Tag Archives: development

Development: The dictator’s handmaiden; Is bad aid almost always good politics?

I have just finished reading the Dictator’s Handbook, by Bruce Bueno de Mequita and Alastair Smith. I immediately reread some chapters. The book gives you an insight you feel you have known all along, but you just could not act … Continue reading

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Planning for collapse: making development interventions too big to fail and vulnerable to systemic risk.

The financial collapse in 2008 following the collapse of Lehman Brothers was enthusiastically prepared by the political and economical decision makers. In the 70s and 80s, in the name of more efficiency and free marked, regulations were more and more … Continue reading

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Admitting Failure: Join the Posse (Only for real Men)

I am all in favour of evolution in development practice and thinking, where normally, it is more important to cull downright dismal failures than to select only the best, as evolution needs variability to work its magic. Admitting mistakes or … Continue reading

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Markets in everything: 2021: the secondary market for development products.

Francis Watanabe is project portfolio manager for the government. He acquires development interventions on the secondary market, to add to his portfolio on early child development. Innovators, like the Gates Foundation or Oxfam, or even local governments, start up their … Continue reading

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The Sphere Project: Minimum Standards in Humanitarian Response and the Poverty Line.

The Sphere standards and humanitarian efficiency. The latest edition of the Sphere Handbook was presented on the 23rd of June, and the more I read it and think about it, the more relevant I find this standard. “The Sphere Handbook … Continue reading

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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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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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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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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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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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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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From heart of darkness; develop or civilize? to city of light

The objectives of development aid are not well defined. This is one of the reasons why it is so easy to claim that aid does not work. More narrowly defined sub objectives, like diminishing child mortality, or getting more children … Continue reading

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