Covid + w@h + Zoom = a big change for TA and Managing Contractors?

Starting…. In a recent edition of the New Yorker, Lawrence Wright considered how major crises through history have tended to bring about profound social change as people were forced to think differently.[1] So, now is a good time to consider the extent to which the shock of Covid and the resultant need to w@h (work …

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The paradoxes of the long-distance governance adviser

By Graham Teskey A Governance Advisor's notebook: Alternative ideas and Approaches In 2014, an idea was hatched in the Paris-based GovNet. Yes really. At that time, David Yang, now Vice President at the United States Institute for Peace, and I were GovNet’s two co-chairs. Alan Whaites, a senior governance adviser on secondment from DFID, was …

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The FCDO: aid as a force for good or for the UK’s commercial and security interests? A view from Down Under

Credit: The Guardian Australia In July 2013, the distinguished British writer and philosopher, Julian Baggini, had a piece published in the Guardian newspaper entitled ‘In Praise of Cynicism’. The key excerpt is shown on the right. I have quoted this many times since in presentations, and it always raises eyebrows. Development practitioners consider themselves optimists. …

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Covid has put Governance at the heart of debates on Development, but how has it changed the questions we ask?

The aim of this blog is to suggest ways in which the ‘governance discourse’ (what a grand term!) is changing – indeed has already changed - as a result of Covid-19. I know that blogs are supposed to be discursive and informal. Recently our office was privileged to have a session with that master-blogger, Duncan …

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But what about Australian aid in five years’ time?

In his blog of June 4, Stephen Howes said that there was a lot to about DFAT’s new ‘Partnerships for Recovery’ strategy. There was also a lot to like about Stephen’s blog. He ended by suggesting that the strategy was too tentative to be convincing. My concern is different – it is too short-term to …

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Thoughts on the demise of DFID – a governance adviser’s perspective

By Graham Teskey The only thing that surprised DFID staff regarding its recent absorption into the FCO was the timing of the decision. With Covid-19 at something of a global peak staff perhaps expected a temporary reprieve.  Still, a crisis is always a good time to bury bad news. So DFID lasted 23 years. I …

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The Worry of Governance: Coronavirus and Emergency Politics

By Graham Teskey You can also find a version of this blog on the Abt Associates website Pandemics are depressingly common in human history. We all know about the plague, cholera and the Spanish ’flu. What Dani Rodrick called ‘hyper-globalisation’ has stormed across the world since the end of the cold war and has resulted …

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Are we divorced yet – or just arguing?

Somebody once said (George Bernard Shaw or Oscar Wilde would be pretty good guesses), that America and England are two countries separated by the same language. I have similar sensations on the (thankfully few) occasions I attend annual conferences on this, that or the other. As the Australian National University’s (ANU) Annual Australasian Aid Conference …

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TWP means ddd after all

I had the privilege this week helping deliver a workshop where ten programs and half a dozen different international managing contractors sat together in order to consider the progress being made in implementing the thinking and working politically agenda. What made the day particularly interesting was that all these different programs are being funded by …

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Elbows on the table, traffic and institutions

I have always been interested in institutions[1], although I haven’t always been aware of it. As a child I remember wondering about the logic which underlay the admonition to keep one’s elbows off the dining table.  I never dared ask, as my father was somewhat authoritarian. I remember thinking to myself, well, who says so? …

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Adaptive management: why we find it so hard to operationalise

Adaptive Management – what’s in a word? It’s striking how important words are. USAID calls it Adaptive Management, DFAT calls it Thinking and Working Politically, DFID calls it Politically Informed Programming, and the World Bank just ignores it altogether. More seriously – what is at issue here? At heart, I would argue that this agenda …

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