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Last week, Bill Easterly and colleagues formally launched the new Aid Watch initiative at the Development Research Institute at NYU. Aid Watch is meant to serve as an independent monitor of the aid practices of official development agencies, through research, events, and a blog. Bill brought out a big crowd for the launch, including not just students, but NGO leaders, faculty from up and down the East Coast, and some aid practitioners, including World Bank staff. In a session on accountabilty I spoke about Cash on Delivery Aid, a way for donors to transfer money that could make aid-dependent governments accountable for outcomes to their citizens -- instead of for inputs to their donors. If you want to see my presentation, go here.
Aid Watch might emerge as a perfect grass roots complement to CGD programs: the MCA Monitor and the HIV/AIDS Monitor. (We chose "monitor" instead of the in-your-face "watch" in the hope we could build informal and influential relations with the insiders.) One way or another, it's a good sign that the "watch/monitor" industry is alive and well -- if the aid system's tendency to Seven Deadly Sins is to be purged. You can learn more about other CGD work on aid effectiveness initiatives here.