May 20, 2009

Poverty in Asia: Will the GFC cancel recent gains?

Peter McCawley

In addition to the current GFC (Global Finance Crisis) in the first world, there is a second global crisis which is the ongoing, long-term crisis of mass poverty in poor countries. And many people would say that there is a third crisis, more serious than either of these two: climate change. Progress in reducing poverty in developing Asia in recent decades has been highly correlated with high rates of economic growth. But how will the policy changes resulting from the GFC affect growth developing economies?Additionally, there seems to be a sharp clash between, on one hand, the need for developing countries to promote rapid economic growth, and on the other hand, the need for the world to change the patterns of energy consumption. The policy challenge is, somehow, to reconcile these two needs.
Download the full text of Peter McCawley's presentation to the Lowy Institute


April 01, 2009

Peer Group processes – good or bad for innovation?

Donor agencies, bilateral and multi lateral alike, have enthusiastically developed peer group processes that they claim lead to improved aid outcomes. No longer, so the new wisdom says, can a lone ranger jump ahead of their colleagues, dream up their own wacky project and push it on the poor of the world.

Undoubtedly there is truth in this. Sector specialist, external experts and contractor staff  can, and often must, participate in peer group meetings. Senior staff - often the task manager's (TM) boss - chairs the peer meetings. This all sounds very reasonable and has probably reduced the number of “dud” project/programs. But are donors now strangling innovation through an over controlled, lengthy and highly prescriptive process?

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February 19, 2009

A Case Study - Traning for Nurses in Mongolia and Indonesia

I would like to add to some of the points made in an earlier post by Colin, regarding the power of modern knowledge management tools and methods for capacity development, through a current example; A capacity building program on Mother and Child Health Education for Mongolian Youth, and Disaster Nusing Training Course for Indonesian and Timor Leste nurses.

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February 13, 2009

Capacity Building - in practice

Capacity building and capacity enhancement are two amongst a host of names for donor activities that aim to improve the workings of government and service delivery by increasing the effectiveness of bureaucracy. Most development professionals will say capacity building is at the heart of development but that it is terribly difficult. Traditionally capacity building activities will involve a study tour, training needs analysis, training programs and expert staff placement. The receiving agencies love them for the travel, per diem and the break from day-to-day work. Training institutions love them because it is easy money and the students are usually quiet and trouble free, companies love them because they get to place long term experts in the field which assists their bottom line.

So lots of money for something that does not work all that well. Perhaps the entire process is flawed...

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