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A Bad Day for ‘Global Britain’

June 17, 2020
Don’t get me wrong, I’m a big fan of Marcus Rashford’s campaign to get an extension of free school meal vouchers for 1.3m kids during the summer holiday. And I’m glad he got the UK government to reverse its position. But what does it say about that government when, on the same day it performed a U-turn on welfare policy

How to stop the Foreign Office gobbling up DFID?

January 8, 2020
File under ‘sounds boring, but is really important’: sources inside the UK Department for International Development (DFID) recently told the Guardian that they fully expect the department to be merged with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) after Brexit (end of this month), as part of a wider effort to slim down government and in line with the Prime Minister’s
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What have we learned from a close look at 3 DFID Adaptive Management programmes?

July 4, 2019
Adaptive Management week part 3 (with some trepidation given the recent comments from Heather Marquette et al about the proliferation of flakey case studies in lieu of evidence)…. My paper with Angela Christie summarizing our 3 case studies of big DFID-funded Adaptive Management projects in Myanmar, Tanzania and Nigeria is now online. Every word in its 26 pages is golden,

The UK’s new Development Minister, Rory Stewart, is a genuine intellectual – here’s a review of his book on Fragile States and the Failings of Western Intervention

May 3, 2019
Rory Stewart became the UK’s Secretary of State for International Development on Wednesday. We now have a minister with a genuine commitment to, and knowledge of, international development – for the last two years he has ducked out of his ministerial duties to come to speak to my LSE students. After his first lecture, I reviewed his book on fragile

The new head of the UK’s aid watchdog wants your advice on its workplan – can you help?

April 11, 2019
Guest post by Dr Tamsyn Barton, ICAI Chief Commissioner Imagine this: you are in charge of scrutinising all UK aid spending by the government. Of giving public and Parliament assurance about how a perennially controversial £14.5bn budget is spent. You want to ensure your findings are taken seriously by government departments and people with the power to make changes to

6 ways to rethink aid for real, complex human beings

March 14, 2019
Last week I went along to the annual conference of DFID’s Social Development Advisers (SDAs – DFID has lots of acronyms). As well as giving them an initial picture of what the ‘Action for Empowerment and Accountability’ research programme is finding out about DFID’s adaptive management programmes, they asked me for a pre-dinner rant about what they should be thinking

Thinking and Working Politically in Economic Development Programmes – Some Sprints and Stumbles from a DFID Programme in Kyrgyzstan

February 6, 2019
Guest post by Andrew Koleros, Programme Director with Palladium, and David Rinnert, Deputy Head of Office and Governance Adviser with the UK Department for International Development’s (DFID) Central Asia Office. The views expressed in this blog do not necessarily reflect the UK government’s official policies or Palladium’s views. In November 2018 the FP2P blog posted a couple of instalments (here

Payment by Results: what is the Evidence from the First Decade?

October 30, 2018
Paul Clist, who actually seems to enjoy reading project documents, introduces his new paper on Payment by Results, a popular new aid mechanism (see also his 2016 post on the same topic). In a new paper, I argue that despite its public support for the idea, DFID hasn’t really tried Payment by Results, at least not in the way its

How does DFID work with non-state power holders (armed groups, faith organizations, traditional chiefs) in messy places? Interview with Wilf Mwamba

July 31, 2018
One of the highlights of the recent conference on accountability and empowerment in fragile/conflict states (see Friday’s post) was hanging out with a true ‘development entrepreneur’, Wilf Mwamba. Wilf is a rising star in DFID, set up some of the most interesting ‘adaptive management’ programmes in Nigeria, and has been in the DRC for the last 18 months, as Team

Value for money in UK aid: the good, the bad and the ugly

May 11, 2018
Cathy Shutt (left, on vintage phone) and Craig Valters unsugar a recent pill on DFID’s approach to Value for Money All aid programmes should be good ‘Value for Money’ – hard to argue with that, right? 8 years ago, DFID put this principle at the heart of its work. Here we reflect on a recent report by the UK aid watchdog,

If you want to persuade decision makers to use evidence, does capacity building help?

May 4, 2018
This guest post comes from Isabel Vogel (independent consultant, left) and Mel Punton (Itad) Billions of pounds of development assistance is being channelled into research and science, with the assumption that this will help tackle global problems. But in many countries, decision makers don’t turn to evidence as their first port of call when developing policies that affect people’s lives.

How is evidence actually used in policy-making? A new framework from a global DFID programme

November 1, 2017
Guest post from David Rinnert (@DRinnert) and Liz Brower (@liz_brower1), both of DFID Over the last decade there has been significant investment in high-quality, policy-relevant research and evidence focussed on poverty reduction. For example, the American Economic Association’s registry for randomised controlled trials currently lists 1,294 studies in 106 countries, many of which have yielded insights directly relevant to the