Topic: Aid

What’s the role of Aid in Fragile States? My piece for OECD

The OECD’s ‘States of Fragility’ report was published yesterday. It’s a 260 page monster, so I haven’t got round even to skimming it yet. Will report back on the interesting bits, but in the meantime here is the piece I contributed, on fragility and aid. If aid is primarily aimed at reducing extreme poverty and […]

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The last word in the Community Driven Development wonkwar? Scott Guggenheim responds to Howard White and Radhika Menon

The discussion on Community Driven Development (CDD) has been passionate, at times angry, and has surfaced some important common ground as well as differences. Here Scott Guggenheim (right) responds to yesterday’s post, in what he hopes is the final exchange (people can always continue in the comments section). To recap for those who are arriving new […]

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Community Driven Development: Howard White and Radhika Menon respond to Scott Guggenheim

Howard White and Radhika Menon respond to Scott Guggenheim’s recent post on Community Driven Development Evaluations have two functions: lesson learning and accountability. We believe that our report on community-driven development offers useful lessons for programme managers, practitioners and researchers. Despite posting a blog response to earlier comments, a critical backlash continues. This is disappointing […]

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Adaptive Management: the trade offs; how to build trust; the sources of resistance and how to counter them

Not sure if you can take any more posts on Adaptive Management, but I had an interesting conversation with Stephen Gray on AM and Peacebuilding, which he may be using for a podcast. A few lightbulb moments: Things we often assume go together, but they actually don’t. Two candidates: Results v Risk: There is a […]

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Book Review: Navigation by Judgment, by Dan Honig

As its subtitle, ‘Why and When Top-Down Management of Foreign Aid Doesn’t Work’, suggests, this is an addition to the growing library of books on aid reform. And a very useful one. Honig is a hybrid scholar-practitioner, with dirt under his fingernails in East Timor and Liberia, and the book is for aid insiders, whether […]

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Internal battles within partner governments are what determine change. That has big implications for aid.

Alan Whaites argues that aid workers should abandon their blueprints and focus instead on understanding internal reform battles within governments and trying to help those fighting poverty from within. Recently a line stuck in my mind from one of Duncan’s recent posts about adaptive programmes with developing country partners: `if you introduce donors into that […]

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Simplicity, Accountability and Relationships: Three ways to ensure MEL supports Adaptive Management

Chris Roche, a mate and mentor in all things system-y, reflects on what sounds like a Filipino version of our recent Bologna workshop. The week before Duncan was slaving away in Bologna on adaptive management I was attending an Asia Foundation ‘practitioners’ forum’ in Manila.  The focus of the event was on Monitoring, Evaluation, and […]

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Are Missionaries naturally suited to ‘Doing Development Differently’ and Advocacy?

Missionaries get a bad press in development circles, often caricatured as the cultural and spiritual shock troops of colonialism and imperialism. I’m sure there has sometimes been truth in that, but talking to a roomful of them in Dublin earlier this week, at the annual meeting of Misean Cara (a membership network for missionary organizations) […]

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Seven Rules of Thumb for Adaptive Management – what do you think?

Adaptive Management (aka Doing Development Differently, Thinking and Working Politically) seems to be flavour of the month, at least in my weird bubble of a world, so the next week is going to feature a series of posts on different aspects of what looks like a pretty important ‘movement’ First up, at one of the […]

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Scott Guggenheim defends Community Driven Development

Scott Guggenheim, one of the better known names in Community Driven Development (CDD), comes out with a take-no-prisoners critique of the critique of CDD by 3ie (apologies for acronym overload), featured in my recent post. It’s long, but I just couldn’t find places to cut it. Duncan obviously thrives on controversy, so he’s asked me […]

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The lure of the complicated: systems thinking, data and the need to stay complex

Sometimes messy, frustrating conversations are the most productive – as you wrestle with confusion, small lightbulbs flash on in your head – either insights or the onset of a migraine. Earlier this week I spent an afternoon at the Gates Foundation in London, discussing what systems diagnostics can offer to groups like the World Bank, […]

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What did I learn from a week discussing Adaptive Management and MEL?

Just got back from an extraordinarily intense week in Bologna, running (with Claire Hutchings and Irene Guijt) a course on ‘Adaptive Management: Working Effectively in the Complexity of International Development’. The 30 participants mainly came from NGOs and non-profits, but with a smattering of government officials and consultants. What made the discussion different from previous […]

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