Topic: Aid

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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Will aid help or undermine Mindanao’s new start? Scott Guggenheim is worried.

Community Development guru Scott Guggenheim emailed some provocative thoughts on my piece last week on Mindanao, with much wider relevance to the localization debate, so I asked him to turn it into a blog.   I like your piece but I’m a bit longer in the tooth than you and so slightly less optimistic. You […]

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INGOs and aid’s Middle Income Country trap – what are the options?

Oxfam country directors face an unenviable task – juggling the daily management bureaucracy of the aid sector with the need to keep their eyes on the prize and think about strategy. Luckily, they are also some of the smartest, most politically savvy people in the organization. Here is a 16 minute segment of Philippines country […]

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Links I Liked

Thanks FT for this chart of toppling despots after the ouster of Sudan’s president Omar al-Bashir. In the Arab Spring 2.0 (Sudan and Algeria, so far), the military jump in to forestall a revolution, toppling dictators when popular pressure becomes overwhelming. But what comes next? Recent precedents (Egypt, Thailand) are hardly encouraging. Cross country comparisons […]

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The new head of the UK’s aid watchdog wants your advice on its workplan – can you help?

Guest post by Dr Tamsyn Barton, ICAI Chief Commissioner Imagine this: you are in charge of scrutinising all UK aid spending by the government. Of giving public and Parliament assurance about how a perennially controversial £14.5bn budget is spent. You want to ensure your findings are taken seriously by government departments and people with the […]

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Who you Gonna Call? Engaging ‘Public Authorities’ for Rapid Crisis Responses

I’m doing some interesting work with Tom Kirk at LSE as part of the CPAID research programme, on the way donors/aid agencies understand power (aka ‘public authority’) in fragile/conflict settings. As seems to be the way in academia, Tom does all the work, and I get to add my name to the result – what’s […]

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Don’t get the hump, but what really changed on global income, and what didn’t?

I was wondering when that phrase would appear…..  Andy Sumner & Kathleen Craig of the King’s Department of International Development continue the humpology debate. Duncan’s blog on the global hump and Jose Manuel Roche’s reply raise the question of what has actually changed and what hasn’t. Here’s (yet) another take and in an attempt to be […]

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