Tag: "waste" in Building Markets

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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
Buy Local Build Afghanistan

US government success touted as failure in Afghanistan

Some amazing good news was wrapped up in what appeared to be some shocking bad news today. Politico, AP, ABC, and others are reporting that a jaw dropping $360m of US govt mon... 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

Down with people

I'm no fan of volunteers. And I have several angry reasons why.... More
Rory in Kabul

Liberalism, Rory Stewart, and Overreaching Aid

As with the aid industry's insistence on inverting Maslow's pyramid of needs, we have sought to overextend ourselves in thinking that good governance projects can cure everyt... 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
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
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

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
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

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
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
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

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
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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

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
"...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
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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
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
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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
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
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
Famous? Need to save the world? Start here!

Celebrity? Need to save the world? Start here.

There are unwritten rules to Celebrity Aid. For example, if Tina Fey showed up in Haiti cursing about the slow UN deployment, it just wouldn’t be right. Or if Kim Kardashi... 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

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