planning – a protracted process of research, debate and negotiation that sometimes make me wonder whether ‘INGO’ should really stand for ‘Interminable Navel-Gazing Ordeal’. Why the negativity? Partly because I worry that much of what is painfully agreed then sits on a virtual shelf until the next […]

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Naila Kabeer on Why Randomized Controlled Trials need to include Human Agency

Guest post and 20m interview with Naila Kabeer on her new paper There’s a buzz abroad in the development community around a new way to tackle extreme poverty. BRAC’s Targeting the Ultra Poor (TUP) programme combines asset transfers (usually livestock), cash stipends and intensive mentoring to women and families in extreme poverty in order to […]

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Feminism under siege: Maria Al Abdeh on the work of Women Now for Development in Syria, and the impact of Jo Cox

This is the first post of a new mini series on ‘Being a feminist in difficult places’. Recently I spent time with Maria Al Abdeh, Executive Director of Women Now for Development (WND), a Syrian feminist organization. She was in London to help launch the UK branch of Global Fund for Women, which helps fund […]

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The quest to measure South-South cooperation

Prof. Neissan A. Besharati serves as the Associate Director for Deloitte Development Africa, Strategy & Operations. He holds a Masters in International Social Development and a PhD in Public Policy & Development Management, with a focus on evaluating effectiveness of development interventions. This piece was written as part of a research project for Southern Voice’s […]

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How to Write About Africa: RIP Binyavanga Wainaina

Binyavanga Wainaina, the Kenyan writer, died last week, aged 48. Here is his brilliant, witheringly satirical piece ‘How to Write About Africa’, first published in Granta magazine in 2005. Always use the word ‘Africa’ or ‘Darkness’ or ‘Safari’ in your title. Subtitles may include the words ‘Zanzibar’, ‘Masai’, ‘Zulu’, ‘Zambezi’, ‘Congo’, ‘Nile’, ‘Big’, ‘Sky’, ‘Shadow’, […]

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On tackling ‘Development Effectiveness’ and the long journey ahead

Dr. Pauline Ngirumpatse is a researcher in international development affiliated to the ‘Réseau d’études des dynamiques transnationales et de l’action collective’ (Université de Montréal). This piece was written as part of a research project for Southern Voice’s Development Effectiveness Programme.  Making aid and development more effective has been a central aim of the development sector in the […]

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Adaptive rigour: bridging the art and science of adaptive management

Ben Ramalingam and Leni Wild share the thinking behind a new initiative to support adaptive management in aid. Adaptive management seems to be everywhere these days – and is one of the most popular topics on this blog. More and more, it is becoming seen as the best way to deal with a wide range of […]

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The UK’s new Development Minister, Rory Stewart, is a genuine intellectual – here’s a review of his book on Fragile States and the Failings of Western Intervention

Rory Stewart became the UK’s Secretary of State for International Development on Wednesday. We now have a minister with a genuine commitment to, and knowledge of, international development – for the last two years he has ducked out of his ministerial duties to come to speak to my LSE students. After his first lecture, I […]

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A rant about gender (and other) consultants and how we can avoid them

Guest rant from CARE International’s Elizabeth Cowan Ask a group of international development people about external consultants and the conversation that ensues resembles group therapy. Everyone has a story of pain and frustration, of feeling cheated, misunderstood and unsatisfied. Sometimes we cry. There was the external evaluator we paid $60,000 to tell us our project […]

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Six things INGOs need to fix to be fit for the future. Mark Goldring’s outgoing reflections

Guest post by my former boss Mark Goldring, first published in the March edition of Governance and Leadership Magazine. Mark was chief executive of Oxfam GB from 2013 until January 2019. This article is based on a talk given to Civil Society Media’s NGO Insight Conference in November 2018. My last year as chief executive of […]

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