Podcast: Are managing contractors the problem, or the solution?

Interview with Jacqui De Lacey Facilities are often misunderstood by the development community and have been subject to a number of criticisms, including high transaction costs, excessive complexity and for adding an necessary layer of administration between DFAT and the delivery of aid and development funding. In this podcast (recorded with Rachel Mason Nunn for …

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PEA Update 3: PEA Case studies (grouped by level of analysis – global, regional, country, sector – and problem driven PEA within a sector)

This blog forms part of a series of internal PEA updates compiled by Priya Chattier and Tara Davda, and with general wisdom by Graham Teskey and Lavinia Tyrrel. Thanks to Leisa Gibson for GESI support. We will aim to publish these every fortnight or so. Watch this space. Political economy analysis (PEA) is important for …

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‘Speed dating’ for MERL and adaptive management wonks

Online networking for stir-crazy development workers in lock-down is apparently a thing now. Being led, at least in Australia, by the Research for Development Impact Network (RDI) – it’s a bit like speed dating, but without the awkward silences and musty pub smell. The most recent event focused on Monitoring, Evaluation, Research and Learning (MERL). …

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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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Sticky notes, sweaty advisors and rigging the log frame: just who is accountable for delivering aid outcomes?

We're all been there. Endless hours of writing in big black pens on butcher’s paper. Plastering colourful sticky notes to windows. Eating too many unhealthy local snacks (always in individual wrapping). And drinking excessive cups of 3 in 1[1].  What am I talking about? The simultaneously dreaded and revered theory of change workshop. Figure 1: …

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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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PEA Update 2 : “Thinking politically” – PEA framing and tools

This blog forms part of a series of internal PEA updates compiled by Priya Chattier and Tara Davda, and with forewords (and general wisdom) by Graham Teskey and Lavinia Tyrrel. Thanks to Leisa Gibson for GESI support. We will aim to publish these every fortnight or so. Watch this space. It’s all about the framing …

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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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One book, two blokes, many small bets, and some spectacular outcomes

By Graham Teskey A remarkable book has just been published written by two remarkable blokes about a remarkable program. The book tells the story of an Australian-funded institutional reform initiative in the Philippines that did development differently well before the geeks at Harvard (sorry Matt) invented the term. The book is called “Thinking and Working …

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PEA Update 1: What is Political Economy Analysis (PEA) and why does it matter in development?

By Graham Teskey, Priya Chattier and Tara Davda Political economy analysis (PEA) refers to a body of theory and practice that was first identified by the great economists of the 18th and 19th centuries. Indeed, economics was originally termed ‘political economy’. It was only when mathematics intruded that the word ‘political’ was dropped. Political economy …

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Online networking event | Evidence-based practice: what’s next?

When: Wednesday 16 September 2020 4pm – 5.30pm AEST Where: via Zoom In a post COVID-19 world, budgets are tighter, grants and consultancies are (even) more competitive. The pressure to demonstrate ‘real-world impact’ and ‘reach’ is at odds with real-life time pressures and budget lines. In policy, the Partnerships for Recovery is committed to “monitoring, evaluation, research, learning and …

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Achieving strategic integration for the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO): is a portfolio approach the answer?

By Vishal Gadhavi and Lavinia Tyrrel The UK Government has a short window of opportunity to make the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) and Department for International Development (DFID) merger work. But this means learning from one key mistake made by its antipodean cousin (Australia): operational integration does not automatically lead to strategic integration. A …

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