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

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

Hats off to Oxfam. But are they asking the right question?

Oxfam GB has just published their first project effectiveness reviews.

Impressively, they’re available on line, telling an unvarnished story of what Oxfam achieved in 26 projects, along with the problems they’ve faced. This is great transparency. It’s also great for other NGOs to learn from their experience. So hats off to Oxfam! Continue reading

Plan’s Performance Agenda: What do you think?

Plan staff near a field in Guatemala

I work with Plan International now. In July, we held a seminar on our new Performance Agenda, which is based on the ideas set out on this website. 27 experts met in London, to talk it over and kick the tyres.

Our aim is to ensure that field staff are more accountable to (a) local communities, (b) managers and (c) donors – all through one coherent approach. It focuses mainly on managing the quality of assistance we provide (which is in our control), rather than long term impact (which is not). Continue reading

Watermelons, development projects and square boxes

Square watermelons from Japan. If only people grew in square boxes too.

Here’s a great story that shows why people are not like watermelons (see picture): they won’t grow in square boxes.

It’s a perfect example of the pitfalls of logframes. In this case, the logframe created the wrong incentives for field managers. They didn’t pay enough attention to what other people were doing. So although the team completed all their activities, they didn’t achieve their goals. Continue reading