Process

Democratic accountability

by David Week on 21 June 2014

This was originally published as a comment on this page. If you look at all the political economy of the aid industry, you’ll find that most NGOs and aid researchers are today servants of government. (Disclosure: me too.) Most of these governments—even those traditionally Labor or Social Democrat—now operate under a neoliberal intellectual regime. Most […]

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More wicked than you think

by David Week on 28 May 2014

This post is inspired by a post by Duncan Green here, in which he invites comments on an ODI working paper by Ben Ramalingam, Miguel Laric and John Primrose, which is posted here: “From Best Practice to Best Fit: Understanding and navigating wicked problems in international development.” This post may not make sense unless you read that paper. The term […]

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Beyond moralising about “poverty porn” and “profit”

by David Week 25 June 2013

Over on “KM on a dollar a day” Ian Thorpe has posted an argument about The Perils of Fundraising. Though I agree with his arguments against poverty porn, I don’t agree with his solution: that fundraising “follow” mission. This is like companies who think that marketing follows product design, otherwise known as the myth of […]

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QA4D

by David Week 20 November 2011

Okay: we don’t really need yet another of those cutesie “4D = for development” labels, but for a blog post heading, it’s acceptable. In my last post, Fad Surfing in the Development Boardroom, I took issue with those (and there are many) who think that “development” is completely dissociated from the rest of the world. […]

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Fad surfing in the development boardroom

by David Week 25 October 2011

This is a response to J’s post on Tales from the Hood, entitled: “Fail“. The title of my post comes from a book I have on my shelf: “Fad Surfing in the Boardroom: Reclaiming the Courage to Manage in the Age of Instant Answers.” Note the subtitle, which proposes that the alternative to fad surfing is […]

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Reinventing the wheel (all over again)

by David Week 11 September 2011

Because I come to development from a professional background (architecture, and through architecture, project management) I’m familiar with a pre-existing knowledge base that lies outside that industry we call “development”. As a result, I often come across areas of development assistance which appear to me to be reinventions of the wheel—in complete apparent ignorance that […]

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Who guards the RCT guardians?

by David Week 27 May 2011

I just today read two good posts by @edwardrcarr, outlining a critique of RCTs based on the qual vs quant distinction: The Qualitative Research Challenge to RCT4D: Part 1 and Part 2. I agree with Ed’s points. My beefs are different. The main ones are: RCTs may well measure “if something worked”. But the tacit […]

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Difference, respect and money

by David Week 6 May 2011

Don’t be tolerated Tales from the Hood recently wrote a post about tolerance. It begins: I remember several months ago sitting in the Karachi airport McDonald’s chatting with @ayeshahasan about the foreigners who go to Pakistan and try to blend in by wearing a salwar kameez… and asks, mid-stream: How do you know that your […]

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The critical role of the “first mile” in development

by David Week 12 February 2011

I keep seeing the term “last mile” used in a development context. This terms seems to have currency in North America. I’ve never heard it used professionally in our hemisphere. Troublesome words The problem with language (as feminists and racial minorities well know) is that it perpetuates a mindset. In development, the classical mindset is […]

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The realities of resettlement after disaster

by David Week 12 January 2011

“Blaming” the government of Haiti My antennae perked up when I saw this flick by on twitter: Why Haiti is still such a mess a full year after the quake and who’s to blame: http://ow.ly/3Cc1g The reference is to a post by an Australian NGO, ActionAid. The post begins like this: Tomorrow marks the one-year […]

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‘People to People’: an alternative way of delivering humanitarian aid

by David Week 21 December 2010

Azwar Hasan is the founder of Forum Bangun Aceh (FBA), a good friend, and a great colleague. He and I worked for three years on LOGICA: Local Governance and Infrastructure for Communities in Aceh. Az was Deputy Team Leader; I was the infrastructure Adviser. LOGICA took a community-driven development approach to assist 200 of the hardest […]

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New Designs for the Comprehensive High School

by David Week 8 December 2010

The paper below completely transformed my understanding of education. Like architecture, education is one of those professions that seems anchored by the “weight of history.” The paper describes a Federally-funded US re-design of the high school, which attempts to remove that weight, and shift the high school from the 19th C. to the 21st. Let me […]

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