Out of tune with Malawi: Madonna’s wasted millions

Madonna's publicity: more to learn than she meant?

This Saturday, the front page of The Times read “Madonna digs £2.4m hole in the African ground”. The story described in painful detail how all this money had been wasted on a school project in Malawi. Not exactly value for money. The Guardian ran the same story:

“The managers of Madonna’s charity in Malawi have been ousted after they squandered $3.8m on a school that will never be built.
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Advice for the new aid watchdog

A few weeks ago, the Independent Commission for Aid Impact (ICAI) launched an open consultation “to understand which areas of UK overseas aid … the Commission should report on in its first three years”. Continue reading

Keystone Partner Survey: powerful new data on NGOs’ performance

If an NGO funds and supports local partners, how do you assess if it is doing a good job? Simple: ask them. It’s not the only way to measure performance, but it’s got to get you most of the way there. Better still, bring together a group of NGOs and use the same questions to ask their partners to rate each NGO’s performance. Then compare answers, so you can tell which NGO is doing better in which areas and which worse.

That’s exactly what Keystone did with their Partner Survey. (Disclosure: I was the project manager for this project and the report’s principal author.) The report was launched this month. It has two major findings: Continue reading