There is an ongoing conversation in the development community, certainly amongst donors, about the need to make sure that aid is well spent and reaches the people it is intended to help. Most recently the UK shared its vision for international development, highlighting Value for Money and the use of results-based approaches.
Apparently, Freedom from Hunger, the non-profit behind the End4Hunger campaign, didn't get the memo about making over-the-top claims on behalf of microcredit (let alone any type of aid). The ad below appeared in my Gmail account just a few hours ago.
Humanitarian aid is not a standard topic for the PSD Blog, but I ran across a post recently on the disaster in Haiti that cuts across a lot of themes. Over at iRevolution, Patrick Philip Meier discusses the tension between those who helped crowdsource information related to the disaster -- what he calls the crowd-sorcerers -- and the formal humanitarian aid organizations -- playfully called "muggles".
Around the world, aid from international donors buys textbooks, hires teachers, and opens schools - all worthy and necessary contributions in the fight to educate every child. But largely, the development equation remains fundamentally the same.
A new book presented at the World Bank recently by the Center for Global Development flips that equation on its head with proposed progress-based aid for education. In essence, the idea entails paying a country not for inputs such as pencils or classrooms - but once each child educated passes certain bars such as completion of his or her grade level.
This month's edition of The Atlantic contains an excellent profile of economist Paul Romer and his campaign to create charter cities. Money quote:
Bill Easterly argues that development is about creating problem-solving systems, and not just individual solutions or interventions for specific problems (e.g. malaria, access to finance, etc.). The whole post is worth reading in full, but here is a snippet:
OK, the title is deliberatively provocative. But I found a coincidence of two blog posts last week to be quite powerful. Last week we had a blog post from Dave Snowden that challenged the "data to information, information to knowledge and wisdom" continuum that has informed so many of the knowledge management efforts in the non-profit and public sector: