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How does Coalitions for Change in the Philippines Compare with other Adaptive Management Programmes?

September 11, 2019
Following on yesterday’s podcast + transcript about the work of the Coalitions for Change (CfC) programme in the Philippines, I thought I’d compare it to the 3 Adaptive Management programmes I’ve also been studying in Tanzania, Nigeria and Myanmar. Let’s take context first, and then think about the nuts and bolts of the different programmes. 2 issues on Context: MICs
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Podcast: Thinking and Working Politically in a Pioneering Programme in the Philippines

September 10, 2019
Earlier this year I spent a fascinating week in the Philippines with the Coalitions for Change programme, one of the pioneers of ‘Thinking and Working Politically’ in the aid sector. CfC is run by The Asia Foundation and funded by the Australian Government. It ‘focuses on key policy reforms to improve lives of Filipinos and promote their economic well-being.’ I
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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,

Take-up and Doubt: where have we got to on Thinking and Working Politically?

June 21, 2019
Spent a day this week at a Washington workshop on ‘From Thinking Politically to Working Politically’, organized by Abt Associates, whose Graham Teskey is one of the TWP gurus. What struck me most was the combination of the spreading acceptance of TWP approaches within the aid sector, and serious questions being asked about important aspects of the whole enterprise by

What is different about how INGOs do Adaptive Management/Doing Development Differently?

February 8, 2019
Earlier this week I chaired a fascinating discussion on the findings of a new paper on an adaptive management (AM) experiment by Christian Aid Ireland (CAI). The paper really adds to our knowledge of AM/Doing Development Differently: It looks at the work of an INGO, when most formally identified AM practice and research involves big bilaterals like DFID Linked to

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

Working With/Against the Grain, the case for Toolkits, and the future of Thinking and Working Politically

November 28, 2018
Second instalment of my download from an intense day spent last week with the Thinking and Working Politically Community of Practice (first instalment here).   Working With or Against the Grain? In a way, this is a reworking of the reformist v radical divide. Should TWP focus on understanding local institutions and find ways to work with them to achieve

Thinking and Working Politically – why the unexpected success?

November 27, 2018
Spent a fizzy day with the Thinking and Working Politically crew last week, taking stock on its (surprising?) success over the last 5 years (first sighting, November 2013 and this meeting in Delhi), and pondering next steps. Too much to say for a single post, so this will be spread over the next two days. All under the Chatham House

Old Wine in New Bottles? 6 ways to tell if a programme is really ‘doing development differently’

November 13, 2018
Guest post from some of the top exponents of adaptive management/doing development differently These days it seems that everyone in the aid sector is doing development differently – presenting themselves as politically smart, locally led, flexible and adaptive. But is it true?  How much of this is “old wine in new bottles” – the language changing but the practice remaining

What can the Thinking and Working Politically community learn from peace and conflict mediation?

July 24, 2018
Alex Douglas from the Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue adds some useful insights for adaptive management/TWP from his vantage point in peace building Wily aid practitioners have long understood the importance of adapting their programs to the political environment, and even use their activities to push politics in a progressive direction.  But this magic was spun secretly, hidden behind logframes and

Book Review: Navigation by Judgment, by Dan Honig

July 6, 2018
As its subtitle, ‘Why and When Top-Down Management of Foreign Aid Doesn’t Work’, suggests, this is an addition to the growing library of books on aid reform. And a very useful one. Honig is a hybrid scholar-practitioner, with dirt under his fingernails in East Timor and Liberia, and the book is for aid insiders, whether practitioners or scholars, focusing on

Internal battles within partner governments are what determine change. That has big implications for aid.

July 4, 2018
Alan Whaites argues that aid workers should abandon their blueprints and focus instead on understanding internal reform battles within governments and trying to help those fighting poverty from within. Recently a line stuck in my mind from one of Duncan’s recent posts about adaptive programmes with developing country partners: `if you introduce donors into that arrangement, ownership is diluted, and