Tag: Aid

Why rethinking how we work on market systems and the private sector is really hard

Whatever your ideological biases about ‘the private sector’ (often weirdly conflated with transnational corporations in NGO-land), markets really matter to poor people (feeding families, earning a living, that kind of thing).  But ‘making markets work for the poor’ turns out to be really difficult and, just as with attempts to tackle corruption or improve institutions, […]

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Why election politics don’t work as well for the environment as they do for international development

Guest post from Matthew Spencer, who crossed over from the environment sector recently to become Oxfam’s Director of Campaigns and Policy  Before the end of the first week of the UK election campaign, to widespread surprise, Theresa May agreed to the development sector’s main demand to maintain our 0.7% overseas aid commitment. In contrast, the […]

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Blockchain for Development: A Handy Bluffers’ Guide

Top tip: if you’re in a meeting discussing anything to do with finance, at some point look wise and say ‘you do realize, blockchain is likely to change everything.’ Of course, there is always a terrifying chance that someone will ask what you actually mean. Worry not, because IDS has produced a handy bluffer’s guide […]

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How far has DFID got in implementing ‘Doing Development Differently’ ideas on the ground?

I’ve been banging on about the ‘Doing Development Differently’ movement for a few years now. Initially driven by big bilateral donors frustrated with the failure rate of old school project approaches, especially in trying to ‘build states’ and reform governments , DDD advocates ‘politically smart and locally led’ approaches, avoiding cookie cutter ‘best practice’, while […]

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Improving collaboration between practitioners and academics: what to do? (with a little help from Einstein)

Previous posts in this 3 part series explored the obstacles to INGO-academic collaboration, and the lessons of systems thinking. This final post suggests some ways forward (with some sarcastic asides from Einstein) Based on all of the above, a number of ideas emerge for consideration by academics, INGOs and funders of research. Suggestions for academics […]

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Could New Zealand become the Norway of the South on aid and diplomacy?

Spent last week in New Zealand, involved in some fascinating, if jetlag-bleary, conversations with both Oxfam and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT), which manages NZ’s US$400m aid budget. What emerged was that both Oxfam NZ and MFAT have what it takes to become ‘innovation hubs’ within their respective sectors. That means they […]

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So is ‘Doing Development Differently’ a movement now? And if so, where’s it going?

Guest post by Graham Teskey, Principal Global Lead for Governance, Abt JTA, Australia and all round aid guru The fourth meeting of the ‘Doing Development Differently’ movement (as one of its founders, Michael Woolcock, calls it) was held over two days in Jakarta a couple of weeks ago. Jointly hosted by the Government of Indonesia, […]

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A new case must be made for aid. It rests on three legs.

Guest post from aid guru Simon Maxwell Is the tide turning on aid? Famine in Africa has rekindled both media and public support.  By 20th March, the UK’s Disasters Emergency Committee had raised £24m from the public in only six days for its East Africa Crisis appeal. Red Nose Day on 24th March provided another […]

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On Populism, Nationalism, Babies and Bathwater

A couple of Oxfamers were over from the US recently so ODI kindly pulled together a seriously stimulating conversation about life, theuniverse and everything. More specifically, how should ‘we’ – the aid community broadly defined – respond to the rising tide of nationalism, populism, and attacks on aid. It was Chatham House rules, so I’ve […]

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Is the Anti-Politics machine still a good critique of the aid business?

Just been re-reading a great 6 page summary of James Ferguson’s 1994 classic critique of the aid industry, The Anti-Politics Machine. Read this and ask yourself, apart from the grating use of the term ‘Third World’, how much has changed? ‘Any question of the form ‘what is to be done?’ demands first of all an […]

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How bad is my filter bubble problem? Please help me find out

In an idle moment over the Christmas break, I decided to run a twitter poll to assess the extent of my filter bubble. For any of you who’ve been on a different planet for the last few months, that’s the social media phenomenon whereby you like/follow/read only those sources that broadly agree with you, creating […]

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How do we choose the most promising theory of change? Building on the context-intervention 2×2

One of the slides from my standard HCH presentation that resonated most during the many conversations and book launches in the US was the 2×2 on which kinds of interventions are compatible with different contexts. I first blogged about this a year ago, when the 2×2 emerged during a workshop of aid wonks, but the […]

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