The state-of-the ART Project – Update 2

By Fiona Remnant

One year, two countries, four pilots and eight increasingly cunning versions of the Excel spreadsheet further on – it’s time for an update on what the Assessing Rural Transformations team has been up to. Part of the answer is that we’ve been reminded (not for the first time) that cost-effective evaluation hinges as much on how efficiently data is analysed as well as collected.

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The state-of-the-ART Project (Update 1)

By James Copestake

“I never publish anything that hasn’t been through five drafts” is what the celebrated economist Kenneth Galbraith reportedly said when asked the secret of his ability to write so well. Well, I confess this blog doesn’t meet his standard, but I can report that a sixth draft of the Qualitative Impact Protocol (QUIP) for Assessing Rural Transformations can now be downloaded Continue reading

From bland aid to brand aid? Distinguishing development assistance and development finance

By James Copestake

(A fuller version of this argument is in the pipeline and will appear here in due course. Meanwhile, comments and suggestions are welcome – please post your responses here or tweet @cds_Bath using #brandaid)

The world of international development aid was never simple, but it seems to become ever more complex as agencies, financing mechanisms and acronyms proliferate. Public understanding struggles to keep up, with debate often pitched at a depressingly bland level. Is aid working? The correct answer, of course, is that aid comes in many different forms and brands. More interesting questions then abound, like which sorts of aid works best, when and why, and is the mix of different forms of aid right in different contexts? My proposition is that distinguishing between different forms of aid more clearly can contribute to raising the quality of public debate about its effectiveness. Continue reading

Aid impact assessment and agricultural change: Researching ‘good enough’ qualitative approaches

By James Copestake

Using public money to reduce global poverty is a tough enough ‘task’ even without having to account for each pound spent every five minutes. But aid professionals can hardly claim to be less susceptible to self-serving group-think than anyone else, and indeed the case for strong reality checks on aid expenditure will remain particularly strong so long as the power and influence of those it aims to assist remains weak. How then to generate evidence on aid impact that is reliable, affordable and useful? Continue reading