Compounding complications: why aid is crap and RCTs won’t save it

Apologies for the lack of posts recently. I’ve been suffering three handicaps:

  1. I’ve just relocated from Oxford to Nairobi for a bit. While my job hasn’t perhaps changed in a discernable way to anyone outside my organisation, changed it has. There’s a lot of induction going on. There’s a lot of strategizing to do. There’s a lot of catching up going on. There are life-saving workshops to get amongst.
  2. Sadly, my better half is far away. Fortunately, the ODI world cup just got underway. I’m having the rather rare pleasure of (a) actually having a TV and (b) having some cracking sport upon it, at hours of an evening to watch it. Note for philistines: ODI is one-day international cricket. Did I mention you were philistines?
  3. The Super Rugby just kicked off. Like point 2 above, but squared. Sweet merciful mother of the supposed saviour in heaven, it is good to watch real rugby instead of that northern hemisphere Second Division (also known as the “Six Nations”).

Anyway, down to business.  Let’s talk about why aid is often a bit shit. And by shit, I mean: why doesn’t the aid that we do, even if provided on a sound base of evidence for what works, then have a real impact? Read the rest of this entry »