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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Theory of Change and Theory of Action: What’s the difference and why does it matter?

I have been fortunate enough to spend much of the last three months working on the designs of several health and governance programs across PNG, South Asia, and Africa. One thing that has struck me, regardless of which donor or country we work in, is the ongoing confusion in the aid industry regarding theories of …

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Video Available: From Thinking Politically to Working Politically – Are we Really Doing Development Differently?

The final workshop in the Abt Associates 'Innovations in Governance' series was held on Tuesday 18 June in Washington DC. The topic: from thinking politically to working politically - are we really doing development any different?  Moderated by Graham Teskey (Principal Global Lead - Governance, Abt Associates) the impressive list of speakers included: Duncan Green (Senior Strategic …

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Boundary riding, dual worlds and critical friends: reflections from the field

Ayesha from Papua New Guinea and Lilis from Indonesia* I sat down with Ayesha and Lilis (two rising stars from Abt-managed Australian Government funded aid projects in Indonesia and PNG) and said “tell me something interesting”. I was not disappointed. I was stuck by Ayesha’s idea of 'boundary riding’. Ayehsa – herself an Australian-Papua New …

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Take-up and Doubt: where have we got to on Thinking and Working Politically?

By Duncan Green of Oxfam and the brains behind From Poverty to Power Spent yesterday at a Washington workshop on ‘From Thinking Politically to Working Politically’, organized by Abt Associates, whose Graham Teskey is one of the TWP gurus. What struck me most was the combination of the spreading acceptance of TWP approaches within the aid …

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Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning for Complex Programs in Complex Contexts: Three Facility Case Studies

By Tara Davda and Lavinia Tyrrel Aid is complex, and it is delivered in complex contexts. Any seasoned development practitioner would agree with this. For most of us, aid is about supporting positive change, and change necessarily means a renegotiation of power and resources. It means understanding the interests, motivations and incentives of those with …

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Women in the Australian international aid sector

*Blog originally posted on 8/3/19 (International Women's Day)  Today is International Women’s Day (IWD). A day to celebrate women’s achievements, and forge a more gender-balanced world. Abt Associates’ aid programs overseas are marking this day with events in country. These events bring focus to the tireless efforts of the men, women, local organisations, governments, donors …

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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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Getting Past the Rhetoric #2: Managing for ‘Thinking and Working Politically’ in Large Facilities

The first blog discussed what donors could be looking for at tender, to ensure bidders can actually ‘do TWP’ in practice. This blog looks at what it takes for donors to incentivise TWP once implementation has begun. Drawing on our experiences mobilizing and managing three big facilities in Indonesia, Timor Leste and PNG, here’s what I …

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Getting Past the Rhetoric #1 : Tendering for ‘Thinking and Working Politically’ in Large Facilities

It is commonplace to now find tenders littered with references to ‘thinking and working politically’ (TWP). This leadership from donors is a good thing, but it also poses new challenges. Specifically: When the bids roll in, how might donors discern who has the operational and programmatic capabilities to actually ‘do TWP’ in practice? And; What …

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Reflecting on Front-line Service Delivery in Timor Leste

By Bobby Anderson This blog accompanies the launch of our fourth working paper: found here. A researcher who spends long enough in Timor-Leste’s capital, Dili, will likely develop an impression of the countryside where most Timorese live, based on what many civil servants and development workers describe. Dire claims coalesce around a key set of …

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