How will we know if the SDGs are having any impact?

June 8, 2017
As long time readers of the blog will know, I’ve been a Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) sceptic since long before they were even agreed. However, I’ve been hearing a fair amount about them recently – people telling me that governments North and South, companies and city administrations are using them to frame public commitments and planning and reporting against them. So

What do we know about the long-term legacy of aid programmes? Very little, so why not go and find out?

May 21, 2015
We talk a lot in the aid biz about wanting to achieve long-term impact, but most of the time, aid organizations work in a time bubble set by the duration of a project. We seldom go back a decade later and see what happened after we left. Why not? Everyone has their favourite story of the project that turned into

Measuring academic impact: discussion with my new colleagues at the LSE (joining in January, but not leaving Oxfam)

September 26, 2014
From the New Year, the London School of Economics International Development Department has roped me in to doing a few hours a week as a ‘Professor in Practice’ (PiP), in an effort to establish better links between its massive cohort of 300 Masters students (no undergrads) and ‘practitioners’ in thinktanks, NGOs etc. So with some newbie trepidation, I headed off

Is the aid industry’s audit culture becoming a threat to accountability?

October 12, 2010
I’m a big fan of Rosalind Eyben, of IDS, so got her permission to cut and paste her note of a meeting she organized recently while I was wandering around Ethiopia. It brought together some 70 development practitioners and researchers worried about the current trend for funding organisations to support only those programmes designed to deliver easily measurable results. Here