Tag: Aid

Are aid workers living a lie? And does it matter?

These are the questions posed by Rosalind Eyben in an intriguing new paper in the European Journal of Development Research (no ungated version, sorry). Ros, formerly of DFID and now attached to the Institute of Development Studies, knows the aid industry backwards and is struck by “the dissonance between what [aid workers] do and what they report […]

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Cash on Delivery – worth a try?

You’ve got to hand it to the policy entrepreneurs at the Center for Global Development – they sure know how to get new ideas onto the tables and into the minds of decision makers. One of their biggest and most interesting new(ish) ideas is ‘Cash on Delivery’ (CoD), and I’ve just been reading their new […]

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Should emergency relief be used to build mosques and churches?

Should Oxfam’s emergency relief money be used to build mosques? That was the fascinating question that cropped up in a recent internal discussion on faith and development. And it’s not a purely academic one. In Aceh after the 2004 Boxing Day tsunami, Oxfam said no to one request.  But two years later, after the big Java […]

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What is the impact of aid on overall health spending?

Fungibility makes aid complicated. Where does the money go? The Lancet has put the cat among the aid pigeons with its recent piece on the arcane, but important issue of ‘aid fungibility’. This claims that for every $1 given in health aid, the recipient government shifts between 43 cents and $1.14 of their own spending […]

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Do the MDGs influence national development policies?

Expect a lot of soul searching around the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) this year, in the run up to the UN high level event in September (see previous posts here and here). A recent issue of the IDS bulletin covered ‘The MDGs and Beyond’. The piece that caught my eye was an analysis of national Poverty […]

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Why the Today Programme leads to premature ageing

I feel terrible today, all thanks to the Today programme. For non-UK readers, it’s the flagship drivetime radio news show – the one that politicians and chattering classes listen to as they scan the newspapers and munch on their cornflakes. I was on this morning, talking about aid and corruption. What you heard on the […]

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Will this time be different? Financial crises and aid collapses over the last 30 years.

What impact do financial crises in rich countries have on their aid budgets? You would probably expect them to lead to a big bank bailout, producing a debt burden and a fiscal hangover, triggering bouts of cabinet infighting over public spending with aid coming off worst (after all, aid beneficiaries aren’t voters, at least in […]

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Some big development brains ask 'what's next?'

The Institute for Development Studies is a Good Thing. Located on the brutal 60s campus of the University of Sussex near Brighton, its gurus like Robert Chambers and Hans Singer have educated and inspired generations of Masters and PhD students, who then scattered to every corner of the aid industry and beyond (diplomats, politicians etc). […]

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Why Owen Barder is (mostly) wrong to oppose the Robin Hood Tax

Owen Barder has a thought-provoking post setting out his objections to a financial transactions tax (FTT) in response to the launch of the Robin Hood Tax campaign. I’ll run through the areas where we disagree, then where we agree, and finally the areas where I am still sitting painfully on the fence. Where we disagree: […]

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Why militarizing aid in Afghanistan is a bad idea

Along with several other international NGOs working in Afghanistan, Oxfam last week published a powerful paper on the damage being caused by the militarization of aid. In many ways it resembles the debate on how to ensure that Haitian reconstruction builds, rather than undermines, its battered state. In the last half hour, one Afghan woman […]

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Hillary Clinton on development: aid, agriculture, health and women

Hillary Clinton gave a big speech at the CGD development thinktank on Wednesday. Here are some of the things that jumped out for me: Strategic importance of development policy: ‘Development was once the province of humanitarians, charities, and governments looking to gain allies in global struggles. Today it is a strategic, economic, and moral imperative […]

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Can we improve aid through evolution rather than planning?

Finally got round to reading ‘Beyond Planning’ Owen Barder’s CGD paper on aid reform. Owen’s a former DFID bigwig turned Ethiopia-based consultant and blogger. Here he writes like a true economist, which can be pretty heavy going, but the paper is worth persevering with. He can also write like a human being, for example in […]

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