Post an IdeaIt only takes a minute Most PopularWhat's Hot Most RecentJust Posted Most CommentedWhat's Creating a Buzz?

Comments & Ideas have closed

Thank you for your Comments & Ideas!

 

  1 2 Next »
2896
Vote!
vote!

average rating:
give rating:

Monitoring aid projects

posted by: Matt Morris, 12 Jan 2011, 08:06 AM     category: 3. Efficiency & effectiveness
Fixing feedback loops ought to be a key reform to improve effectiveness and efficiency. There are lessons from a growing movement among NGOs who use technology to involve communities in the monitoring of projects. This helps people to provide valuable feedback on whether services are being delivered and enables them hold donors and governments accountable. (For examples see: http://is.gd/kzZNG and http://is.gd/kzZSR)
 
3381
Vote!
vote!

average rating:
give rating:

What does aid effectiveness mean?

posted by: ADG Team, 28 Jan 2011, 12:37 PM     category: 3. Efficiency & effectiveness

Paul Collier (author of The Bottom Billion) suggests that if we were to have two objectives for aid, that one would be aiming for aid effectiveness. So, how do we check aid is effective?  And, what does aid effectiveness mean?

Peter McCawley on LowyInterpreter asks this question (bit.ly/gFp13K) and Marjolaine Nicod of OECD presented on this at Lowy's MDGs conference in 2010 (bit.ly/fhFZzg). Is it about doing more to ensure Value For Money for the Australian aid program? (bit.ly/ggQg9U) Matt Morris suggests practical tools in ICT can help beneficiaries measure effectiveness from the ground-up (see post on 'monitoring aid projects'), and on DevPolicy (bit.ly/hbgTb6) he references UK DFID's new plan to focus on programs with a proven impact and use aid  to fund cash transfers/Cash on Delivery. Joel Negin has also contributed to the debate on aid effectiveness for Lowy recently (bit.ly/flSiJn).

So, what are your thoughts on this? Are you in the field or in-country? Do you have practical examples of aid effectiveness you'd like to share? If so, please post an idea, or add a comment.

 
2732
Vote!
vote!

average rating:
give rating:

Investing directly in partner government capacity

posted by: David, 15 Feb 2011, 04:02 AM     category: 3. Efficiency & effectiveness

Post-Paris and Doha, it's agreed that to be sustainable, programs should use partner country systems. At that same time, it's also widely recognised that this capacity can be weak, and this weakness threatens implementation. There are various methods of trying to go around this weakness: managing contractors, PMU, in-line TA, etc. This does not help improve government systems. There are also provisions of training, short-term TA, etc. to improve the systems directly. However, often these are not effect because the partner government simply does not have enough people to do all the work it is now tasked to do. It does not have enough budget. Maintenance is another area where no amount of training or systems will do, if the partner government simply doesn't have the cash.

There is an historical taboo against funding "recurrent expenditure." In theory, that's fine, if one is willing to only invest in development at the pace that the local tax system grows -- which may be slowly, or not at all. But this is an arbitrary brake.

Rather: take off the brake, abolish the arbitrary distinction between investment flows and recurrent budget support, and allow resources to be allocated to where the bottleneck is, which is nowadays often in the recurrent budget.

 
2273
Vote!
vote!

average rating:
give rating:

Aid Dependency

posted by: Martin, 24 Feb 2011, 23:00 PM     category: 3. Efficiency & effectiveness

I am an expatriate resident of Vanuatu and was pleased to hear that Kevin Rudd had initiated a review of Australia’s overseas aid and I hope it will be more than a “Yes, Minister” review.

When I lived in Australia, I firmly believed that the overseas aid budget should be significant; a rich country like Australia should help poor countries – simple.

However, it’s not that simple. Providing aid to a country like Vanuatu creates the same problem that has dogged African nations for decades – aid dependency.  Vanuatu receives or has received aid from Australia, New Zealand, France, China, USA, Japan, the EU, UK, Canada, Cuba, Israel and India and probably others to the point now where approximately half the GDP of the country is via aid.

If all this aid had been used to improve the lives of average NiVans, then I wouldn’t be writing this letter. The country has the second worst education standard (after Kiribati) in the region; a quarter of the population can’t read or write; the life expectancy of a NiVan male is about 63; the two major hospitals – in Port Vila and Luganville – both recently ran out of drugs and food; almost all businesses are expat-owned; electricity charges are among the highest in the world because a previous government signed a 44 year monopoly deal with a French Company, Unelco; most MP’s have little education and Parliament sits for 2 to 4 weeks a year. MP’s voted themselves an 83% pay increase last year. There are 52 federal MP’s and dozens of provincial councillors for a population of 220,000.

Governments are regularly ousted by no confidence motions as MP’s shift allegiances in their quest for the holy grail – to be a government minister. Being a minister not only provides a chauffeur-driven car and other similar benefits, it provides paid-for overseas medical treatment for the MP and members of his family. This ensures that the MP doesn’t have to seek treatment at the local hospital. The ‘premier’ school in the country, Malapoa College is literally falling apart because no money is spent on maintenance yet almost every day a new G (government) registered car appears on the roads. The Natapei government was ousted late in 2010 during a closed session of parliament. The speaker, George Wells – in breach of the constitution – prevented all access to parliament house, so who voted for whom is not known.

Corruption is rife, especially in the Lands Department; Air Vanuatu is terminally ill (current debt 3 billion vatu, about 32 million AUD) and constantly propped up by government bailouts; public servants are on a 4 and a half day week because there is little for them to do - many are allegedly ‘ghosts’ who only turn up on payday; the government recently installed a Chinese-supplied intranet system which they thought was a gift. It wasn’t, so they now owe China over 30 million USD. Many Chinese workers are here doing jobs theoretically reserved for NiVans.

Slums (laughingly referred to as informal settlements) are found throughout Port Vila but there is no government policy on public housing, water supply or sanitation. In fact there is no government policy on almost anything. This includes requiring the police to do their job. In 2009 a prisoner (who had escaped and been recaptured) was beaten to death by the police while in custody. The coroner, Justice Nevin Dawson from NZ called for proper homicide and assault investigations to be performed; nothing to date has been done or is likely to be done. 

Politically I am 180 degrees away from Helen Hughes and the Centre for Independent Studies however I have just re-read her 2003 paper “Aid Has Failed the Pacific” and feel that what she wrote then still applies today. With emphasis on one simple statement – Aid appears to be inversely related to growth. And I would suggest that it has also engendered corruption and cronyism of championship proportions.

Theoretically, carefully targeted aid should work. Practically, it doesn’t because the government here will always plead that their sovereignty is being taken away.    

Providing huge amounts of aid to countries like Vanuatu is akin to giving a 10 year old an unlimited supply of money and wondering why it’s not spent very well. Fifty million dollars will supposedly come in this year from Australia alone; about the only good thing that could be said is that it’s only a tenth of the money that will disappear in PNG.

 
2075
Vote!
vote!

average rating:
give rating:

Here's 'Efficiency & effectiveness'

posted by: ADG, 06 Jan 2011, 15:26 PM     category: 3. Efficiency & effectiveness
At the core of the review is this focus, 3rd on their TORs: examining the Aid program's approach to efficiency and effectiveness. In addition, they'll look at whether current systems, policies and procedures maximise effectiveness. It would be great to look at some international experiences here. What do you think?
 
2474
Vote!
vote!

average rating:
give rating:

idea 16: amount and use of aid

posted by: ADG, 24 Mar 2011, 15:55 PM     category: 3. Efficiency & effectiveness

1 person noted that more effective aid spending is critical and needs more attention, however ‘adequate, coordinated long term funding’ can mean significant improvements are possible, e.g. gains against malaria in many African countries (ref UNICEF) such as through the Global Fund.  1 person suggested effectiveness as narrowing the gap between our planning and the total context in which a project will unfold and offered ideas like giving a project manager the flexibility of a CEO in a small to medium sized enterprise, studying the uptake of project evaluation report recommendations, and not limiting effective projects to a set ministry/province/country for the 1, 3 or 5 year project...

[refer TOR 3]

Do you strongly agree? If so, please vote here.

 
2365
Vote!
vote!

average rating:
give rating:

idea 17. counter aid dependency

posted by: ADG, 24 Mar 2011, 15:56 PM     category: 3. Efficiency & effectiveness

3 people focused on the need to address aid dependency. Of these, 2 people noted the need to review what aid is spent on, the kind of value that can be received, and project sustainability post-funding or country reliance on aid, rather than the amount of aid.  1 person mentioned Vanuatu specifically – noting approx. half of its GDP is via aid, and a range of examples they purport prove aid is ineffective in Vanuatu.

Another person expressed their shared views on corruption and wasted aid funding, including their preference that aid work support bottom up approaches rather than top down approaches, citing Cambodian examples. Another person expressed interest in an aid program that 'sought and developed local agents to effect programs and ensured money from aid goes to (and stays with) communities it is supposed to be aiding'...

[refer TOR 3]

Do you strongly agree? If so, please vote here.

 
2414
Vote!
vote!

average rating:
give rating:

idea 18: ways to improve m&e

posted by: ADG, 24 Mar 2011, 15:58 PM     category: 3. Efficiency & effectiveness

2 people noted the importance of monitoring for efficiency and effectiveness, the need for a clear baseline, disaggregated data and monitoring parameters (including in proposals), and involving beneficiaries if they have the capability. 2 people noted that community participatory M&E needed a venue where the poor – and people with disabilities - can actively participate.

1 person noted the difficulty for donors (like UN/WTO’s ITC) with no field office who rely on measurement tools, baseline and evaluations by a project coordinator, NGO or beneficiary. 2 people noted the need for either more qualitative assessment of aid projects, or use of a social tool like SROI. 1 person noted ways of getting good M&E info mix text and online reporting, with talking to the people involved...

[refer TOR 3]

Do you strongly agree? If so, please vote here.

 
2347
Vote!
vote!

average rating:
give rating:

idea 19: ensure context for m&e

posted by: ADG, 24 Mar 2011, 15:59 PM     category: 3. Efficiency & effectiveness

1 person noted the need to focus on the broader context in designing an M&E framework for a project in order to ensure interaction and impact of external factors (and refer to M&E model processes as guidance only). They suggested this helps to overcome false attribution of “success” to the project. Another person captures the context and honour the work being done on programs by finding the ongoing and evolving story. They also noted the need to start with an exit strategy in mind, to identify who will continue the work and manage dependence on repeat funding...

[refer TOR 3]

Do you strongly agree? If so, please vote here.

 
2371
Vote!
vote!

average rating:
give rating:

idea 20: practical tools, demos

posted by: ADG, 24 Mar 2011, 16:00 PM     category: 3. Efficiency & effectiveness

1 person suggested practical tools to help show if aid is effective, like SMS-messaging on: reporting crises; if water-points are working; if books are received in schools. Another person asked for practical suggestions for how best to ‘monitor and assess ODA in insecure environments’ like Uruzgan Province, Afghanistan. 2 people noted transparency initiatives such as community-based monitoring of government or aid expenditure. Examples included ‘Publish What You Pay’, and school funding. 1 person suggested a simplified version of NRM's 'Performance Story Report' may work...

[refer TOR 3]

Do you strongly agree? If so, please vote here.

 
  1 2 Next »