Tag: "Aid Effectiveness" in Building Markets

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ned_breslin

Free markets and labour and us.

A new post went up this morning from a guest blogger, Anthony DeMattee on wage levels among NGOs and other local employers. Less than a minute later, I got an email calling it... More
Private-sector-approach-paper-May2011_Page_01

Music to my ears. “The engine of development”.

A few days ago I was catching up on some long overdue reading. An old friend in UKAid, or it is Dfid, sent me something to look over 6 months ago. Once I starting reading it... More
Good news for South Sudan

The Scramble for South Sudan.

In every challenge there is opportunity. In South Sudan, it will take decades to realize, but the promise there is clear as a bell. In the meantime, let's think of ways that t... More

Double Your ROI – Invest in a Woman!

Today, we are happy to celebrate The Girl Effect. Over the past decade, recognition that women are one of the world's greatest "untapped" resources has gained broad credibili... More
"...everything looks like a nail."

Look out Libya, the airport’s about to get crowded

The one thing the international community is good at is helping to hold elections. The next best thing they can do is build up police forces. After that, its utility per doll... More
Screen shot 2011-06-21 at 10.50.28 AM

An Open Letter to Global Soap Project

Wherein I try a different approach to fight the burgeoning waste of the SWEDOW industry. As my prairie-born grandmother used to say "You gather more flies with honey than vine... More
share

Share, listen & engage: A Peace Dividend Trust Blog

Starting today, Peace Dividend Trust is rolling out a new blogging platform where we share, listen and engage through voices from the field, guest bloggers and op-eds. We hope... More
admittingfailure

Move Fast, Break Things

The aid industry needs to move faster, break more things. Don't believe me? Listen to Warren Buffet.... More

What’s wrong with aid?

Why is aid broken? This animated video that we at Peace Dividend Trust created offers one explanation. Better yet, it offers a solution to make aid and peacekeeping more ef... More

Help! They’re cutting foreign aid…

It's budget season again in Washington. And again it reminds me of a Looney Tunes skit: Congress as Bugs, outwitting and outmaneuvering the aid world that is Daffy.... More
Thou Shalt Volunteer Wisely Or Risk the Holy Wrath of Chuck Heston (and various bloggers)

Volunteers vs Interns – Getting it Right

I still dislike volunteers, but I'm willing to concede a couple of points (grudgingly and without grace).... More
Steve Jobs? Geoffrey Canada? Same guy.

Arguing in Public – A Three Act Play

Wherein I greet our new Communications Director Elmira Bayrasli by publicly disagreeing with her.... More
From "Water Rights and Wrongs", UNHDR (2006).

Right message, right solution? The African Development Bank and Africa’s water crisis

The AfDB has accurately identified a serious crisis. What I am advocating for is a solution that does not repeat past mistakes while sufficiently addressing the problems at ha... More

Building Stuff in Afghanistan: the view from the ivory tower

Why does development theory matter? What can it tell us about building stuff in Afghanistan? Find out inside! ... More
Afghan_www-large

Hope & Progress on a Tuesday Morning

Norway is challenging aid orthodoxy. Melinda Gates fails to ask an important question. Berkeley is full of smart people. And there are some Afghan female entrepreneurs feeli... More

Till Bruckner is (partially) right, but so am I

Till Bruckner came back to me with a very thoughtful response at AidWatchers. In reading it, I found myself agreeing with much he said. This is because I am not suggesting h... More
DfID Chief Andrew Mitchell: Visionary or Villain?

Is DfID’s Andrew Mitchell A Visionary or a Villain?

DfID internal memos were leaked to The Observer, revealing that Andrew Mitchell, the new International Development Secretary, plans to renege on some 90 international aid comm... More

Folk Songs From the Aid Industry

Last week, in a flash of pique, I dashed off a blog entry welcoming the funding cut to a Canadian aid industry association which had been mostly funded by the Canadian Interna... More
Donors are a long way from 50%

The Aspirational (and imaginary) 50% Goal in Kabul

The draft communique from the donor meeting in Kabul has leaked. Tucked in among its 5900 words is a reaffirmation of their desire to channel 50% of donor spending through th... More
Screen shot 2010-06-24 at 5.29.11 PM

Unexpected Good News

Ban Ki Moon drops a (good) bombshell in Toronto: the world is on target to actually meet one of it's Millennium Development Goals, halving the number of people living in extre... More
Chairman Mao: Aid visionary

Chairman Mao knew how to improve aid

I’ve been recalling the period before I quit my job as a diplomat to launch Peace Dividend Trust. I was a rash thing to do. So, before I leapt, I cautiously tested the wat... More
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What Aid can learn from Hollywood

The movie going public understands that spending more isn't the secret to success. This weekend at Cannes, you won’t hear people demanding that Hollywood spend more money o... More
Don't Touch the Red Stapler

Not Wanted: Mercenaries, Missionaries, and Madmen

It’s hard to compete with Wall Street and even Main Street, when the most you can offer is a slightly higher salary, longer hours, some good med-evac insurance, and all the ... More

Bureaucrat Bob vs Bill Gates

I’m no fan of Bill Gates’ operating system, but I do like what he does with disease. Let me explain why. I came to the aid world from the government side. I was a diplo... More
blog 4 even smaller

How deep doth run the question of local procurement?

Welcome back readers! This week, Building Markets’ inquest will consider the impacts official development assistance (ODA) on local procurement. In the context of internatio... More
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Holy Cow! Aid industry gets hit by 8.5 richter scale quake.

Well I just about fell off my chair when hit by an email 20 minutes ago. How can an email shove me off a chair? It told me that the biggest aid actor in the world was about ... More
Presentation to Council of Ministers, Dili Timor-Leste, 20 April 2011.

“Welcome to Rwanda!”

Edward Rees discovers that Rwanda's rhetoric about being open for business is not just rhetoric.... More
Timor_www_CMYK

An Open Letter to Haiti’s President Martelly

In Haiti’s and elsewhere, again and again, the international community responds to war, tsunami, and earthquake the same way. Billions are pledged. Less is disbursed. And al... More
New aid work slogan?

Rethinking Efficiency

J. from Tales From the Hood thinks that the meaning of true efficiency in the NGO and aid sector is often misunderstood. "Aid costs what it costs," and being good stewards wit... More
David and Goliath

From “Independence”, to “Aid” Activism.

This story travels from Dili to Monrovia - with stops in Juba, Port-au-Prince, Kinshasa, Freetown and other tough places along the way. When occupied, the Timorese were indepe... More
UNIFIL Magazine October 2010

Buying Locally: A Spreading Ethos? UNIFIL, Norway and Xanana.

Well its moving around, popping up in Lebanon, moving quietly to Norway, the Special Committee on Peacekeeping Operations (known as the C34), and even in speeches given by lea... More

Considering Liberia’s Marketplace

The UN Security Council takes up the “matter” of Liberia again today. It’s been a while. The last time the Turtle Bay diplomats considered the West African nation still ... More

Aid & development: A few good posts

Notwithstanding Arab uprisings and Qaddafi rants, there has been a lot of good stuff on aid and development this week. Some of the must reads from this week. The best by far i... More

Challenging Down with the People

Last week PDT bossman Scott Gilmore went on a rant about volunteering. This week Habitat for Humanity Ireland's Executive Director Karen Kennedy sent us this response.... More

Down with people

I'm no fan of volunteers. And I have several angry reasons why.... More
And now, a word from our sponsors?

Bringing some sex appeal to the aid industry

Wherein I argue that the new, ridiculous, ABC doctor drama Off the Map will actually be good for the aid industry. I know, I can't believe I wrote that either.... More
42nd St. from the PDT office. Not the best place for a debate.

Aids vs Cancer. You choose.

Can the social benefit of condom distribution be gauged accurately enough that you could say “If we distribute 200,000 condoms in the Nyanza province of Kenya, it will preve... More
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Polman, Collier, and the Rational Actor Model

Aidwatch has another interesting post up, featuring David Zetland and his review of the review of Linda Polman's new book "Crisis Caravan". I made a snide remark about it on ... More
Latrines: Maslow would have found these very sexy

Maslow’s Pyramid of Needs and the aid industry

Every aid worker, ever donor, every UN manager needs to have a copy of Maslow's pyramid taped to his desk (or tattooed to their hands in the more stubborn cases.)... More

Useful Transparency vs Meaningless Paper Chasing

This is not a debate about transparency vs secrecy. It’s about meaningful transparency vs useless paper chasing. If the goal is to make aid more effective, to save more liv... More
Hmmm, not so generous.

I was WRONG WRONG WRONG

Earlier this week I stumbled across some data sets which seemed to tell me that in Canada and the US, conservative governments spend more on aid. In part, I was right. In an... More
Note the unmistakeable lack of a bottle

When donor cuts are a good thing

I think it’s great that CIDA has untied aid. This is one step closer to creating an aid industry where the best ideas get funded, not the coziest partners. And I think it... More
Poster 112

We told you buying local would work

About ten years ago, a group of aid workers and UN staff sat around a legendary bar called the Dili Club (it’s gone now, alas) and complained. Our gripes were many, but one... More
Space Program? No aid for you!

Today we’re fond of Andrew Mitchell

Here’s to you Andrew Mitchell. Ask questions. Demand answers. And when they don’t come, send your money elsewhere. Because what the developing world needs is not just ... More

The Aid Industry and Making Good Pencils

No one knows how to make a pencil. It looks simple, though. Wood. Graphite. Pink eraser. It’s not. There is the wood itself, which needs to be chosen for certain qualitie... More
Afghan First

“Shovelling S*%t Uphill”

In mid 2007 I told my boss in the Best Practices Section of the United Nations Department of Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO) in New York that I would be resigning in September ... More

Kim Kardashian Saves Haiti

Last year I gave a lecture at a Canadian university that culminated with one student standing up and shouting “This is bullshit!” before marching out. To be honest, while... More
Mr. Issa - please ask the Marines at Camp Pendleton.

Banditry in the US Congress? USAID vs. Contractors.

In the coming days the US Congressional Committee on Oversight and Reform is going to hear arguments for and against USAID efforts to reform how it distributes US taxpayers&#... More
Global Field Support Strategy

I do not do this often. “Dear UN: Much Belated Kudos!”

This doesn't happen often: Edward Rees offers kudos to the UN Mission in South Sudan. ... More
globalgiving

Beneficiaries, Idealism and Admitting Failure

If the goal of development aid is to eliminate the need for aid, then publicly admitting failure is a necessity.... More
Trolley Problem

Aid “Industry” vs Humanitarian “Relief”

Too often in the debate about development reform and aid effectiveness we get sloppy and lump humanitarian relief into the mix. We shouldn’t. It’s not an industry and shou... More
Charles Darwin was not an aid worker.

In Defence of Duplication, Waste, and Ineffeciency

The structure of the non-profit sector is fundamentally flawed. More competition among NGOs can only make things better.... More

The world will not be saved through spreadsheets

“Harvard MBAs,” a piece on Fortune magazine’s website read, are “putting goals of corporate domination aside,” and opting for careers in the non-profit and social ch... More

Celebrating Tax Day with Transparency

At the PDT offices we're celebrating Tax Day by showing you where our money goes and what it does when it gets there.... More

Oh Hell. This is so Freakin’ Good.

I often wondered about my peer group. Over beers, in my nightmares, as well as over long motorbike rides. My “wondering” has been answered! My very very sincere th... More

Humanitarian Aid, the chicken or the egg?

Found this article about Wipro CEO Azim H. Premji in today's NYT interesting. I had incidentally heard Premji speak earlier this week about his efforts to raise India's educa... More

World Vision: What are you seeing?

PDT is throwing its hat into the ring on the World Vision NFL T-Shirt debate. @good_intents (via @saundra_s) has an aggregated listing, thanks Saundra!... More
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Tax Dodging, Aid, and Afghanistan

The UN and donors grants ridiculous carte blanche tax breaks to its contractors and sub-contractors. In the case of the UN, the 1946 Convention which allegedly allows this, do... More
Executive Director Scott Gilmore being held accountable by PDT staff for his thought crimes and other counter-revolutionary failures.

PDT’s Failure Report 1.0

We're rolling out Failure Reports at PDT. I began drafting the guidelines for staff to draft their contributions, and then stopped and decided failure starts at the top. There... More

Walking on Sunshine

This is an odd blog posting. We often get knocked back by dinosaur donors, our own lack of capacity, and the fact that we lean forward hard. However, its all great fun. Thi... More
Henry Theil: Econometrician and measurer of UN dysfunction

Pareto Principle and the United Nations

They say 90% of the work at the United Nations is done by 10% of the people? Turns out this is a commonly observed phenomena and it even has a name.... More
Count Schools, Not Vodka Bottles

Overhead: Money to cause trouble

Investors and consumers don't buy Apple stock and Apple iPods because Steve Jobs spends very little on rent and salaries. They do so because Steve Jobs produces the best mp3 ... More
Yes, we have no transparency today.

Transparent, yes. But transparent what?

I find myself in the awkward position of disagreeing with Bill Easterly. Awkward, because a) he is very smart, b) he is very popular in the aid world, and c) I am a big fan.... More
Alan Neal - The CBC Host (who can take the interview anywhere he damn well pleases)

Advice to Donors on Spending Better

If Alan Neal had asked me the question the producer had asked (How can governments ensure their aid money is making a difference?) I would have cleared my throat, and in melli... More
So true.

It’s funny ’cause it’s true

There is a great little internet meme doing the rounds today. It's called "I Write Like" and the premise is simple. Cut and paste a sample of your writing, press ANALYZE, an... More
An Afghan ATM

Wall Street Journal gets it wrong (UPDATED)

There is an alarming Wall Street Journal article doing the rounds right now, and I don’t think the numbers add up. It states that $3.6 billion siphoned off of aid projects ... More
Quick!  If the Gulf oil spill were a continent it would be....?

Try Something, Anything: Aid Ideas and the Gulf Oil Spill

Imagine the oil spill as a metaphor for Africa. We’ve been trying junk shots for 50 years. It ain’t working. Time to try something else. ... More
SWEDOW Flowchart V2

Send, Sell, or Trash? Use the SWEDOW Flowchart (2.0)

Got a million t-shirts to give away? Aid mob hot on your heels? Don't know if you should send the shirts to Africa? Sell them? Trash them? Worry no more. This handy SWEDOW ... More

Donald Rumsfeld, Naked Joe, and Aid Data

In the bustling world of epistemology, however, Donald’s ramblings were not dementia, but a good summary of an important element of decision theory (which can be applied dir... More
Hand Relief International

Mystery man who is so funny, you cry

The staff at PDT have a new hero. His name is Dr. Kurtz, and every time he uploads a new blog post or tweets a new tweet, there is a buzz of joy that goes around the office. ... More

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