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capacity4dev 2015 Voices and Views

Related Voices & Views

Learning from Each Other – The Access to Medicine Index
There are still 2 billion people in the world today without access to medicine. “We cannot solve this problem without the efforts and cooperation of many people and organisations,” said Wim Leereveld, founder and CEO of the Access to Medicine Foundation (AMF).
Integrating Scientific Information into Humanitarian Response
Traditionally humanitarian aid comes into play as an immediate response to provide lifesaving assistance in a natural or man-made disaster situation. Whereas, development practitioners work on increasing resilience to reduce the risk of disasters. But what about the middle ground? Dr Thorsten Klose [TK] of the German Red Cross discusses how scientific information can be incorporated into the humanitarian system to better prepare for disasters.
Eliminating Corruption to Enable Development
Corruption ranges from bribery to collusion to straightforward theft, but as envelopes of cash evolve into more sophisticated mechanisms, efforts to prevent corruption and build transparency must keep up. “We see new forms of corruption that emerge. There’s undue influence through lobbying, there’s the revolving door, there’s all kinds of conflicts of interest that arise,” said Daniel Freund, Policy Officer EU Integrity at Transparency International (TI).
Open Data in Humanitarian Aid
Q&A with Rupert Simons, Chief Executive Officer of Publish What You Fund.  Publish What You Fund is a non-profit organisation that campaigns for aid transparency. “We believe that information is power and we campaign to make that information available to everyone who needs it,” said Simons. With readily available data on aid, governments and donors, citizens can ensure that initiatives are being carried out effectively. Simons (RS) spoke to Capacity4Dev (C4D) about the importance of including data collection and analysis in crisis response, as well as the next steps for making open data a standard component of development and humanitarian aid efforts.
Urban Planning: Creating Sustainable and Safe Cities
A group of people composed of slum dwellers from several African cities has been contributing to improving urban planning in Monrovia.  Liberia’s capital was originally built with half a million people in mind. But the steadily growing population over the last five decades and conflicts during the 1990s swelled Monrovia’s population to 1.6 million; overwhelming its capacity to provide water, sanitation and housing. In fact since 2005 Liberia has one of the highest population growth rates in the world at around 3% per year.
Strategic Partnerships: Uniting the European Commission and Local Authorities
“Although development is a global [issue], the implementation is always local. Because it’s at this level that it is most effective,” said Mr Khalifa Sall, President of United Cities and Local Governments and Mayor of Dakar. He believes that including local authorities in sustainable development is only ‘natural’. So what does it take to unite the European Commission and Local Authorities?
Replacing Traditional Cooking Stoves with Gas Stoves is Transforming Lives
Some people hope that a dream kitchen will make them happier. The life of one woman in Darfur has been transformed by a $100 gas stove. Cooking with a traditional, open stove made out of stones, the woman’s hands and feet always suffered cuts because of the need to collect firewood every day, said Muna Eltahir, Country Director for Sudan of Practical Action. During the long hours this required, the woman’s daughters had to stay home to take care of their younger siblings.
Three Keys to Better Evaluation
Clarify what is to be evaluated! Tailor the approach! Position evaluation as a learning function!  These are three keys to better evaluation provided by Steve Montague, Fellow of the Canadian Evaluation Society, who came to Brussels to deliver a number of lively and thought provoking seminars early this summer.
Youth Working Towards a Happier, Healthier, Safer World
“Sustainable development policies cannot be fully achieved without youth angles, perspectives and voices,” said Sana Afouaiz, a women’s advocate and blogger from Morocco. She believes that young people today should have the opportunity to participate in the political dialogue; it is their future that is at stake, and they need to ensure they are a part of it.
The Land-Drugs Nexus
"For many communities in Myanmar who grow opium, for them opium is not the problem, it is the solution to their problems," said local project consultant, Tom Kramer, from the Transnational Institute. And therein lies one of the greatest challenges for policy makers in the fight to eradicate the scourge of drug crops in developing countries.
Putting Culture in Development
Whether helping to foster democracy in the Middle East, teaching adolescents about sexually transmitted diseases in Russia, or denouncing domestic violence in the Solomon Islands, the links between cultural expression and the development agenda are many and varied.
Achieving Sustainable Development: are the SDGs fit for purpose?
The idea of “sustainable” development seems here to stay, but what does unsustainable development look like? Three members of the senior management team at the United Nations Environment Programme shared their views on how to consume sustainably, how to measure the success of the Sustainable Development Goals, and why development can sometimes occur in the wrong areas.
Evaluating the EU’s Fight against Illegal Logging
Twelve years after the European Union launched a plan to tackle illegal logging, independent evaluators are assessing progress and shortcomings. Their findings could contribute to the definition of any future EU forest policy.
No Peace without Development: EU-UN Cooperation in Fragile Countries
“One of the most important messages that I have today is that we need to understand that the life of a conflict is much longer than it seems on the surface. That’s why we have to listen to the first signs. Whether it is a conflict, a disease, or a humanitarian crisis. We pay such a huge price of waiting so long [to act],” said Jan Eliasson, Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations.
Humanitarian and Development Actors Unite to Build Resilience in Lebanon
“We are now in the fourth year of the Syria crisis and we can see that there is not only a host community fatigue [in Lebanon], but also a donor’s fatigue,” said Emily Jacquard, Director of Search for Common Ground’s Lebanon country office. “We are facing a decrease of funding. Now more than ever, local and international actors need to come together to share resources, knowledge and cross fertilise.”
Operating in Situations of Conflict and Fragility
As an EU staffer, you have just been selected to go to Afghanistan, CAR, DRC, Georgia, Ukraine, Timor-Leste or Mali… You have your diplomatic passport, you have successfully finished the Hostile Environment Awareness Training and most probably you were briefed by headquarters in Brussels on what to expect and how to behave in your new working environment. Don't forget to pack the EU Staff Handbook for Operating in Situations of Conflict and Fragility (here in French).
A New Approach to Finance for Development
Achieving the Sustainable Development Goals will not be limited by an overall lack of money, but rather will depend on “the way finance is mobilised and used”. That’s the message from the European Report on Development 2015, released this week.
Evaluation Critical of EU’s Gender Equality Efforts
As the European Union prepares its latest plan to support gender equality and women’s empowerment (GEWE) around the world, a timely evaluation of its efforts so far has found much room for improvement.
Achieving Malaria Eradication: ‘The Devil is in the Detail’
What is the best way to improve health in developing countries: by targeting (and hopefully eradicating) specific diseases, or by improving national health systems? For Veronique Lorenzo the answer lies in a combination of both. 
The Twin-Track Approach to Food Security
Ending food crises requires immediate humanitarian assistance but also long-term support to limit future shortages. How to advance this ‘twin-track approach’ to nutrition was one of the main agenda items when the Executive Director of the World Food Programme (WFP), Ertharin Cousin, visited the European institutions in Brussels earlier this year.
Health via Healthy Roads
It may seem curious to begin the fourth thematic month of the European Year for Development on Health by talking about roads, but as experience in Ethiopia has shown, improving transport infrastructure can make a big difference to people’s well-being.
Agriculture’s Data Revolution
“If we can replace the hand hoe with a smartphone as the most common tool in the hands of an African farmer, then we are halfway towards our dream,” said Theo de Jager, President of the Pan African Farmers Organisation and the Southern African Confederation of Agricultural Unions. That dream is to combat poverty in Africa by helping growers make the most of increasingly abundant data on prices, materials and weather.
From Science of Delivery to Doing Development Differently
The World Bank has a question; how can it improve its Science of Delivery? The Science of Delivery means "to learn better and adapt more quickly when things work well or when they don't work well and take some of the lessons of that learning and apply them elsewhere." And this comes with structural reforms as well as a change of culture. "We are quite excited about it", said Jeffrey Lewis, Chief Economist of the Global Practices at the World Bank.
Mind, Society, Behaviour (and Development?)
The mayor of Bogotá takes a shower on television to promote saving water, and water consumption drops; HIV patients in Kenya get text messages to remind them to take their medication and adherence rates rise by 13 percentage points; and a simple rewrite of letters from the UK tax office nets the government £200 million… These are among the successes attributed to ‘behavioural interventions’, which consider how psychological and social forces affect the implementation of public policy.
Bringing Vital Family Planning Services to Zambia's Rural Women
Meet Judith Muntahli. She was born in 1977 in Ilenga, a village in the Isoka district of Muchinga Province in the far north of Zambia. She and her husband are subsistence farmers with nine children. During her first pregnancy, Judith (pictured below) was bitten by a snake. But by the time she got to the hospital, infection had set in and her leg had to be amputated. With no access to contraception, Judith carried nine more pregnancies on one leg using crutches. Sadly, her 10th child died when he was a month old. 
Erasmus+ and Erasmus Mundus: Opening up Universities to the World
“Education is one of the foundations for development and Erasmus Mundus addressed the needs of developing countries in higher education. We tend to focus on basic education in our development programmes but this is not enough. We need to invest in a continuum of education and Erasmus Mundus provided this opportunity for students and for institutions to increase their capacity,” said Veronique Lorenzo, Head of Unit for Education at the European Commission’s Directorate-General for International Cooperation and Development.
What is the Territorial Approach to Local Development?
Decentralisation as a political process has existed for decades, though with mixed results in improving people’s lives. Many reforms failed to promote local development because they were not designed to do so.
Joint Programming: What for? Where? How?
When development partners met in Busan, South Korea in 2011, one of their aims was to make aid more effective. The event launched the Global Partnership for Effective Development and Cooperation, underpinned by the principles of country ownership, focus on results, inclusive partnerships, transparency and accountability. The EU also committed to Joint Programming, where donors ensure they are targeting complementary sectors, such as education, health or infrastructure. Over three years later, this effort is well underway.
Including Disability in Development Cooperation
The principle of ‘all human rights for all people’ enshrined in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) means just that. Alexander Cote from the International Disability Alliance told staff at the European Commission recently that the fact governments are still discovering how to assist people with intellectual disabilities, for instance, does not mean they can be denied their right to vote, buy a house or have a child.
Budget Support: More Than Just a Blank Cheque
In 2014, experts working for the European Commission carried out a synthesis of budget support evaluations from seven different countries. “We have learned that the funds we provide don’t just go into a black hole,” said Jürgen Lovasz, Team Leader for Budget Support in the Evaluation unit at DEVCO. These funds have been used – as intended – to improve people’s livelihoods. 
EYD2015 and the Policy Forum on Development
Director General of DG DEVCO and Chair of the Policy Forum on Development (PFD), Fernando Frutuoso de Melo, opened the forum’s meeting in October last year by talking about the importance of 2015. "It is the end of the Millennium Development Goals, and a whole set of new, universal goals will be negotiated in the United Nations. It is also the year of the international climate negotiations in Paris, where hopefully a new consensus on combatting climate change will be reached. For that reason the European Union decided to follow your suggestion and have the first ever European year dedicated to international cooperation and development."
Here is the Evaluation Report... so now what do we do?
When we talk about evaluation, we often focus on its approaches and methods, how to undertake an evaluation, and the report. This is all very good and useful, but it is not the whole story. Evaluation is essentially part of a wider process of learning.
Evaluation Matters
Last summer, the European Union released an Evaluation policy for development cooperation. Entitled Evaluation Matters, it notably emphasizes the “Evaluation First principle” which means that good intervention and policy must always be based on robust evidence. Drafting this policy was “quite a learning experience as collectively we had to rethink how to work to ensure the purpose, objective and usefulness of evaluation can be better understood,” said Philippe Loop, Head of the Evaluation Unit for International Cooperation and Development (DEVCO) at the European Commission.
The Impact of Development Awareness Raising
Do citizens in Europe care about global issues? Can an engaging campaign or school activity change the way we think and behave?
Message from Director General Fernando Frutuoso de Melo
The Director General for International Cooperation and Development, Fernando Frutuoso de Melo, has told capacity4dev how a revitalised EU met its commitments to aid effectiveness in 2014, and he flagged the coming year as a unique chance to show how development benefits Europeans and partner countries alike.