Verena Fritz, World Bank
David Booth, Overseas Development Institute
Sue Unsworth, The Policy Practice
Mark Segal, UK Department for International Development
David Hudson, University College London
Claire Leigh, Budget Strengthening Initiative
Brian Levy, John Hopkins University / University of Cape Town
Stefan Kossoff, UK Department for International Development
Leni Wild, Overseas Development Institute
Marta Foresti, Overseas Development Institute
Many development agencies increasingly acknowledge that aid is more likely to be effective, and less likely to do harm, when it is politically well-informed. Yet getting better informed and more sophisticated analysis on the political dimensions of development has proven easier than changing aid practices to be consistent with the insights gained. In other words, development agencies seem to find it hard to move from thinking politically to working differently. There is, therefore, growing demand for examples of what ‘working differently’ entails in practice. This evidence needs to show that it is feasible, given the constraints under which aid agencies operate, and that it does indeed produce better results than more traditional, politics-blind aid programming. In much of the discussion until now, the evidence base in this respect has seemed rather slim.
This event presented selected case studies where better outcomes have been achieved by thinking politically and working differently, and analysed their common features. Discussion also centred on how identifying practical ways to overcome existing obstacles to better practice in development agencies.