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Last week was a busy time in Washington for those interested in results-focused approaches to foreign aid, with two major events, one here at CGD and one at the World Bank.

At CGD, Nancy Birdsall, Bill Savedoff and I (with Kate Vyborny in spirit!) released our book Cash on Delivery: A new approach to foreign aid with an application to primary schooling. (You may have read about it in this blog post by Bill and Katherine Douglas.)  We were joined by panelists Mauro De Lorenzo; a vice president of at the Templeton Foundation; Michael Kremer, a Harvard professor and CGD visiting fellow; and Rakesh Rajani, the founder of Twaweza a new transparency-focused East African NGO. Lawrence MacDonald, CGD vice president for communications and policy outreach, moderated the event.  

We had a lively discussion with the panelists and audience, which included some of the people who helped us to develop COD aid. Rakesh said that he hoped that the collection and dissemination of outcome data could boost public pressure for progress. Michael suggested that COD Aid, like conditional cash transfers, might be a relatively easy political sell. Mauro thought otherwise, and he worried that  funder impatience would deter many from adopting the approach.  Nevertheless, all three panelists urged that the approach be tried.  Members of the audience suggested new applications, including, as Bill and Katherine explain in their blog post,  maternal health.  (Listen to the audio or watch a short video  for a more complete account).

Two days later, just down the street at the World Bank, the Global Partnership on Output-Based Aid (GPOBA) released lessons learned from recent efforts. While COD Aid is primarily aimed at aligning incentives between funders and recipient governments, Output-Based Aid focuses on incentives for service providers in several sectors, with many examples in electricity and water.  In pilots it has proven to be very promising for increasing poor people’s access to these services.

COD Aid, while aimed at a different set of incentives and interactions, nonetheless builds on the successes of output-based aid and other results-oriented approaches. We believe that pilots of COD Aid would likewise offer opportunities to learn about the effectiveness of the approach (for more on possible pilots, see our reports from visits to Ethiopia and Malawi)

Now that the COD Aid book has been released, are our efforts over?  Not in the least!  We’re working with governments and funders interested in piloting the approach for schooling.  We’re also working with experts and funders interested in applying the approach to other sectors and development goals, for example water and health outcomes (which our colleagues Mead Over, Nandini Ooman and others have begun to consider).  We welcome you to learn more about the initiative by visiting our COD Aid initiative page, signing up for electronic updates, emailing us for more information, and by…reading our book!  We hope to hear your feedback, and work with you on trying and learning from COD Aid programs.

Disclaimer

CGD blog posts reflect the views of the authors drawing on prior research and experience in their areas of expertise. CGD does not take institutional positions.