The CSS Blog Network

Development Aid: Missing Its Mark?

More targeted development aid is needed, photo: Melissa Gray, flickr

Has traditional development aid helped alleviate – or further exacerbated – poverty? This week the ISN takes a closer look at the promises and pitfalls of development aid with particular attention to the benefits of targeting it more directly at the grassroots level.

This ISN Special Report contains the following content:

  • An Analysis by Dr Gerard DeGroot discusses the limited ability of traditional development aid to alleviate poverty, concluding that small projects addressing basic human needs may have the biggest impact.
  • A Podcast interview with Fiona Ramsey about the big benefits of small microfinance loans for sustainable development.
  • Security Watch articles about the impact of development aid from Haiti to Georgia, Somalia and beyond.
  • Publications housed in our Digital Library, including a recent Kiel Institute Working Paper assessing the value of performance-based aid as an alternative to the largely failed traditional approach.
  • Links to relevant websites, such as the International Policy Network’s paper on the impact of foreign aid – with Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda, and Botswana cited as examples.
  • Our IR Directory, featuring the Cambridge-based Collaborative for Development Action, an NGO committed to improving the effectiveness of international actors involved in supporting sustainable development.

Gender Equality Bearing Fruit

Image of village in Bihar, courtesy of Hyougushi/flickr

The BBC has an inspiring article on an alternative method to combatting gendercide in India: fruit trees.

Reporter Amaranth Tewary travels to Dharhara village in the state of Bihar, a place that sets a new precedent for areas that practice female infanticides.  For every daughter born, families plant a minimum of 10 mango and lychee trees.

This commercially viable initiative sustains the family on a day-to-day basis, whilst covering the cost of their daughters’ dowry. Thus, this practice achieves two goals: It meets the challenges associated with female foeticide as well as global warming.

The Economist also has an in-depth report on the issue of infanticide (subscription needed).

One can only hope that such a custom is recognized for its significance and is emulated in every other region affected by female infanticide norms.

The ISN Quiz: Sport and Development

We’re focusing on sport and development in this week’s theme. See how well your knowledge of how sport’s impact on communities has developed.


Justice in the North

Justice, finally? Courtesy of Scott Chacon/flickr

A week ago, a landmark case in Finland against a 59-year-old Rwandan preacher concluded with a life sentence for mass murder (the Finnish legal term joukkotuhonta actually roughly translates as ‘mass/group destruction’). The man, Francois Bazaramba, had sought asylum in Finland in 2003 and was arrested in 2007 in Porvoo, Finland, accused by the Rwandan authorities of involvement in the Rwandan genocide in 1994.

Although not unprecedented, Finland’s exercise of the so-called universality principle in public international law, has revived the controversy surrounding the principle which, in theory and if codified in national law, allows national courts to prosecute individuals suspected of involvement in genocide or other grievous and systematic attacks against civilian populations, regardless of the location of the crime or the nationality of the suspect.

More importantly, however, it has marked another step in the torturous road toward justice and reconciliation in Rwanda. » More

A Little Advice: Four Tips for BP

Doh! Photo: striatic/flickr

“It is better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to open your mouth and remove all doubt.” – Mark Twain, Abraham Lincoln or the local neighborhood drunk. Take your pick.

The saying above has saved me from making an dang-blasted idiot of myself numerous times. I strongly recommend that the higher-ups at BP adopt it.

In the latest from the BP School of Disastrous (word intended) Management, BP Chairman Carl-Henric Svanberg pulled his tea and crumpets away from this mouth just long enough to shove in his foot and emit this howler: “He [I guess he means CEO Tony “I-Want-My-Life-Back” Hayward] is frustrated because he cares about the small people and we care about the small people. I hear comments sometimes that large oil companies are greedy companies or don’t care – but that’s not the case with BP. We care about the small people.”

The small people?

This gaffe came yesterday as Svanberg attempted to issue an apology for the largest offshore spill in US history as he was leaving a White House meeting with US President Barack Obama. He said “the small people” not once, not twice, but three times.

See for yourself here.

Already, Svanberg’s comments are making the rounds.

Any head of any organization who knows anything about US culture should know that using “small people” or “little people” won’t win her or him any gold stars.

Svanberg’s gaffe is taking the heat off of Obama, whose Tuesday speech about the Gulf disaster has been pegged as, well, disastrous.

I have no idea who is advising BP in crisis control, but I’m willing to offer a couple of common sense tips for free.
» More

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