If you’re interested in more or less anything to do with Africa, check out ‘The Week in Africa’, an extraordinarily comprehensive round up of links by weekly email, put together by Jeff (American) and Phil (Zimbabwean) and hosted by the University of San Francicso. Sign up here. Here’s this week’s bulletin: QUOTE OF THE WEEK “We have never seen such devastation. Not even in our …Continue reading
Spent a fascinating two days at IDS last week taking stock of year one of a 5 year research programme: Action for Empowerment and Accountability (A4EA). The aim is to understand how social and political action takes place in ‘Fragile, Conflict, Violence Affected Settings’ (FCVS) and the implications for ‘external actors’ (donors, INGOs etc, but the term always makes me think of Hollywood). The research …Continue reading
Guest post from Dhananjayan Sriskandarajah, Secretary General of CIVICUS. He can be found on social media@civicussg Civil society is facing a sustained, multi-faceted, global onslaught. According to the CIVICUS Monitor, fundamental civic freedoms are being severely restricted in an unprecedented number of countries. The operating environment for civil society organisations is becoming more hostile across the world and many of us in the organised bits of …Continue reading
Just been browsing a new OECD book on what complexity and systems thinking mean for policy-making. It consists of ‘a compilation of contributions from a series of seminars and workshops on complexity issues over the past two years. It reflects the combined wisdom and perspectives of an internal and external network of researchers, academics and policymakers.’ The pieces are short (couple of pages each) and come …Continue reading
I wrote a gloomy piece on the state of humanitarianism recently, and got put straight by some excellent comments from Ed Cairns, Paul Harvey and others. Here’s a particularly erudite rebuttal from humanitarian guru Hugo Slim, who (among other things) is Head of Policy at the International Committee of the Red Cross. (I’ve added a few links): Welcome to our world, Duncan. I’m glad you …Continue reading
The conference on ‘Protracted Conflict, Aid and Development’ that I wrote about on Friday was funded by the Global Challenges Research Fund, a massive (£1.5bn) UK research programme that is funding, among other things, the LSE’s new Centre for Public Authority and International Development, where I’ll be putting in a day a week over the next few years. Not surprising, therefore, that the topic of …Continue reading
Spent two days this week discussing ‘Protracted Conflict, Aid and Development’. I was very much a fish out of water – the conference was mainly for humanitarian and conflict types, whereas I am a long-term development wallah trying to get my head round these other disciplines as part of my new role at the LSE’s Centre for Public Authority and International Development. And it really …Continue reading
Took part in a really interesting discussion about the role of the IMF in fragile states last week. Chatham House rule, so no names, no institutions. The Fund works in fragile states in 3 main ways – it lends money to governments, it trains officials and it tracks and reports on government economic performance (‘surveillance’). Although its lending is often not big compared to other …Continue reading
Local thinktanks are natural allies in ‘Doing Development Differently’ so why not support them better?
Just been reading a rather good paper by Guy Lodge and Will Paxton making the case for supporting thinktanks in developing countries. They’ve been doing just that for several years, building on their experience in the UK at IPPR and No. 10 Downing Street respectively, hence the paper. They both now work at Kivu International. The starting point is that thinktanks are natural allies in …Continue reading
The new Gates Foundation aid report: great at human stories; but where’s the power, politics and mess?
I’ve been reading the new Gates Foundation report, The Stories Behind the Data (lots of jazzy webstuff and graphs of bad stuff going down here – and if you dig hard enough, you can even find a good old-fashioned report to read here). On one level it is exemplary, setting out both an optimistic story of progress, and a warning that this could all be in jeopardy, not …Continue reading