Program Design

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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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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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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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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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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What development teaches you about architecture

by David Week 20 September 2010

I recently registered for a new initiative of The Guardian newspaper concerning global development. (Thanks to Craig Zeliger of the Peace and Collaborative Development Network for alerting me to this.) In introducing myself on this site, I felt like saying something about how development has changed the way I understand my profession. I think this is […]

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The power of co-investment

by David Week 18 September 2010

Sharing the load Recently, I was advising a client who had the following problem: Four years ago, they had agreed to fund a project to the amount of USD1.0m. Now, for a variety of reasons, the cost at the commencement of implementation had increased to $1.6m. The question they asked me was: should they provide […]

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Accountable design—Part 2: Tracing accountability

by David Week 12 September 2010

Maps of accountability In my first post on “accountable design”, I put forward the key question: “cui bono”… who benefits from the design? Of course the question of accountability is not new in Western civilisation. It’s as old as… well… accounting. But over time, the accountability question has slipped further into the future. The earliest […]

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About “Architecture for Development”

by David Week 27 April 2010

Why this blog Below, I’ve pasted my professional “about” blurb from my CV, written in some version of bureaucratese. It serves as a potted history of my professional life, and provides some insight, I guess, into my professional persona. But I’m not blogging to further my professional career, which is doing just fine. Here are […]

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