Public Authority through the eyes of a Dead Fish

One of the highlights of last week’s conference in Ghent was a presentation by Esther Marijnen about her research in the Eastern Congo, conducted with Chrispin Mvano. Esther is trying to understand how rebel groups (of which DRC has many) see nature – across Africa, there is a long tradition of insurgents setting up bases in national parks. […]

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What I learned about Public Authority from spending two days with a bunch of anthropologists, political scientists and others.

The Centre for Public Authority in International Development had its annual get together in Ghent last week. It really hurt my head, but the pain was worth it – I learned a lot. Here are some overall impressions, and then tomorrow, my top lightbulb moment – public authority through the eyes of a dead fish….. […]

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What kind of Evidence Influences local officials? A great example from Guatemala

I met Walter Flores at a Twaweza seminar in Tanzania a couple of months ago, but have only just got round to reading his fascinating paper reflecting on 10 years of trying to improve Public Health in Guatemala. It is short (12 pages), snappily written, with a very crisp, hard-hitting thesis, so no need to […]

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Links I Liked

Ideas in Meetings Globally, $1.7 Trillion was spent on the military in 2017. The highest since End of Cold War. = 13x the volume of aid, and $230 for every person on the planet. Are economists’ standard solutions part of the problem in fragile states? Lots to read for ‘Doing Development Differently’ nerds: On the […]

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What are the politics of reducing carnage on the world’s roads? Great new paper from ODI

There’s a form of casual violence that kills 1.25 million people a year (3 times more than malaria) and injures up to 50 million more. 90% of the deaths are of poor people (usually men) in poor countries. No guns are involved and there’s lots of things governments can do to fix it. But you’ll […]

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Gender, disability and displacement: Reflections from research on Syrian refugees in Jordan

This guest post is by Bushra Rehman (right), a Research Officer with the Humanitarian Academy for Development, which is the research and training arm of Islamic Relief Worldwide. The post is based on her prize-winning Masters dissertation. It is mid-afternoon in Jordan and the weather is stiflingly hot. I arrive at a derelict building in Irbid, […]

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5 Lessons from Working with Businesses to Support Workers around the World

This piece appeared on ETI’s May ‘Leadership Series’ blog yesterday I was present at the birth of ETI 20 years ago. Recently installed at the Catholic aid agency, CAFOD, I was sent off to discuss an obscure initiative to set up a ‘Monitoring and Verification Working Group’ for companies trying to assess labour standards in their […]

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Can ‘Doing Development Differently’ only succeed if aid donors stay away from it?

Another day, another seminar on Adaptive Management/Doing Development Differently/Thinking and Working Politically (let’s save words by just calling the whole thing DDD). This one was held under the Chatham House Rule, so no names or institutions. There was an interesting mix of academics and contractors – private companies who increasingly run the big contracts for […]

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Links I Liked

The 7 deadly sins – online version ht Sony Kapoor. Steven Pinker’s Ideas About Progress Are Fatally Flawed. These Eight Graphs Show Why. There are 7 universal moral rules: love your family, help your group, return favours, be brave, defer to authority, be fair, respect others’ property. These are the same across all cultures, according […]

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Which is better: a guaranteed job or a guaranteed income?

Guest post from Eleanor Chowns of Bath University Martin Ravallion (former Chief Economist of the World Bank, now at CGD) published a useful paper this week asking exactly this question.  As he says, there’s no simple answer – which is why the question is so interesting. Both ‘the right to work’ and ‘the right to […]

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