Ideas to Action:

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Tag: Aid Effectiveness

 

Memo to Aid World: Drop “Capacity Building”

I have always chafed at the idea of “capacity building” – a donor fallback in developing countries whenever progress on a donor-financed project is slow. Too much of what donors mean by capacity building has turned out to be training sessions, workshops, and nice trips of mid-level technical staff from low-income countries to Paris, London and Washington.

Piloting COD Aid: Results Are Coming into Focus

It would be strange to try learning how to play music without listening to musicians. Similarly, learning about results-based aid programs requires listening to people who design and implement them. That is just what we did last week in a set of workshops about implementing programs that pay for results – programs which apply some or all of the principles that we’ve discussed here at the Center as Cash on Delivery Aid. As a result of discussing real experiences, we discovered that some of the challenges are quite different than we had anticipated while a number of common concerns have simply failed to materialize.

Shocked! Scandal-Driven Management Is No Way to Address Corruption

Politicians and agency officials are always morally indignant when it comes to corruption in foreign aid, pointing to elaborate procedures and investigative offices to prove that they are “tough” and calling for zero tolerance (most recently here and here). However, for most governments and agencies, corruption is only a problem when it is discovered. That is when it becomes an obstacle to disbursing funds and keeping business moving.

Philippines Launches Aid Transparency Hub, Encourages Donor Transparency

This is a joint post with Lawrence MacDonald.

Struggling to provide relief and reconstruction assistance in the wake of super typhoon Haiyan (a.k.a. Yolanda), the Philippines has launched a foreign aid information hub and gently encouraged donors to follow through on their own transparency pledges, with a top official reported in the Philippine press as saying that the two efforts "should go hand in hand."

Filipinos Like Typhoon Relief Transparency

Something surprising happened this week after my colleagues Vijaya Ramachandran and Owen Barder posted a call for donors providing help in the wake of Typhoon Haiyan (a.k.a Yolanda) to rapidly post data on their plans and actions. Their post, Let’s Not Help the Philippines Like We Helped Haiti, which argued for helping the Philippines better through aid transparency, went viral overnight as thousands of Filipinos around the world visited the page and “liked” it on Facebook.

Let’s Not Help the Philippines Like We Helped Haiti

The immediate aftermath of a natural disaster, such as that the typhoon which devastated part of the Phillipines on Friday, can bring out the best of the global community. There will come a time to discuss how we can do more to prevent the environmental changes which make such events more likely; but the immediate priority is to get water, food and shelter to people who urgently need it. 

Better Aid? Yes, Minister

A year ago, ActionAid Italy and and BOND came out with a report on aid agency independence.  Comparing the performance of independent aid ministries with aid agencies that function under another ministry (foreign affairs, as it might be), the report made the case that “there is a positive correlation between a cabinet rank minister and better development systems including aid commitments being honored, aid levels that are less volatile and an increase in aid quality and effectiveness.” 

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