About Aid Watch
The Aid Watch blog is a project of New York University's Development Research Institute (DRI). This blog is principally written by William Easterly, author of "The Elusive Quest for Growth: Economists' Adventures and Misadventures in the Tropics" and "The White Man's Burden: Why the West's Efforts to Aid the Rest Have Done So Much Ill and So Little Good," and Professor of Economics at NYU. It is co-written by Laura Freschi and by occasional guest bloggers. Our work is based on the idea that more aid will reach the poor the more people are watching aid.
"Conscience is the inner voice that warns us somebody may be looking." - H.L. Mencken
Tag Archives: USAID
by Till Bruckner, PhD candidate at the University of Bristol and former Transparency International Georgia aid monitoring coordinator. Sixteen months after I first filed a Freedom of Information Act request with USAID for the budgets of American-financed NGO projects in Georgia, I have reached the end of the road. Rejecting my appeal, USAID has confirmed that[…..]
Editor’s note: Aid Watch asked InterAction for a contribution to the debate originally sparked by Till Bruckner’s post The accidental NGO and USAID transparency test. See below for a list of all related posts. Statement from Barbara J. Wallace, InterAction’s Vice President of Membership and Standards, on NGO Accountability Washington, DC (September 27, 2010)—InterAction appreciates the active[…..]
Editor’s note: Aid Watch asked HAP for a contribution to the debate originally sparked by Till Bruckner’s post The accidental NGO and USAID transparency test. See below for a list of all related posts. The HAP (Humanitarian Accountability Partnership) Secretariat is encouraged that issues of NGO accountability are being discussed in fora such as this, and[…..]
AidWatch received the following statement from CARE regarding Till Bruckner’s AidWatch post on USAID and NGO transparency: Statement from CARE (Aug. 30, 2010): Contrary to what Till Bruckner suggested in a recent blog, CARE did not withhold information in response to his FOIA request to USAID regarding certain projects in the Republic of Georgia. Our[…..]
The following post was written by Till Bruckner, PhD candidate at the University of Bristol and former Transparency International Georgia aid monitoring coordinator. An op-ed from Bill in Monday’s Wall Street Journal mentioned Till’s struggles with USAID; here Till provides the details. The aid industry routinely pushes institutions in developing countries to become more transparent and accountable.[…..]
UPDATE: UN Dispatch disagrees, we respond (see end of post). Although the eight goals that seek to reduce the global burden of hunger, poverty and disease were agreed upon by aid donors almost 10 years ago, and most of the goals come due in 2015, the world’s largest donor has never had a strategy to[…..]
This post was written by Alanna Shaikh. Alanna is a global health professional who blogs at UN Dispatch and Blood and Milk. We’ve spent the last few years watching the best donors and NGOs get more and more committed to the idea of measurable impacts. At first, the trend seemed unimpeachable. International donors have spent far too much[…..]
…[I] request elucidation of my instructions from His Majesty’s Government so that I may better understand why I am dragging an army over these barren plains. I construe that perforce it must be one of two alternative duties, as given below. I shall pursue either with the best of my ability, but I cannot do[…..]
The following post was written by Till Bruckner, PhD candidate at the University of Bristol and former Transparency International Georgia aid monitoring coordinator. Are you ashamed of your organization’s budgets? Do you think your supporters would be shocked if they could see exactly how you are spending their money? Do you feel the need to[…..]
The optimistically-titled document is the draft output of the Presidential Study Directive (known as the PSD-7), ordered by the Obama Administration nine months ago as a government-wide review of global development policy, and conducted by the National Security Council and the National Economic Council.
The document proposes to “elevate development” as a “key pillar of US foreign policy.” How so? The most significant change in the draft is the creation of interagency committee reporting to the President to run US development policy. This would essentially pull responsibility for development away from State, (where it has been since Condoleeza Rice initiated the mysterious-sounding “F process” in 2006), although not completely since the USAID Administrator would still report to the Secretary of State.
Meanwhile, the State Department is also promising to “elevate development” as a “central pillar of all that we do in our foreign policy.” The State Department’s own review of development policy, called the Quadrennial Diplomacy and Development Review (QDDR to close friends) has not yet been published (or leaked), but will most likely not propose that State relinquish budget and policy planning authority over USAID.
What would be the best outcome for the people around the world on the receiving end of America’s imperfect largesse? Will it make any difference which one of these plans wins out in the upcoming political turf battles? One thing’s for sure, US foreign aid reform has a long and inglorious history, and tinkering at the margins (or stirring the spaghetti bowl, as a recent Oxfam editorial put it) will only make things worse.