If you only read one thing this week…

An Anthology of Impact Assessment Experiences by ifyouonlyreadonethingthisweek
December 27, 2006, 9:31 pm
Filed under: Book reviews, Development theory, If you have time for longer reading!

This book (which can be downloaded here) is a collection of stories on impact assessmen put out by the Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation (CTA). Based on a series of interviews with practitioners, it is a fascinating, human, readable discussion on how to demonstrate impact, with some surprising conclusions about telling stories about the work we do.


Working in Insecure Environments – Trends by ifyouonlyreadonethingthisweek
December 27, 2006, 5:56 pm
Filed under: Development theory, If you only have 15 mins

If you only read one thing this week consider this four page briefing document from the Humanitarian Policy Group that looks at the trends in operating in insecure environments over the past eight years for humanitarian organizations. Providing Aid in Insecure Environments: Trends in Policy and Operations by A. Stoddard, A. Harmer and K. Haver. Interestingly, while the number of security incidents almost doubled between 1997-2001 and 2002-2005, this has to be seen in light of the fact that the total aid worker population has grown significantly; from 136,000 in 1997 to an estimated 242,000 in 2005. Another interesting point was that although people often think that the ‘outlier’ cases of Afghanistan and Iraq skew the figures disproportionately, they are not the highest risk environments in either absolute or relative terms. Somalia and Sudan are in fact the countries with the highest number of security incidents for humanitarian workers. The article ends with some recommendations on how to improve the safety of our operating environment. Click here to read the full document.

World Disasters Report 2006 – Focus on neglected crises by ifyouonlyreadonethingthisweek
December 19, 2006, 10:22 pm
Filed under: Book reviews, If you have 30 mins

The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) has released their annual World Disasters Report. It is not available for download, but is usually a gripping read, and the chapter summaries can be downloaded. This year their focus is ‘neglected crises’, the so-called ‘forgotten emergencies’. It could be a useful advocacy tool. Continue reading

The top ten news stories that you missed in 2006 by ifyouonlyreadonethingthisweek
December 18, 2006, 7:10 pm
Filed under: Articles, If you only have 15 mins

Foreign Policy is running a fun article on the news that you missed this year! Among other things, it turns out that the cure for bird flu is worse than the disease itself, the gender gap in education has continued to close, although not for the reasons you thought, and why China is lending so much to Africa. Read the article here.

Negotiating with armed groups by ifyouonlyreadonethingthisweek
December 14, 2006, 6:41 pm
Filed under: Book reviews, Development theory, If you have time for longer reading!

The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) has an interesting manual and corresponding training tools for people negotiating humanitarian programs with armed groups. Whether it is access, protection, or other issues, negotiation is a daily fact of life for many of us. Continue reading

Monitoring tools for more effective work in conflict transformation by ifyouonlyreadonethingthisweek
December 5, 2006, 4:54 pm
Filed under: Development theory, If you have time for longer reading!

The PCR Project (Prevention, Conflict Analysis, and Reconstruction) ran an interesting article this summer called Outcomes not Outputs: Monitoring and Evaluation in Post-Conflict Environments (click to read the article). They claim that “Evaluation can increase the sophistication of the international community’s understanding of post-conflict environments and improve its ability to tackle the complex issues of reconstruction. Continue reading

Visualizing Spreadsheet Data – adding value to presentations by ifyouonlyreadonethingthisweek
December 1, 2006, 10:16 pm
Filed under: Articles, If you have 30 mins

Richard Brath and Michael Peters have an excellent and easy to read article about how to use data that you have to communicate effectively with your audience. They give lots of examples of how to use Excel or other similar spreadsheet programs to produce stunning and clear presentations. Read the article here.