Tag: learning

Simplicity, Accountability and Relationships: Three ways to ensure MEL supports Adaptive Management

Chris Roche, a mate and mentor in all things system-y, reflects on what sounds like a Filipino version of our recent Bologna workshop. The week before Duncan was slaving away in Bologna on adaptive management I was attending an Asia Foundation ‘practitioners’ forum’ in Manila.  The focus of the event was on Monitoring, Evaluation, and […]

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I’m helping run a summer school on Adaptive Management. In Bologna. Interested?

This could be a lot of fun, I’m working with two of the smartest minds in Oxfam: Irene Guijt (head of research) and Claire Hutchings (head of Programme Quality) to design and deliver a one week summer school course on ‘Adaptive Management:  Working Effectively in the Complexity of International Development’. Between us we are going […]

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The World Bank’s 2018 World Development Report on Education: a sceptic’s review

Guest post from Prachi Srivastava (@PrachiSrivas), Associate Professor in the area of education and international development at the University of Western Ontario. When the World Bank announced that the 2018 World Development Report (WDR) would be on education, I was sceptical. I’m not denying the Bank’s research expertise. It devotes substantial money and staff and […]

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What determines whether/how an organization can learn? Interesting discussion at DFID.

I was invited along to DFID last week for a discussion on how organizations learn. There was an impressive turnout of senior civil serpents – the issue has clearly got their attention. Which is great because I came away with the impression that they (and Oxfam for that matter) have a long way to go […]

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Overcoming Premature Evaluation

Chris Roche (the koala – I’m the kangaroo, right) is a friend and a brilliant development thinker, even if he has an alarming tendency to be able to reference development jargon like a machine gun. If you can get past the first para, this is well worth your time. There is a growing interest in safe-fail […]

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How do you do ‘Adaptive Programming’? Two examples of Practical Experience help with some of the answers

Helen Derbyshire (left) of SAVI and Elbereth Donovan (right) of LASER share some thoughts on what all the fuss is about. At a glance the two DFID programmes we work on are very different. SAVI (and its successor programme ECP) is a large scale, long-term initiative which focuses on citizens’ engagement in governance in Nigeria. LASER is […]

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Learning by un-doing: the magic of immersion

Varja Lipovsek of Twaweza, one of my favourite accountability NGOs, reflects on a recent staff immersion in a Ugandan village. It’s a bit too long, but just too nicely written to cut – sorry! Take a group of people that are used to talking about development while sitting in offices behind computers, going to meetings at ministries, […]

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Measuring the difficult stuff (empowerment, resilience) and learning from the results; where has Oxfam got to?

I’m not generally a big fan of measurement fetishism (too crude, too blind to complexity and systems thinking). When I used to (mis)manage the Oxfam research team and wanted a few thousand quid for some research grant, I had to list numbers of beneficiaries (men and women). As research is a global public good, I […]

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‘How DFID Learns’. Or doesn’t. UK aid watchdog gives it a ‘poor’ (but the rest of us would probably do worse)

The UK Department for International Development’s independent watchdog, the  Independent Commission for Aid Impact (ICAI), has a report out today on ‘how DFID learns’. Or doesn’t. Because the report is critical and gives DFID an overall ‘amber-red’ assessment, defined as ‘programme performs relatively poorly overall against ICAI’s criteria for effectiveness and value for money. Significant […]

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How do you measure the difficult stuff (empowerment, resilience) and whether any change is attributable to your role?

In one of his grumpier moments, Owen Barder recently branded me as ‘anti-data’, which (if you think about it for a minute) would be a bit weird foranyone working in the development sector. The real issue is of course, what kind of data tell you useful things about different kinds of programme, and how you […]

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