Social Accountability from the Trenches: 6 Critical Reflections

Guest post by Gopa Kumar Thampi of The Asia Foundation There is a clearly a surge in social accountability initiatives across the globe today. From informal expressions at the grassroots to entrenched voices in corridors of power, the social accountability multiverse has become stronger and diverse. It wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say that we are indeed witnessing the rise of an ‘audit society’ that animates …

Links I Liked

Thomas Hobbes’s final exam paper questions, Magdalen College, Oxford, 1608, h/t Will Davies The interwebs were buzzing with a brilliant new Ethiopia paper from Chris Blattman and Stefan Dercon: ‘Everything We Knew About Sweatshops Was Wrong‘ According to a World Bank survey of 10,000 influencers in over 40 countries, their top development priority is governance (↑ rapidly in recent years) Why do some jobs (& …

Links I Liked

Thomas Hobbes’s final exam paper questions, Magdalen College, Oxford, 1608, h/t Will Davies The interwebs were buzzing with a brilliant new Ethiopia paper from Chris Blattman and Stefan Dercon: ‘Everything We Knew About Sweatshops Was Wrong‘ According to a World Bank survey of 10,000 influencers in over 40 countries, their top development priority is governance (↑ rapidly in recent years) Why do some jobs (& …

Guardian launches important new Website on Inequality

The Guardian launched a promising new website on inequality this week, edited by Mike Herd. ‘Over the coming year, the Guardian’s Inequality Project – supported by the Ford Foundation – will try to shed fresh light on these and many more issues of inequality and social unfairness, using in-depth reporting, new academic research and, most importantly, insights from you, our audience, wherever you are in the world …

How far has DFID got in implementing ‘Doing Development Differently’ ideas on the ground?

I’ve been banging on about the ‘Doing Development Differently’ movement for a few years now. Initially driven by big bilateral donors frustrated with the failure rate of old school project approaches, especially in trying to ‘build states’ and reform governments , DDD advocates ‘politically smart and locally led’ approaches, avoiding cookie cutter ‘best practice’, while staying sufficiently aware and adaptive to learn and tweak your …

Pragmatism and its discontents: Brian Levy’s brilliant review essay on How Change Happens

Brian Levy, governance guru and author of Working with the Grain, recently published this magisterial essay on his blog. Nominally a review of How Change Happens (chuffed, naturally), it goes way beyond to provide a powerful critique of the aid/development/progressive consensus in light of the events of the last year. Enjoy. At times in the last few years”, writes Duncan Green in his recent book How Change Happens,  “it has …

Pragmatism and its discontents: Brian Levy’s brilliant review essay on How Change Happens

Brian Levy, governance guru and author of Working with the Grain, recently published this magisterial essay on his blog. Nominally a review of How Change Happens (chuffed, naturally), it goes way beyond to provide a powerful critique of the aid/development/progressive consensus in light of the events of the last year. Enjoy. At times in the last few years”, writes Duncan Green in his recent book How Change Happens,  “it has …

What do we know about ‘online gig work’ in developing countries?

What do we know about ‘online gig work’ in developing countries? Until recently, all I’d read about was the bizarre world of gold farming – gamers in East Asia (even prisoners in Chinese labour camps) playing to accumulate credits they could then sell on to lazy Western players. A new report from the Oxford Internet Institute filled me in on where the phenomenon has got …

How could a ‘life cycle analysis’ help aid organizations engage better with the public?

Following on the post (and great comments) about whether Oxfam should get serious on changing social norms, I’ve been thinking about a ‘life cycle analysis’ approach to INGOs’ engagement with the public. The starting point is that at different ages, people have different assets and constraints (eg disposable time, cash, openness to new ideas). Obviously, one shouldn’t generalize – not all 20, 40 or 80 …

Improving collaboration between practitioners and academics: what to do? (with a little help from Einstein)

Previous posts in this 3 part series explored the obstacles to INGO-academic collaboration, and the lessons of systems thinking. This final post suggests some ways forward (with some sarcastic asides from Einstein) Based on all of the above, a number of ideas emerge for consideration by academics, INGOs and funders of research. Suggestions for academics Comments on the blogposts that formed the basis for this …