Browse by Theme: Aid Effectiveness

A six foot badger wanders among dozens of undistracted police holding a placard, “I am innocent”. Security is called to disperse a furious mob of septuagenarians barred entry from a sell-out Brexit event where Conservative Party darling, Jacob Rees-Mogg, is headlining. Katie Hopkins arrives bewilderingly, among the conference suits and ties, in a wedding dress. And then the PM’s speech… It was a party conference which might fairly be described as ‘surreal’.

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It’s nearly the end of the school holidays and like parents around the world I’m getting my daughter ready for a new school year. While I iron a pile of new shirts, polish school shoes and track down bits of PE kit, I’m also very conscious of how lucky I am to have a good quality free primary school just down the road. My daughter has a well-qualified and caring teacher, she is required by law to be there every day and encouraged to participate fully in classes. There are no school fees and textbooks are provided. She has a healthy meal at lunchtime. Her gender is not a barrier to staying in school or being fully active in class.

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The Independent Commission for Aid Impact (ICAI) has recently published a report on DFID’s approach to supporting inclusive growth in Africa – A learning review. Given the major increase in DFID’s economic development budget over the last few years (to £1.8 billion in 2015-16 – more than doubling the amount spent in 2012-13) and the publication at the start of this year of DFID’s new Economic Development Strategy, ICAI’s review of the evidence being used to structure DFID’s spend and programming is timely. It aims to answer a question of great interest to CARE: how DFID manages the dilemma between focusing on transformational growth and ensuring that the poor are able to benefit from it.

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The Doing Development Different (DDD) community emerged in August 2014 and advocates that (a) the barriers to development are as much political as technical; (b) international development agencies therefore need to design programmes to be problem-driven, locally led, flexible and adaptive, and politically smart. As Duncan Green mentioned in his blog on 4 August, NGOs have turned up late to the party, but we are doing plenty on the ground that fits under the DDD umbrella. Plus, much of what is supposedly “different” are things we ought to be doing anyway.

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Having finished up a week of intense discussions on cash programming in Geneva earlier this month, I have to say that even I, a cash advisor who is avidly passionate about cash-based programming, am all “cashed out!” However, there is one major takeaway from the Global Cash Forum that I can’t help thinking about. I was struck by how much the discussion about how best to deliver cash at scale efficiently and effectively dominated the whole day – and for good reason.

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CARE International provides humanitarian and development assistance in 79 countries around the world. We are committed to evidence-based delivery, continuous improvement, value for money, and providing appropriate, flexible aid to communities. So cash was always going to be on the agenda for us.

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Given DFID’s commitment to the Global Goals and to labour standards (eg support of the ETI, guidance within CDC), why doesn’t DFID’s new Economic Development Strategy talk about Decent Work?

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