Illicit economies, shadowy realms, and survival at the margins

Guest post by Eric Gutierrez, Senior Adviser on Tackling Violence and Building Peace at Christian Aid After the fall of the Taliban in 2001, poor landless farmers in the most conflict-affected areas of southern Afghanistan started migrating in increasing numbers to the relatively more insecure rocky desert areas. With the help of loans worth a […]

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How to decode a UN Report on Global Finance (and find an important disagreement with the World Bank on private v public)

A giant coalition of UN-affiliated aid organizations (3 pages of logos!) recently published Financing for Development: Progress and Prospects 2018. These big tent reports are a nightmare to write, and not much easier to read. Anything contentious is fought over by the participants, and the result tends to be pretty bland. I’m not sure how […]

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Links I Liked

If someone ever criticises your tidiness, show them this, the New York Review of Books office. Ht Padraig Belton States are Far Less Likely to Engage in Mass Violence Against Nonviolent Uprisings than Violent Uprisings How Costa Rica Gets It Right by Joseph E. Stiglitz Nice piece on ideas for avoiding boring time-suck meetings. My […]

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

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 […]

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Insurance hits peak hype in the aid & development biz – but what do we really know?

Guest post from Debbie Hillier, Oxfam’s Senior Humanitarian Policy Adviser There is a lot of enthusiasm for insurance right now in a range of different sectors humanitarians are particularly excited, hoping this is a quick win to fill the aching chasm in humanitarian aid climate change experts hope it will be an easy fix for […]

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5 ways to build Civil Society’s Legitimacy around the world

Saskia Brechenmacher and Thomas Carothers, of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, introduce and summarize the insights from their new collection of essays from civil society activists. Pressure on civic space keeps increasing around the world, driven by the toxic mix of rising authoritarianism, growing populism, and wobbly democracy. Battles over legitimacy are central to […]

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A day in the life of an Oxfam researcher – fancy joining the team?

Guest post from Deborah Hardoon (right) Psst, want my job? This is my last week as Deputy Head of Research at Oxfam. It’s a role which is as fascinating as it is challenging. You get to work on important global issues, with brilliant and bright people from all over the world. For details on the […]

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

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 […]

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The Economist comes out in support of Universal Health Care – here are the best bits

This week’s Economist magazine leads on the case for Universal Health Care, worldwide. That’s a big deal – the Economist is very influential, can’t possibly be accused of being a leftie spendthrift, and the case it makes is powerful. A couple of non Economist readers asked me for a crib sheet of the 10 page […]

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Book Review: Why We Lie About Aid by Pablo Yanguas

Guest post by Tom Kirk, of the LSE’s Centre for Public Authority in International Development Every so often you read something that brilliantly articulates an idea or issue you have been struggling with for a while, but could not properly capture. Why We Lie About Aid is one of those books. Full of pithy quotes, […]

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