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CGD Policy Blogs

 

Strange Football: Education Programs Rarely Keep Score

“Is learning the only result worth financing in education?” That was the question posed to me at a recent World Bank debate about results-based financing in education. The question is germane because the World Bank has a large program of results-based financing in health and a new modality of Program for Results lending operations, and it is negotiating a new trust fund for performance programs in education. 

Wiping Out Poverty with a New (Old) Aid Strategy

Imagine you are an aid agency with a new mission, set at the highest level: end world poverty. Two come to mind. How are you to achieve such a noble but audacious goal? 

The first thing you’d want to do is define the target: what is meant by ‘poverty’? Perhaps you’d suggest that it was living on a little more than a dollar a day, or watching your children dying from preventable illness.  Perhaps it is some combination of limited absolute or relative consumption –living on less than $1.25 a day or in the bottom 40 percent of the income distribution, as it might be.  Or maybe you’d go further and suggest that poverty was multifaceted, and only a range of indicators (perhaps as many as 169) could really capture what it was to be satiated or deprived.

Do Mobile Phone Surveys Work in Poor Countries?

Update: This blog was updated on 3/11/2015 from the original version.

The days of pushing priorities, pet projects, or expat consultants on countries are coming to a close. Connected and increasingly empowered individuals are demanding a greater say in setting priorities, designing and implementing programs, and assessing whether projects have achieved their desired results. For those agencies that recognize this trend, the question is how to meaningfully and cost effectively engage citizens in real time. 

Funders Worry About “Double Counting” – but What About “Double Demanding”?

In the world of international aid, performance payments are a hot topic. But when it comes to signing performance payment agreements, most funders have been reticent. One of the reasons is a fear of “Double Counting” – paying once for investments to achieve outcomes and a second time when the outcomes are delivered. This concern ignores the complexity of achieving development goals and the intangible assets invested by recipient countries. When funders do agree to performance agreements, they end up ignoring the burden on recipients of “Double Demanding” – disbursing when outcomes are achieved and then setting restrictions on the use of those funds. All this confusion gets in the way of designing effective aid programs.