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Monthly Archives: April 2011

All Cups, No Tea

Another humanitarian hero has tumbled off his pedestal.

It remains to be seen whether Greg Mortenson, author of the best-selling “Three Cups of Tea,” will be able to avert a total reputation meltdown. But last Sunday’s 60 Minutes broadcast and a thorough exposé by Jon Krakauer provide convincing evidence for some serious allegations…

Posted in Accountability and transparency, Aid policies and approaches, In the news | Tagged , , , | 32 Comments

Inception Statistics

We’ve had a lot of very heated debates on this blog about the uses and abuses of global statistics—most recently on estimates of poverty, maternal mortality, and hunger—with a certain senior Aid Watch blogger inciting the ire of many (not least those who produce the figures) by calling them “made-up.”

A new study in the Lancet about the tragic problem of stillbirths raises similar questions: If stillbirths have been erratically and…

Posted in Academic research, Data and statistics, Global health | 19 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

If North Dakota were Zambia…

The Wall Street Journal had an article yesterday about the emptying out of the middle of the US. Controlling for ethnicity, the picture below shows in the darkest shades of red the greatest declines in the white population from 2000 to 2010:

What if we had a law that everybody had to stay in their home state? What if North Dakotans had to stay in North Dakota despite the collapsing economy there? Then…

Posted in Migration | 24 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

Nation not part of “Democratic Revolt” international media story presumptuously holds election

A nation that does not fit into the media narrative on the Worldwide or Arab-wide Democratic Revolution went ahead and held an election today.

Leading media representatives complained that there was no room for media attention to the historic, pivotal election in the nation of 74 million registered voters. “I mean there are no Arabs in Niger, are there?” said leading journalist Woodscott Tarleton. “We can barely keep up remembering the capitals of all those Arab countries like Iran.”

Voters…

Posted in In the news, Satire and parodies | 16 Comments

World Bank to Bloggers: Drop Dead

UPDATE: Bill receives WDR2011 in Sunday 12:30pm email from World Bank. Should we complain now that he is getting special treatment?

This morning we learned that the World Bank does not consider bloggers journalists. According to Bank policy, it won’t give press accreditation to bloggers, denying them access to the media briefing center where new reports are released under embargo before they are published for the public.

In this case, the report we won’t be…

Posted in Meta, Technology | Tagged | 27 Comments

Finally, the definitive guide to creatively manufacturing your own research result

From the brilliant xkcd (also the creator of this classic in statistics humor).

We couldn’t resist using this as a way to illustrate some of our early wonky posts complaining about the suspected practice of “data mining” in aid research.

In aid world, research looks for an association of some type between two factors, like economic growth and foreign aid. But since both growth and aid contain some random variation, there is…

Posted in Academic research, Data and statistics | 11 Comments

Aid Watch Government Shutdown Edition

UPDATE 12 noon: Comments show today we are in one of those dysfunctional audience relationship posts: we assume you can read our minds, and you assume we are idiots (see end of post).

Here at Aid Watch we are definitely NOT interested in contributing to the partisan diatribe gaining force on BOTH sides of the aisle.  We do wonder if the prospect of the US government shut down (still looming at time…

Posted in In the news | 16 Comments