On Ghana’s cocoa farms, Fairtrade is not yet working for women

(This blog was oringially posted at – The Guardian)

By Roy Maconachie

Fairtrade Fortnight brings us some inspirational images of smiling farmers in Africa. Smiling female farmers. But although European cocoa consumption contributes €9.8m (£7.6m) to the Fairtrade premium received by farmers, women are yet to reap the rewards. Continue reading

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.

Continue reading

The Ebola epidemic and small-scale mining in Kono District, Sierra Leone

By Roy Maconachie

Since the formal declaration of peace in 2002, Sierra Leone has travelled far in overcoming the devastating impacts of a decade of civil war during the 1990s. In recent years, the country has experienced dramatic economic growth on the back of an extractive industry-led development trajectory. 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