Humanitarian Cash Transfers

The Free Exchange column in this week's Economist discusses the work of the High Level Panel on Humanitarian Cash Transfers. Read the full post »

Transforming Humanitarian Aid with Cash Transfers: High Level Panel Report

A High Level Panel on Humanitarian Cash Transfers, which I chaired, has concluded that much more humanitarian aid should be provided as cash, rather than as vouchers or in-kind; and that this change should be used to bring about broader reforms of humanitarian aid. Read the full post »
A screenshot of the cover of the magazine, Great Insights, published by ECDPM

Innovative financing for development: as if social returns, incentives, and value for money really mattered

There is an article by Theo Talbot and me in the latest edition of ECDPM’s Great Insights Private Sector Matters.

We argue that rather than subsidising inputs or reducing risk to leverage private finance for development, it would be … Go to www.owen.org to read the rest

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On World Humanitarian Day: Could We Do Better with Cash?

World Humanitarian Day is an opportunity to celebrate the courage of humanitarian workers, but also to think about how to improve the system. I am chairing a High Level Panel looking at the role of cash transfers in humanitarian aid.

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The Ajaokuta steel factory in 1994

How should donors work with the private sector?

We are enthusiastic about the growing interest in supporting private investment in developing countries, but it matters a lot how this is done. The tools that donor countries usually use to “crowd in” the private sector — guarantees and cheap loans — distort firms’ incentives by reducing their risks or increasing their rewards irrespective of how well they do. Donors should not pick winners. Read the full post »
Ants forming a bridge across a gap

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 »

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 »

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 »
Photo of representatives at the Central African Republic Development Partners Round Table

Coordination doesn’t happen by magic

letter in today's Financial Times by Caroline FiennesDavid Hall MatthewsFran PerrinVij Ramachandran and me argues that relief efforts could be more effective if humanitarian aid agencies published details of what they are doing Read the full post »
A measuring tape superimposed on the English countryside

Learning By Measuring in Practice

How NGOs and service delivery organisations can be empowered by better use of data to improve public service delivery. Read the full post »
A still from a video showing Jim Kim in a white leather jacket, dancing

Science to Deliver, but no ‘Science of Delivery’

Delivery requires iteration and adaptation rather than a "science". Perhaps the time has come for a Manifesto for Agile Development? Read the full post »
A computer generated graphic with calculator, pie chart, bar chart

Show your working (international aid edition)

Proposals for how DFID should improve the Bilateral Aid Review (BAR) by adopting the principle of 'show your working'. Read the full post »

Should the UK set up a development bank?

Here is the evidence I gave (audio, plus part video) to the House of Commons International Development Committee. I argue for greater use of multilateral aid and against setting up a new UK development bank. Read the full post »
Road between Fort Portal and Rebisengo

Development Impact Bonds – a new business model for development?

The New York Times covers Development Impact Bonds and early results from the Peterborough Prison Social Impact Bonds suggest that this is a business model worth trying in development. Read the full post »