The Limits of Efficient M&E

I’ve spent years harking on about the need to ensure that development projects are designing indicators that are collecting the most necessary data as opposed to interesting data. My mantra, drilled into the heads of many colleagues over the years, has been ‘what do you need to know to know if you are making progress’. …

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The Slippery Slope of Leaving the Vulnerable Behind

The SDGs: Leave No One Behind! Laudable. Critical. And already failing at the first hiccup. The recent SDG Index and Dashboard effectively aimed to establish a baseline for SDG indicators in all countries. A lot of data is needed (because there are A LOT of indicators – but that’s another subject). There is significant pressure …

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I have something I really need to say…

Post-conflict governing is never easy. But there is a sense of hope, until there isn’t. Dear ‘Government’, Long after the war ended, I came back. I was excited – to see change and hope and a vision for the future. The changes I have witnessed, however, are very disillusioning… I see your flags and I …

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The Challenges of Post-Conflict ‘Residue’

Six years ago, almost to the day, I was reviewing the draft of a programme evaluation report that my organization had commissioned. The writing wasn’t excellent but it was passable. The content, however, and the accusations lobbed at the organization were mind-blowing. ‘Organization X is directly contributing to growing conflict in Poso (in Central Sulawesi …

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On Aid Part 4: Skills that Matter in a Globalized World

From Trump to Brexit, the world seems an immensely terrifying place to exist these days, particularly if the values espoused by Trump and Brexit and their followers seem out of touch with the reality in which we live. This neoliberal, more or less realist, globalized, digitized world of competition and the constant need for the …

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‘Autonomous Adaptation’ – Have We Logframed Ourselves into a Corner?

It’s full speed ahead on building capacity for resilience to climate change and other shocks like earthquakes and droughts and flooding. It’s the thing that everyone (ie: the development community and donors) wants to be good at, known for. Because of course. Of course no one in a country vulnerable to climate change, on the …

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Bank Accounts and Actual Poverty Reduction

I am not naive. I know I lead a fairly privileged life. I grew up middle class, worked my way through university, got a job, paid off my student loans. Saw the world. Made great friends, had fantastic experiences, brushed off the day-to-day bureaucracy as par for the course. Loved my work. Met my husband …

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On Aid Part 3: Private Sector Finance – Aid or Investment?

If you have 30 minutes to spare, you need to read an article by Matt Kennard and Claire Provost in Mail&Guardian Africa. It’s long, but well worth your time, particularly if you’re on the fence about private sector financing of international development. Yes, development organizations need more money if the SDGs are to be achieved, …

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On Aid Part 2: Forget Value for Money

Value for money. Somewhere someone got this confused with aid effectiveness and the results have been disastrous. Where aid effectiveness asks if the money spent is resulting in effective, sustainable change, value for money looks at how much you can get for each dollar spent. While efficiency is important (not hiring six consultants where one …

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On Aid: The WHS and Donor Priorities

The World Humanitarian Summit was held last week, the culmination of over two years of work by the UN’s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), and based on my Twitter and Facebook feeds, there was a lot to say about it. Now, I’m not always a fan of ‘summits’; I feel they are …

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