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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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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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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Playing in the sand-box or the tar-pit? Supporting politically-informed programming in large ‘Facilities’

As I exited my last position at The Asia Foundation, William Cole challenged me to: …report back in a year and tell me if its possible to think and work politically in high-value, multi-sector facility mechanisms So, after our involvement in three such 'Facilities' over the last 12-18 months[1], what is the verdict? Are we …

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Divide and Conquer: Citizen Voice without Contested Politics

By Rebecca Haines In the development community, we typically interpret a government pushing for greater decentralisation as a positive step for governance reform and an opening for greater citizen participation and voice. Donors invest considerable funds in supporting the decentralisation processes of global governments, and NGOs focus energy and resources on preparing citizens to influence …

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Governance, Foreign Policy and Populism – All the Fun things

From Australia and Canada’s decision to integrate their development agencies, to the resurgence of nationalism in the UK and US and the flat-lining of public support for aid (see below graph from IDS) – major bilateral donors are increasingly bringing aid closer to the heart of government operations. As a result, the ‘old’ aid policy …

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