Why aren’t ‘Diaries of the Poor’ a standard research tool?

I’ve been having lots of buzzy conversations about diaries recently. Not my own (haven’t done that since I was a teenager), but diaries as a research method. The initial idea came from one of my all-time favourite bits of bottom-up research, the book Portfolios of the Poor. Here are the relevant paras from my review:…

By Duncan Green November 2, 2016 12

Please help sharpen up the World Bank’s theory of change on governance and law

The World Bank is helping us hone our speed reading skills this week, by publishing a draft of its forthcoming World Development Report 2017 on Governance and the Law and asking for comments by Friday. Someone has helpfully put a track changes version online here, comparing the new (‘green cover’) draft with the previous (‘yellow…

By Duncan Green September 14, 2016 7

If politics is the problem, how can external actors be part of the solution? New World Bank paper

The new paper comes from Shanta Devarajan, the Bank’s Chief Economist for the Middle East and North Africa Region, (recently drafted in to help get the WDR to the finishing line) and Stuti Khemani, Senior Economist at its Development Research Group. The World Bank seems currently to be awash with fascinating reflections and rethinking on…

By Duncan Green August 2, 2016 9

The World Bank is having a big internal debate about Power and Governance. Here’s why it matters.

Writing flagship publications in large institutions is a tough job. Everyone wants a piece, as different currents of opinion, ideology or interest slug it out over red lines and key messages. Trying (and failing) to write one for Oxfam once put me in hospital. So no surprise that the flagship of flagships, the World Bank’s…

By Duncan Green July 26, 2016 4

When/Why do countries improve the management of their natural resources? New 4 country study

Now I love Oxfam dearly but (you were expecting a ‘but’, right?) both as producers and consumers, we suffer from TL; DR syndrome (too long; didn’t read). Not only that but we don’t always make the most of executive summaries. Which is a shame, because some real gems often go unnoticed as a result. So…

By Duncan Green May 24, 2016 0

Should aid fight corruption? New book questions logic behind this week’s anti-corruption summit

Over at the Center for Global Development, Charles Kenny wants comments on the draft of his book on Aid and Corruption (deadline end of May). Let’s hope this becomes standard practice – it worked brilliantly for me on How Change Happens – more varied voices can chip in good new ideas, spot mistakes or contradictions, and…

By Duncan Green May 10, 2016 6

What can historical success teach us about tackling sanitation and hygiene?

Ooh good, another ‘lessons of history’ research piece. Check out the excellent new WaterAid report: Achieving total sanitation and hygiene coverage within a generation – lessons from East Asia. The paper summarizes the findings of four country case studies: Singapore, South Korea, Malaysia and Thailand, all of which produced ‘rapid and remarkable results in delivering…

By Duncan Green April 1, 2016 3

The art of delivery – lessons from working with African governments

Dan Hymowitz (@dhymowit), Acting Director of Development and External Relations for the Africa Governance Initiative (AGI), reflects on what they’re learning about the development trend of ‘delivery’. I remember the first time I started to think seriously about delivery: it was just over five years ago sitting in a conference room in Liberia. At the…

By Duncan Green March 2, 2016 0

Trying to promote reform in fragile and conflict states: some lessons from success and failure

Reading the ODI’s prodigious output is starting to feel like a full time job. A lot of it is really top quality, even if their choice of titles is sometimes a bit bland. One example is ‘Change in Challenging Contexts’, a name that doesn’t exactly set the pulse racing – a shame, as it’s a…

By Duncan Green February 25, 2016 0