How to Monitor and Evaluate an Adaptive Programme: 7 Takeaways

September 18, 2020
I generally try to avoid ‘inside baseball’ aid discussions that make sense mainly to practitioners, but this piece by Gloria Sikustahili, Julie Adkins, Japhet Makongo & Simon Milligan was so interesting and sensible, I made an exception. We’ve all been there. We’ve drowned in the weight of programme documentation; the need to capture everything, to report everything, to be seen

What is civil society for? Reflection from one of Tanzania’s leading CSO thinkers

November 1, 2018
A recent civil society and government jamboree in Tanzania prompted some interesting reflections from Aidan Eyakuze, Executive Director of Twaweza. Who needs civil society organizations (CSOs)? If government does its job well, responding to citizens’ needs, delivering good quality services, safe communities and a booming economy, then what is the purpose of the diverse range of NGOs, trade unions, religious groups,

Tanzania is about to outlaw fact checking: here’s why that’s a problem

September 6, 2018
Guest post from Aidan Eyakuze, Twaweza’s Executive Director Experts say it took just four minutes from beginning to end. First, some sensors failed. Then the pilots lost control of the plane, it stalled, went into freefall and smashed onto the surface of the Atlantic Ocean at a force 35 times greater than that of normal gravity. None of the 228

Adaptive Management meets Menstrual Hygiene

August 15, 2018
I recently visited Tanzania to look at adaptive management in the Institutions for Inclusive Development (I4ID) programme, a big (£12m over 5 years) project that is trying to use AM approaches in a fast-closing political space (more on that to follow, once Irene Guijt and I finish the draft paper). One highlight was watching some top convening and brokering in

Bruised but better: the stronger case for evidence-based activism in East Africa

March 22, 2018
Wrapping up Twaweza week, Varja Lipovsek (left) and Aidan Eyakuze reflect on the event that has provided the last week’s posts It was a stormy couple of days in Dar es Salaam. First, it is the rainy season, so the tent in which we held our meeting flapped and undulated over our heads like a loose sail. More importantly, we

Which Citizens? Which Services? Unpacking Demand for Improved Health, Education, Roads, Water etc

March 16, 2018
Next up in the Twaweza series is this post from Ruth Carlitz of the University of Gothenburg. Please read and comment on the draft paper she summarizes here. Clean water. Paved roads. Quality education. Election campaigns in poor countries typically promise such things, yet the reality on the ground often falls short. So, what do people do? Wait for five

How can researchers and activists influence African governments? Advice from an insider

March 15, 2018
One of the highlights of the Twaweza meeting was hearing from Togolani Mavura (left), the Private Secretary to former President Kikwete (in Tanzania, ex-presidents get a staff for life, not like in the UK where they have to hawk themselves round the after dinner speaking circuit). Togolani has worked across the  various policy levels  of the Tanzanian goverment, and his talk

Shouting or cooperating? What’s the best way to use indexes to get better local government?

June 30, 2017
Went to an enjoyable panel at ODI last week, with the wonderful subtitle ‘Shouting at the system won’t make it work!’. It presented new research on how to improve the accountability of local government in Tanzania. Here’s the paper presented by two of the authors, Anna Mdee and Patricia Tshomba, the first of a series. The research is about how

When/Why do countries improve the management of their natural resources? New 4 country study

May 24, 2016
Now I love Oxfam dearly but (you were expecting a ‘but’, right?) both as producers and consumers, we suffer from TL; DR syndrome (too long; didn’t read). Not only that but we don’t always make the most of executive summaries. Which is a shame, because some real gems often go unnoticed as a result. So allow me to pan through

Should you keep innovating as a programme matures? Dilemmas from (another) ground-breaking accountability programme in Tanzania

October 16, 2013
Certain countries seem to produce more than their share of great programmes. Vietnam is one, and Tanzania appears to be another. After the much-blogged-on Twaweza workshop in Tanzania last week, I headed up North to visit the Chukua Hatua accountability programme. It’s one of my favourites among Oxfam’s governance work, not least because it has a really top notch theory of

Last word to Twaweza: Varja Lipovsek and Rakesh Rajani on How to Keep the Ambition and Complexity, Be Less Fuzzy and Get More Traction

October 11, 2013
Twaweza’s Varja Lipovsek, (Learning, Monitoring & Evaluation Manager) and Rakesh Rajani (Head), respond to this week’s series of posts on their organization’s big rethink. That Duncan Green dedicated three posts on Twaweza’s ‘strategic pivot’ may signal that our work and theory of change are in real trouble, but we prefer to take it as a sign that these issues are

Where are development’s venture capitalists?

July 4, 2012