Ups and downs in the struggle for accountability – four new real time studies

OK, we’ve had real time evaluations, we’ve done transparency and accountability initiatives, so why not combine the two? The thoroughlybrilliant International Budget Partnership is doing just that, teaming up with academic researchers to follow in real time the ups and downs of four TAIs in Mexico, Brazil, South Africa and Tanzania. Read the case study […]

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When do Transparency and Accountability Initiatives have impact?

So having berated ODI about opening up access to its recent issue of the Development Policy Review on Transparency and Accountability Initiatives (TAIs), I really ought to review the overview piece by John Gaventa and Rosemary McGee, which they’ve made freely available until December. The essay is well worth reading. It unpicks the fuzzy concept […]

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How to challenge short term thinking in development and research?

Over the next few days this blog will be even more scattergun than usual as I’ve just arrived in Australia for a 3 week tour (including New Zealand). Got in on Sunday evening after weeping my way through all 8 episodes of Broadchurch (hope I didn’t alarm fellow passengers). It’s a fantastic crime drama with […]

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How realtime evaluation can sharpen our work in fragile states

Pity the poor development worker. All the signs are that their future lies in working in ‘fragile and conflict-affected states’ (FRACAS) – the DRCs, Somalias, Afghanistans and Haitis. As more stable countries grow and lift their people out of poverty, that’s where an increasing percentage of the world’s poor people will live. And (not unconnected) […]

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Creating a splash with Data Diving

Over a July weekend in London four charities and more than 80 data professionals took part in a “DataDive”, organized by DataKind UK. Ricardo, Richard and Simone from Oxfam’s Research Team (see pic of handsome hunks below) went along. Here’s what happened. If you came to London for a weekend during the best summer since […]

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A week at the Edinburgh festival: good theatre, bad music and great books

Last week Cathy and I spent our annual week at the Edinburgh festival. It provides a high intensity restoration of the mental flora (colonic irrigation of the soul?) before the autumn grind begins. We tend to avoid the ubiquitous stand-up comedy, even though the heckling sounds pretty amazing, and go for a more NGO-compatible diet […]

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On a speaking tour in Australia and New Zealand for next 3 weeks – here are the details

I’m off to Australia and New Zealand this weekend, to teach a 3 day session on ‘how change happens’ with the wonderful Chris Roche at Perth’s Murdoch University (I’m assured it’s nothing to do with Rupert). That will be followed by a powerpoint-tastic speaking tour through Melbourne, Canberra, Wellington and Auckland. Current list of public […]

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Now that’s what I call social protection: the Chile Solidario Programme

Another one of the fascinating case studies dug up by Sophie King for my recent UN paper on ‘The Role of the State in Empowering Poor and Excluded Groups and Individuals’. This one looks at how Chile manages its integrated social protection programme and is based on a paper by the excellent Stephanie Barrientos. Reading […]

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How to think in Systems? Great (and accessible, and short) book.

Thanks to whoever suggested I read ‘Thinking in Systems’, by Donella Meadows. It’s great – one of those short, easy reads that may induce a gestalt shift in the way you see the world. The topic is ‘systems theory’ – that phrase that wise-looking wonks bandy about in meetings, to intimidating effect. If you can’t […]

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How empowerment happens: devolving management to local people in Vietnam and Pakistan

Another one of the fascinating case studies dug up by Sophie King for my recent UN paper on ‘The Role of the State in Empowering Poor and Excluded Groups and Individuals’. This one looks at two examples of devolution that seem to work Devolving forest management to local people, Dak Lak, Vietnam This is from […]

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