Tag: Aid

Book Review: The Aid Lab: Understanding Bangladesh’s Unexpected Success, by Naomi Hossain

Over the summer I read a few absolutely brilliant books – hence the spate of book reviews. This week I will cover two new studies on development’s biggest recent success stories – China, but first Bangladesh. How did Bangladesh go from being a ‘basket case’ (though ‘not necessarily our basket case’ – Henry Kissinger, 1971) […]

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DFID is 20 years old: has its results agenda gone too far?

DFID just turned 20 and Craig Valters (right) and Brendan Whitty (left) have a new paper charting its changing relationship to results  Focusing on results in international development is crucial. At this level of abstraction, how could one argue otherwise? Yet it matters how development agencies are managed for these results. We know that with proper management systems, […]

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Capacity development is hard to do – but it’s possible to do it well

Lisa Denney’s gloomy take on the state of capacity building in the aid industry prompted quite a few comments and offers of blog posts, including this from Jon Harle of INASP, on organization that ‘strengthens the capacity of individuals and institutions to produce, share and use research and knowledge, in support of national development.’ Lisa […]

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NBA Superteams and Inclusive Growth: Doing Private Sector Development Differently

Guest post from Kartik Akileswaran of the Tony Blair Institute for Global Change (which is what the Africa Governance Initiative now calls itself) For as long as I can remember, National Basketball Association (NBA) fans, analysts, and team owners have worried that the dominance of a few teams would hold back the league. Many have advocated for […]

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Aidspeak: some of your best/worst responses to my call for examples

Well you took a few hours to get started in response to Tuesday’s post, but then the floodgates opened and an avalanche of bullshit crashed over me via blog comments and tweets (and yes, mixed metaphors were discussed). Cheers guys. Within the aid business, a few patterns appear: Management obfuscation which sheds almost no light […]

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What do you do, when you don’t know what to do? Careers advice for the confused.

A colleague was recently waxing eloquent about George Monbiot’s advice to aspiring journalists (he gets so many enquiries that he’s written it up). It’s nicely written, as you’d expect, and basically urges young would-be Georges to follow their stars rather than money or security. Don’t go and do something you hate (eg write press releases […]

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The 8 rules of Corporate Bullsh*t: now for the aidspeak version

I recently tweeted a link to a truly wonderful piece by the FT’s Lucy Kellaway, How I lost my 25-year battle against corporate claptrap, and a couple of people demanded an aidspeak version. Where better to turn than the FP2P hivemind? Her 8 rules are: Never use a short word when a long one will […]

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How can the Anti-Corruption Movement sharpen up its act?

Spent a day earlier this week in a posh, but anonymous (Chatham House Rule) Central London location, discussing the state of the global anti-corruption movement with some of its leaders. The meeting took place in a posh, very high ceilinged room, under the stern gaze of giant portraits of assorted kings, aristos and philosophers. I […]

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The Case for a ‘Slow and Steady’ Approach to Capacity Building

In response to Lisa Denney’s piece last week on the low quality of much capacity building work in the aid biz, several people got in touch to say ‘but we do it better’. Here’s one example – a guest post from Arjan de Haan and Olivia Tran, from one of my favourite organizations, IDRC (see […]

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How Does the Aid System need to Change? Reflections from the OECD’s new aid boss

Charlotte Petri Gornitzka took over as chair of the OECD’s Development Assistance Committee last October, and from her new vantage point, reflects on the necessary evolution of the aid system For the aid system, the SDGs call for transformation rather than “business as usual”. Everybody is talking the talk but how ready and willing are […]

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$15bn is spent every year on training, with disappointing results. Why the aid industry needs to rethink ‘capacity building’.

Guest post from Lisa Denney of ODI Every year a quarter of international aid – approximately US$15 billion globally – is spent on capacity development. That is, on sending technical assistants to work in ministries or civil society, running training programmes, conducting study tours or exchanges, or supplying resources and equipment to help organisations function […]

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What is really going on within ‘shrinking civil society space’ and how should international actors respond?

Good conversation (Chatham House Rule) last week on the global crackdown on civil society organizations (CSOs) and what to do about it. I was expecting a fairly standard ‘it’s all terrible; international NGOs must take action, speak truth to power etc’ discussion, but it was actually much more interesting and nuanced than that. While it […]

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