Tag: Aid

Who wants to be a Volunteer? Book Review

An estimated 10 million people will head from North to South this year as volunteers, seeking a mix of adventure, altruism and self improvement. Volunteering is big (a $2bn industry), but is it beautiful? Learning Service: The Essential Guide to Volunteering Abroad, a 350 page tome aimed at informing and guiding would-be volunteers, left me […]

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Payment by Results: what is the Evidence from the First Decade?

Paul Clist, who actually seems to enjoy reading project documents, introduces his new paper on Payment by Results, a popular new aid mechanism (see also his 2016 post on the same topic). In a new paper, I argue that despite its public support for the idea, DFID hasn’t really tried Payment by Results, at least […]

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Is Flying the new Smoking? If so, should aid workers stop flying?

Guest post from Dorothea Hilhorst of the International Institute of Social Studies of Erasmus University. She suggested this just after I had got off a plane to Mexico, so I figured I had to publish it…. Update: this post has generated so much interest that we’ve put up an opinion poll here – please complete […]

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How Aid has helped Pakistan’s Women’s Movement achieve Political Breakthroughs

Guest post from Ayesha Khan of the Collective for Social Science Research in Karachi Do aid dollars help or hinder the women’s movement? In Pakistan, there are advocates of both points of view. I believe that my recent research as part of the Action for Empowerment and Accountability (A4EA) programme has gathered enough evidence to […]

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Whither Large International Non-Governmental Organisations? Smart new paper.

I’m glad to see Penny Lawrence, an Oxfam big cheese for 12 years before she resigned so publicly last February, has been busy reflecting and talking to other leaders (and me) about how large lumbering INGOs need to change. She has put together a useful paper on the topic (a source of endless fascination to INGOs, […]

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Which Devspeak horror words topped the poll + some v interesting comment threads

It was only intended as a bit of Friday fun, but last week’s post on which devspeak words you would most like to ban generated such interesting comments that it warrants a follow up. First up, the people have spoken. After 500 votes, ‘beneficiaries’ and ‘the field’ are the clear joint winners in the hall […]

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Nostalgia, fragility, age and management consultants: 4 Scandinavian conversations

A couple of weeks ago, I spent a day in Sigtuna, a lovely lakeside town just outside Stockholm, doing my usual blue sky/future of aid thing with big cheeses from the 5 Scandinavian protestant church agencies of the ACT Alliance. The ensuing conversations were full of lightbulb moments, including these four: Nostalgia as a political […]

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What matters more in a disaster response – evidence or judgement? Lessons from the Nepal earthquake  

This guest post from Ajoy Datta was first published on the On Think Tanks blog. Ajoy also works for OTT Imagine you’re a mid-level policymaker in a government agency or a manager in an NGO. A major incident has just occurred. You have to drop everything you’re doing and shift all your attention into understanding […]

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What would a feminist approach to localisation of humanitarian action look like?

Guest post from Francesca Rhodes, Oxfam’s Gender Policy Adviser on campaigns, policy and influencing The aid sector’s sexual exploitation and abuse crisis  put into stark spotlight the unequal power dynamics between humanitarian actors and communities they work in, and the injustices this can cause. Discussions on what a humanitarian system, and Oxfam itself, would look […]

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The evidence suggests that support for UK development NGOs is actually growing

According to Dan Brockington and Nicola Banks, the evidence suggests that the demise of UK aid is greatly exaggerated. They want to know if they’ve missed something… International development NGOs are facing interesting times in the UK. We live in a rising tide of nationalism, parochialism and suspicion of, not care for, distant strangers. Austerity measures make […]

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How does DFID work with non-state power holders (armed groups, faith organizations, traditional chiefs) in messy places? Interview with Wilf Mwamba

One of the highlights of the recent conference on accountability and empowerment in fragile/conflict states (see Friday’s post) was hanging out with a true ‘development entrepreneur’, Wilf Mwamba. Wilf is a rising star in DFID, set up some of the most interesting ‘adaptive management’ programmes in Nigeria, and has been in the DRC for the […]

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What did I learn from 2 days of intense discussions on empowerment and accountability in messy places?

I wish I was one of those people who can sit zen-like through a two day conference, smiling and constructive throughout. Instead I fear I come across as slightly unhinged – fidgety; big mood swings as I get excited, irritated or bored in rapid succession. The most recent example of my failings was a two […]

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