Unity of Ants

Can aid agencies help systems fix themselves?

If economic development is a property of a complex adaptive system then what, if anything, can development agencies and NGOs do to accelerate it? Read the full post »
A picture of the National Audit Office

No smoking gun – DFID and the surge in spending

Press reports about the NAO report on DFID budget management in 2013 are wholly misleading. DFID actually comes out of the report pretty well. There is a cautionary tale here for DFID, but it isn’t about the way it manages its budget. It is that the sharks are circling, and they do not seem to be very interested in the facts. Read the full post »
The Port of Gabreville, Gabon

Why “beyond aid” matters

In evidence for the House of Commons International Development Committee, we argue that "beyond aid" policies are likely to have a bigger impact than aid alone, address the underlying causes of poverty rather than the symptoms, and benefit rather than cost the UK. Read the full post »
A graphic showing a rising arrow, with a person-shaped figure hanging off it

Evidence and scaling up

I spoke at a dinner of the Board of the Childrens' Investment Fund Foundation on Friday. I touched on the role of evidence in scaling up, and the role of foundations such as CIFF. Here are my remarks. Read the full post »
The roots of the Banyan Forest

Is ‘the struggle’ the baby or the bathwater?

If there is value in the process of iteration and adaptation that people and organisations go through, then might development cooperation which tries to bypass that struggle do more harm than good? Read the full post »
Details of an oil painting showing brushstrokes

Ten broad brushstrokes about development cooperation

I am discussing the the future of development cooperation, and the role of Northern NGOs,, with the policy, advocacy and campaigns team at ActionAid UK this morning.  Powerpoint is forbidden.  I'm going to paint ten broad brushstrokes about the future of development cooperation: Read the full post »
U.S._Marine_Corps_Lance_Cpl._Xavier_L._Cannon,_left,_and_members_of_the_Armed_Forces_of_the_Philippines_help_civilians_displaced_by_Typhoon_Haiyan_disembark_a_U.S._Marine_Corps_KC-130J_Super_Hercules_aircraft_131112-M-GX

Let’s help the Philippines — but not like we helped Haiti

There is an article in the Washington Post about humanitarian relief in the Philippines by Vij Ramachandran and me. We argue that the aid effort could be significantly improved by the use of technology and transparency. Read the full post »