So What do I take Away from The Great Evidence Debate? Final thoughts (for now)

admin - February 7, 2013

…of you that missed the wonk-war, we had an initial critique of the results agenda from Chris Roche and Rosalind Eyben, a take-no-prisoners response from Chris Whitty and Stefan Dercon, then a final salvo from Roche and Eyben + lots of comments and an online poll. Epic.) On the debate itself, I had a strong sense that it was unhelpfully entrenched throughout – the two sides were largely talking past each other,  accusing each other of ‘straw…

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‘Stuff happens’: the risks of a results agenda. Guest post from Rosalind Eyben

admin - March 15, 2011

…asked two people who think about this a lot more than I do to set out some competing arguments. First up is Ros Eyben, who got a big and largely positive response to her recent challenge to the dumber/more extreme varieties of value-for-moneyism. Tomorrow the ODI’s Claire Melamed responds. Please join in the debate. “The UK’s development ministry (DFID) has just completed a review of its bilateral aid programme. The Secretary of State for Interna…

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Evidence and results wonkwar final salvo (for now): Eyben and Roche respond to Whitty and Dercon + your chance to vote

admin - January 24, 2013

In this final post (Chris Whitty and Stefan Dercon have opted not to write a second installment), Rosalind Eyben and Chris Roche reply to their critics. And now is your chance to vote (right) – but only if you’ve read all three posts, please. The comments on this have been brilliant, and I may well repost some next week, when I’ve had a chance to process. Let’s start with what we seem to agree upon: Unhappiness with ‘experts’…

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The evidence debate continues: Chris Whitty and Stefan Dercon respond from DFID

admin - January 23, 2013

Yesterday Chris Roche and Rosalind Eyben set out their concerns over the results agenda. Today Chris Whitty (left), DFID’s Director of Research and Evidence and Chief Scientific Adviser and Stefan Dercon (right), its Chief Economist, respond. It is common ground that “No-one really believes that it is feasible for external development assistance to consist purely of ‘technical’ interventions.” Neither would anyone argue that power,…

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International Aid and the Making of a Better World: a great new book

Duncan Green - July 30, 2014

Ros Eyben makes retirement look terribly exhausting. No sooner had I reviewed her book on feminists in development organizations than another appeared. This one is a little (170 page) gem. International Aid and the Making of a Better World interweaves her own life story with the evolution of the aid system, in which she is both a participant and a ferocious critic. And although it recounts her battles and probably takes down her enemies in the…

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Is ‘thinking and working politically’ compatible with results? Should advocacy ever be done in secret? Big questions at the LSE this week.

Duncan Green - July 4, 2014

…myself on a fun panel at LSE discussing ‘can politics and evidence work together?’  with Mary Kaldor (LSE), Ros Eyben (IDS) and Steven Rood (The Asia Foundation – TAF has a really interesting partnership with LSEto study its use of theories of change). Early last year, I promised to revisit the topic after this blog hosted an epic debate on the politics of evidence between some top DFID people and (in the sceptic corner), Ros Eyben (again)…

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The political implications of evidence-based approaches (aka start of this week’s wonkwar on the results agenda)

admin - January 22, 2013

…itical implications of evidence-based approaches The debate on evidence and results continues to rage. Rosalind Eyben and Chris Roche, two of the organiser’s of next April’s Big Push Forward conference on the Politics of  Evidence, kick off a discussion. Tomorrow Chris Whitty, DFID’s Director of Research and Evidence and Chief Scientific Adviser, and Stefan Dercon, its Chief Economist, respond Distinct from its more general usage of w…

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If not results, then what? The risks of not having a results agenda

admin - March 16, 2011

The ODI’s Claire Melamed replies to yesterday’s guest post from Ros Eyben: “Ros Eyben suggests that instead of a results agenda, we should rely on good relationships to deliver good aid.  And indeed, if all relationships were good, and all the people involved in making decisions about aid were thoroughly well-informed, open to new ideas, flexible in their approach, lacking in ego, adept at dealing with cultural and religious d…

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Thinking and Working Politically: an exciting new aid initiative

admin - November 27, 2013

…g I say sounds bland and generic – I can’t tell all the interesting stuff!’ Should it stay below the radar? Ros Eyben among others has documented the double discourse of aid workers – they are adept at saying one thing and doing another, eg presenting a project as purely technical/apolitical, then using all the tricks of advocacy to get them implemented. If we try and drag such practices into the light, do we risk destroying them? In some countri…

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Complexity 101: behind the hype, what do we actually know?

admin - November 5, 2013

…of any utility of the system, despite the great amount of money spent. I think this kind of idea was behind Ros Eyben et al’s ‘big push back’ (now forwards), and Andrew Natsios has argued that both symptoms emerge from the clash of the counter-bureaucracy and development, which sees implementation squeezed and neglected due to overzealous design and process requirements from agency HQs. It is hard to quantify how much this matters. One could part…

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