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Author Archives: Guest Blogger

Poverty: Is there an app for that?

by Tate Watkins. Tate is a research associate at George Mason University’s Mercatus Center.

Last week the World Bank issued a announced an upcoming event called Random Hacks of Kindness. Tech developers will gather at locations around the world to try to “create open solutions that can save lives and alleviate suffering.” Random Hacks of Kindness began in 2009 as a partnership between the World Bank, Google, Microsoft, Yahoo!, and NASA. Its goal

Posted in Aid policies and approaches, In the news | 21 Comments

Best and Worst of Official Aid 2011- new release

By Claudia Williamson, Post-Doctoral Fellow, Development Research Institute

Rhetoric on “aid effectiveness” keeps escalating, is there anything to show for it?

The past (almost) two years, Bill and I have been collecting data, combing through that data, and refining the numbers to ‘grade’ aid agencies and assess overall trends in aid practices. We waited until our paper passed peer review to release our findings. Rhetoric versus Reality: The Best and Worst of Aid Agency

Posted in Academic research, Accountability and transparency | 21 Comments

More Tales of Two Tails

The following post is by Dennis Whittle, co-founder of GlobalGiving. Dennis blogs at Pulling for the Underdog.

An eloquent 3 year-old would have been better asking “What the dickens are you talking about?  Who is defining success?  Who says failure is bad, anyway?” – Joe

Earlier I blogged about aid cheerleaders and critics. Each camp argues about the mean outcome of aid rather than the distribution of impact among projects. Both camps agree that some…

Posted in Aid debates, Metrics and evaluation | Tagged , , , , , , | 8 Comments

Memo to the WHO: Blocking health worker migration is not the answer

This guest post is written by Michael Clemens and Amanda Glassman.

Through this Sunday, April 17, the World Health Organization (WHO) is seeking comments on its plans to monitor compliance with a global code of practice on the international migration of doctors and nurses.

We think there are better, cost-effective ways to improve health workforces in developing countries than compliance with this code that is self-contradictory, unlikely to help the poor, and…

Posted in Academic research, Global health, Migration | 21 Comments

A Tale of Two Tails

The following post by Dennis Whittle is cross-posted from his blog Pulling for the Underdog. Dennis is co-founder of GlobalGiving.

This past weekend I took my three and a half year old son to Princeton to a colloquium on foreign aid.  Speaking were senior people from both the aid industry (including Raj Shah, Administrator of USAID) and academia (including Angus Deaton, one of the best professors I have ever had).  There was a spirited discussion of…

Posted in Aid policies and approaches | Tagged , , | 22 Comments

Has NGO advertising gone too far?

by Alanna Shaikh. Alanna is a global health professional who blogs at UN Dispatch and Blood and Milk.

Over the last couple of years, we have seen a lot of criticism of how international NGOs advertise and fundraise. There’s a new term – “poverty porn” – and a new emphasis on thinking seriously about the true impact of advertising.

I’ve heard three main arguments against oversimplified NGO advertising…

Posted in Organizational behavior | 25 Comments

Are celebrities good for development aid?

by Lisa Ann Richey and Stefano Ponte

Recent New York Times coverage of Madonna’s “Raising Malawi” school project has once again drawn attention to the role celebrities play in raising awareness and funds for international aid. But at the same time, the report—which chronicled the collapse of Madonna’s poorly-managed venture—brings negative exposure to “good causes” for Africa.

There was a similar case in January, when an Associated Press story on corruption in The Global

Posted in Academic research, Aid policies and approaches, Badvocacy and celebs | 34 Comments

State Department accountable through glossy photos

by Chris Coyne, F.A. Harper Professor of Economics at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University

Investors in the Kwality Kites Corporation gather to listen to the CEO’s ‘year in review’ presentation.

“In 2010,” begins the CEO, “we coordinated plans to deliver kites while supporting sustainable operations”

An investor raises her hand: “Can you tell us what you mean by ‘coordinated plans’ and ‘sustainable operations’ and what they have to do with…

Posted in Accountability and transparency | 6 Comments

The US has put its boot on the scale

by Natasha Iskander, Assistant Professor of Public Policy, NYU. 10:42 pm Saturday February 5. Professor Iskander is Egyptian-American and works on development in the Middle East and North Africa.

The millions of protestors have been clear: “The people want the fall of the regime! Mubarak leave!”  The responses of the US to unambiguous calls from the Egyptian people for the right to determine their own future have not only been deeply condescending, but also represent a…

Posted in Democracy and freedom, Organizational behavior | Tagged , | 11 Comments

Why development history matters for the Millennium Villages Project

by Ed Carr, Associate Professor in the Department of Geography at the University of South Carolina

A growing volume of critical writing on the Millennium Villages project (MVP) includes blog posts, journalistic piecesscholarly works, and, recently, one partial social impact study. Nearly all point to project outcomes that could have been avoided had the project seriously engaged with the long history of field-based experiences in development.

Here, I will focus on just…

Posted in Accountability and transparency, Aid policies and approaches | Tagged | 12 Comments