Government aid agencies join private donations push

Development Policy Centre blog post on government aid agency attempts to boost fundraising figures for the Horn of Africa famine.

The ongoing Horn of Africa crisis has spawned hundreds, if not thousands, of large and small fundraising campaigns around the world.

However, the response has been sluggish and funds are still significantly below what is needed. In short, the global financial crisis hasn’t helped the humanitarian effort.

To combat this, in addition to running their own programs and sending humanitarian support, government aid agencies such as AusAID and USAID have also been actively encouraging the public to donate funds to try to overcome this shortfall. This has led to innovative approaches that have seen these agencies take on some of the tactics more commonly associated with the advocacy and fundraising sides of NGOs rather than the bureaucracy.

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Mixed messages: communicating the challenges of development

A complex Catch 22 situation exists in communicating the work of aid agencies and NGOs. Organisations face the question of whether they should clearly acknowledge the challenges in delivering aid and programs in developing countries, or solely present a positive, optimistic view of the transformative powers of development.

It’s a difficult line to toe. While positive images of children attending school, eating healthy food and bathing in clean water can mobilise support for government programs and increase donations for NGOs, glossing over the challenges that must be surmounted to deliver these results leaves agencies more open for criticism when public expectations are not met.  In some way, the upbeat messages communicated by aid agencies and development NGOs to get support actively contribute to criticism about service delivery and the length of time required to rebuild communities after humanitarian disasters.

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Peter O’Neill: revitalizing the Australia-PNG relationship

A summary and photographs of Papua New Guinea Prime Minister Peter O’Neill’s speech at the Australian National University for the Development Policy Centre.

“The O’Neill-Namah government has a solid development agenda and is looking to improve governance, invest in infrastructure and deliver better education and health services to Papua New Guineans.

This was the crux of the message delivered by PNG Prime Minister Peter O’Neill during his lecture at the ANU last week at a Development Policy Centre event.

In a speech that addressed the challenges facing Papua New Guinea with refreshing frankness, the Prime Minister outlined his government’s plans for reform ahead of elections slated for 2012.”

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This post was also syndicated by a number of PNG blogs, including PNG Attitude and Papua New Guinea blog.

Data dumping for development: Turning stats into stories

The World Bank’s open data policy recently celebrated its first anniversary. The New York Times  marked the occasion with a detailed story by Stephanie Strom, outlining the changing attitudes to transparency at the institution, and proclaiming that the Bank’s data could one day become more valuable than its lending and infrastructure projects.

The availability of World Bank data is no doubt highly valuable to donor and recipient governments, academics, NGOs, economists and other development practitioners. But there is one group who seems to have shown little enthusiasm in using the data so far, perhaps the group most crucial in filtering information on the Bank’s practices down to the grassroots — journalists.

Blog post by Ashlee Betteridge for the Development Policy Centre, 19 September 2011.

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Feature — Touring the Sidoarjo Mudflow

Indonesian politicians have suggested the Lapindo mudflow disaster site near Sidoarjo, East Java, could be turned into an ecological tourism attraction.  However, those that have already been taking disaster tourists around the area for more than four years disagree.

Written in May 2010, published online March 2011.

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