Author Archives: Sam Gardner

Not longer, but deeper commitments for more aid predictability

It is a truth universally acknowledged, that one of the major problems in development is the unpredictability of aid. It is taken on face value that this can be reached by introducing long-term commitments, 3-4 years, and preferably beyond. It … Continue reading

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The Fragmentation of Humanitarian Aid: Market failure leads to planning and broken networks.

Is Fragmentation a solution or a problem? One of the main reasons the donor community pushes for reform in the humanitarian aid sector is the fragmentation of the services. As an antidote for fragmentation, coordination is proposed. The conventional narrative … Continue reading

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Energy efficiency is the way to go.

A new article in the New Scientist claims that efficiency gains alone could cut world energy demands by three-quarters. This is, of course extremely relevant for everybody in the development sector, as we tend to be cought in the maelstrom … Continue reading

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Mainstreaming revisited

Bottom Up Thinking blogs about a “development effectiveness officer“, a person who walks around to incite people to do what they should do if they would be doing their job. It is a recurrent problem with all “mainstreaming” issues. It … Continue reading

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The Armdroids are coming

There is an interesting article at the Harvard Business review on ” The fall of Wintel and the rise of the Armdroids” . It is interesting how history repeats itself. Only a few years ago, at the start of the … Continue reading

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Data warehouse for project proposals in humanitarian assistance

I posted the following at Opendata, please, if you are a programmer, contribute: Proof of concept: Data warehouse for project proposals in humanitarian assistance: For the moment nearly every donor and every UN-agency requires project forms to be filled according … Continue reading

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A new year, a new donor budget and the fallacy of additional resources

Donor budgets are annual and modular. The legislation ruling these budgets covers normally all expenditures in all departments. This means expectations on donor flexibility are often unrealistic. While the role of parliaments in poor countries might be taken into account, … Continue reading

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Sunday Paper – New Years’ edition

The Best Dishes of 2010 – NYTimes.com – The 15 best things The Times’s restaurant critic ate in New York City in 2010. Enjoy! Iraq Encounter – Watching a Faith Healer at Work – NYTimes.com : Patient-focused treatment impresses an … Continue reading

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Darwin awards for international organisations and treaties

Chatting with a friend over lunch on what is real work and what is just unproductive time-filler, we touched upon the Food Aid Convention. If this international treaty would just vaporise without leaving a trace, the overall effect on food … Continue reading

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Results in HIV/AIDS interventions: Considerations on the need for a vertical approach in an horizontal world, and vice versa

Aids day During Aids-day, the blogs proved that the debate between the believers in a vertical approach and the believers in a geographical approach rages on. I did not write on it before, because it is an issue with ramifications … Continue reading

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Sunday paper

More Pie: Some Thinking on World AIDS Day – Blood and Milk; It is not because the bandwagon moved on that we should stop caring about Aids. Wow: Will This Results-Based Approach Change DFID Country Allocations?; Not the first time … Continue reading

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Should Multilateral aid have results?

Multilateral resource allocation: best practice approaches (Article – ODI Project Briefings 51, November 2010) When DFID changes track on development, it is important to notice as DFID is one of the thought leaders among donor agencies. If ODI writes about … Continue reading

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Sunday Paper

Some articles to remember: What Makes Good Aid *Good Aid*? – I like very much his take on “local”. New study shows humans are on auto pilot nearly half the time You were saying? Tom Chatfield: 7 ways games reward … Continue reading

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It seemed like a good idea while we were at it: coordination instead of competition

A few months ago, Owen Barder wrote a ground-breaking article: Beyond Planning, Markets and Networks for Better Aid. As a development practitioner, being confronted with the latest ideas on best practices from ODI and the daily chores of coördination, there … Continue reading

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The Sunday paper

The Climate Catastrophe Trail Leads to Our Doorstep – Believe It | David Wheeler | Global Development: Views from the Center Promises promises: When politicians don’t deliver – The Essential Read Every politician knows that the key to winning elections … Continue reading

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Development policy and evolution: does the donor public request impact or action?

Owen posted a very good presentation on evolution and development on his blog. Indeed, evolution, like the market, is an efficient way to find solutions to complex problems or to optimize resource allocation. The subsequent discussion on his blog raised … Continue reading

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Brooks’ law in aid plans : is more always merrier? gain goes down the drain.

Definition Brooks’ law on software development says : “adding manpower to a late software project makes it later”. Brooks adds to his law that “Nine women can not make a baby in one month”. Is there a similar law for … Continue reading

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Donor projects: is money a placebo, attention the drug?

In development, local self reliance is often seen as the main long term objective, while the delivered “hardware”, bridges, roads, schooling, are just seen as stepping stones to the road of self reliance. I would like to raise the following … Continue reading

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Aid evolution: a system beyond planning, markets and networks

Local units obeying local incentives and rules1 I remember the bleak look of the supermarkets in Nicaragua in 1992. Only a few products were available, nearly all from the same low quality brands. So where should we buy diapers, baby … Continue reading

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Civil society, or perhaps mercenaries. What are NGOs?

A Grimm fairy tale While reading the Haiti Earthquake Flash Appeal 2010, I was surprised, after all these years of talk about local ownership, to find only a few local civil society organisations mentioned in the whole document. What is … Continue reading

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