Topic: Aid

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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Doing the hard stuff in tough places: please help us find the ‘seemingly impossible’ stories of success

Guest post from Grace Lyn Higdon (left), Irene Guijt (right) and Ruth Mayne The list of reasons to feel depressed is long and growing. Recent elections ushering in sexist and violent heads of states; climate change even worse than predicted; backlash to #MeToo and, if you’re in the UK, the political swamp known as ‘Brexit’. Depressing – […]

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Why are we failing on gender? 3 bad excuses and 6 good ideas

March is women’s history month and Fabiola Esposito shares her reflections on the aid sector’s slow progress on women’s empowerment. Last week I went to a networking event for women working in international development about ‘women’s empowerment’ (WE) in Syria. During the Q&A one of the attendees asked an astonishing, but revealing, question: “Why do […]

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The hump counter attack! Jose Manuel Roche sets me straight on the global transition (or lack of it)

Quite a few people disagreed with aspects of my recent post shifts in the global distribution of income. José Manuel Roche, Head of Research for Save the Children UK, felt moved to respond. I enjoyed Duncan’s recent blog about the shift from a two hump to a one hump world. Who wouldn’t? So I’d like throw […]

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5 Emerging Lessons from new research into Empowerment and Accountability in Messy Places

A second instalment on the recent conversation with DFID’s Social Development Advisers (see here for first instalment). John Gaventa summarized the emerging lessons from the DFID-funded Action for Empowerment and Accountability research programme, which he coordinates. A4EA is trying to work out whether the stuff we know about E&A in more stable places is different […]

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