Five lessons from the UK’s Independent Commission on Aid Impact

Traffic lightThe UK’s Independent Commission on Aid Impact (ICAI) published another fascinating review of DFID’s work this month. It’s well worth a look, for their methods as much as their findings.

This one was on DFID’s Contribution to the Reduction of Child Mortality in Kenya. (Good summary here from the Guardian.)

It builds on an impressive few years work. ICAI have developed a sensitive approach to systematically assessing a wide range of programmes. And some practical tools others in the sector may be able to learn from. Their work is not perfect. But it’s the result of a lot of thoughtful investment and looks pretty good from the outside. Continue reading

Easy ways for philanthropic donors to see if they’re doing well

A re-post from the Social Impact Analysts Association. The excellent and experienced Caroline Fiennes from Giving Evidence describes simple ways for funders to measure their performance. The ideas are widely applicable to NGOs.

The approach is based on exactly the same principle as this site: focus on your performance, not their impact. I also loved some of Caroline’s other blogs, like Most Charities Shouldn’t Evaluate Their Work: Part One Why not?

Caroline Fiennes
Some skiers are better than others. Some singers are better than others. The same for teaching, nursing and curling. So it seems reasonable to suppose that some people are better at supporting charities than others.

Continue reading

Certifying NGOs … again! What are the lessons from last time?

Where did the tracks lead last time?

Where do the tracks go?

Have you seen the current call for comments on a new initiative to certify humanitarian organisations?

It’s a big deal. It aims to ‘professionalise the humanitarian sector’. It’s backed by the Steering Committee for Humanitarian Response (a group of 9 big independent humanitarian organisations) and some major donors.

The discussion paper makes specific proposals. Feedback is sought on whether they are “feasible, achievable and would meet the requirements of the sector”. Revised deadline for comments: 22nd November. Continue reading

State of the art resource: Keystone’s technical note

Newsflash! A great new resource has just been published on how to get – and use – powerful feedback from the people NGOs work with.

It’s Keystone’s first Technical Note on Constituent Voice methodology: required reading for anyone interested in feedback systems in NGOs. Continue reading

Wonks make peace not war?

keep-calm-and-make-peace-not-war-11A follow up post on the “wonkwar” between 3ie and the Big Push Forward about measuring the results of aid.

Duncan Green said it was the most read ever debate on his blog. As ever, his summary was balanced and readable – great attributes in this war of words!

Last week, I went to 3ie’s public lecture in London on evidence-based development (watch it on video). And today I popped in to the Big Push Forward conference in Brighton. Continue reading

Client Satisfaction Saves Lives

ICCO cartoon2ICCO has recently published reports of their impressive pilots on Client Satisfaction Instruments. It’s a wonderful example of a serious pilot by an NGO on client feedback – and a great contribution to sector-wide learning.

Thank you, ICCO!

From 2009-12, they ran pilots with partners in Malawi and Ethiopia, and generated some fantastic results. Continue reading

World Food Programme: “Beneficiary Contact Monitoring”

WFP

WFP at work: listening or directing?

A colleague just passed me the World Food Programme’s guidelines on Beneficiary Contact Monitoring.

The idea looks terrific: “Beneficiary Contact Monitoring is a systematic investigation to monitor beneficiaries’ – women’s, men’s, girls’ and boys’ – perceptions of an operation.”

I like the sound of this, particularly coming from a major UN agency. Continue reading

Owen Barder: Could Britain’s New Aid Transparency be a Game-Changer?

Owen BarderThis is a re-blog from a post by Owen Barder of the Center for Global Development on 7th December 2012. It describes how DFID is substantially improving aid transparency. Their leadership lays down a challenge to all major NGOs to follow suit.

Christmas came early yesterday for anyone interested in seeing more effective and accountable aid, with an announcement from DFID which has raised the bar for aid transparency. Continue reading

Time to Listen by Dayna Brown and Mary B Anderson

Time to listenHave you seen the great, new, free book: Time to Listen, by Mary B Anderson, Dayna Brown and Isabella Jean. It presents a vast research exercise on what the people who receive aid say about our work. It’s a powerful critique and evidence that we – as NGOs and donors – ignore at our peril.

The researchers listened to 6,000 people who live in countries that receive aid. This serious effort was undertaken from 2005 to 2009, by the consistently thoughtful CDA Collaborative Learning Projects. (Mary B Anderson is the author of Do No Harm.) Continue reading

World Bank leaders: fix our broken staff incentives

Doing a good job – or just moving the money?

Did you see this blog from two World Bank heavy hitters? Recognizing and rewarding the best development professionals

It’s kind of a crazy idea (from an NGO perspective). But the interesting part is their diagnosis of the problem. Continue reading