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Can INGOs really separate power from money?

June 29, 2022
Oxfam’s Amy Croome explores a tricky issue for aid organizations like Oxfam At the Grand Bargain Meeting this week, signatories will reflect on the role of the intermediary, which has been the focus of a political-level multi stakeholder caucus, building on the Humanitarian Advisory Group’s research. Is Oxfam ‘just’ a donor? Localization advocates have been pushing for years for humanitarian
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Latin America in turmoil, an update

June 29, 2022
Throughout the 1980s and 90s I was a ‘Latin Americanist’, living and travelling in the region, writing about it first as a journalist, then as a writer of region-wide books on the rise of market economics, child rights or, well, everything. Most of what I’ve thought and done since then has been shaped by those years, but living in the
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Links I Liked

June 28, 2022
Gloria Steinem’s memoir. Dark days. ht Lucy Prebble. The People vs Inequality podcast joined forces with Oxfam for a miniseries highlighting four inspiring stories from the ‘Emergent Agency in a Time of COVID-19’ project. All the episodes here I’ll have what he’s having. ht Uncle Duke Max Lawson responds to Noah Smith’s recent criticisms of Oxfam’s numbers on poverty in
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Why We Fight: This Year’s Big Book on Development?

June 24, 2022
Why We Fight, by Chris Blattman, a prof at the University of Chicago, is shaping up to be this year’s Big Book – it’s everywhere on my timeline, the FT book of the summer etc etc. A summary and some thoughts. Usually I decide early on if I like a book or not, on the basis of a) does it
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“We have already spent everything we had in our own wallets”: How international aid is failing Ukrainian responders – and what to do about it

June 22, 2022
Abby Stoddard, Paul Harvey and Tonia Thomas present new research from Humanitarian Outcomes, supported by the UK Humanitarian Innovation Hub (UKHIH). Full report here. Over 100 days have passed since the Russian invasion of Ukraine sparked a massive humanitarian crisis along with an outpouring of international generosity in the form of aid contributions. So why are international organisations still sitting
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Is behavioural economics (aka nudge theory) blocking the path to progress?

June 14, 2022
There’s been an upsurge in recent decades in tackling problems by trying to change the behaviour of individuals – behavioural economics, nudge theory and a proliferation of government ‘nudge units’. Now two disillusioned proponents, Nick Chater and George Loewenstein, have written an important critique of the whole thing, contrasting what they call the ‘i (individual) frame’ with the ‘s (system)
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Links I Liked

June 13, 2022
Brief history of physics ht @sunny and Richard C. Some interesting stuff on aid this week: ‘If you look at the bigger picture of change, aid has been close to irrelevant’. Stefan Dercon rattling cages about his new book. But surely aid still matters for things other than ‘big picture’ growth, like helping in crises, showing solidarity, reducing inequality, supporting
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Development Nutshell: round-up (20m) of FP2P posts, w/b 6th June

June 11, 2022
No excerpt
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(Re)making the case for adaptive management part 2: What to read? What Constitutes Evidence? Where are the Gaps?

June 10, 2022
Tom Aston continues yesterday’s summary of what we know about adaptive management There are many papers which make a convincing case for adaptive programming. Here’s my top 5: Escaping capability traps through problem-driven iterative adaptation (Andrews, Pritchett, and Woolcock, 2012) Getting real about politics: from thinking politically to working differently (Rocha Menocal, 2014) Development entrepreneurship: how donors and leaders can foster institutional change (Faustino and
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(Re)making the case for adaptive management

June 9, 2022
Following yesterday’s reflection on the MEL of working in complex systems, Tom Aston provides a great overview of what to read on adaptive management. It’s a long one, so I’ve split it into two – second installment tomorrow. Christian Aid Ireland’s recent publication The Difference Learning Makes by Stephen Gray and Andy Carl made a bit of a splash. The study found that Christian
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Rethinking monitoring, evaluation and learning in complex systems

June 8, 2022
Two interesting recent posts on Adaptive Management, complexity etc, which the authors have kindly allowed me to repost here. First up is Søren Vester Haldrup, from UNDP’s Strategic Innovation Unit, wrestling with the issue of measurement and learning. Original post here. Tomorrow Tom Aston provides a great overview of where we’ve got to on adaptive management. Two years ago, we launched a
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Links I Liked

June 7, 2022
From our local Jubilee street party. Neat (if unintended) summary of state of union, monarchy, hangovers…. What if Putin’s true goals are different? Branko Milanovic wonders if the West is playing into Putin’s hands, by building a ‘new iron curtain’. A country-by-country guide to worsening drought in the Horn of Africa. (Actually, drought + war, as several people pointed out)
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