“Development.” Discuss.


just do it (better) – iv

Mmm.. Jubalicious

Sorry for the delay. Stuff getting in the way. Airports and Life Saving Workshops(TM) of course. Where were we? Oh yeah, self deprecation:

Hasn’t this guy heard of the Open University? Distance learning and e-learning aren’t new or innovative at all, not even in Africa, what a melon head. What’s the big deal?

And the answer is, of course this isn’t anything new. I’m not trying to be Steve Jobs. I’m just trying to solve problems of cornerstone effectiveness down in the cogs of the aid machine. We’re pretty good at giving people heroically crushing expectations of quantity and quality of work and aid delivery. We’re less good at ensuring everyone in that team has the skills to deliver from day one. I think we need a bold view of professionalization of the sector; one that foregrounds teams as much as individuals, nationals not expats, and backgrounds the rest as (necessary) surge capacity.

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just do it (better) – iii

Hello from much cooler, damper and altogether more pleasant Kampala.

On Friday I said I was here in Uganda experimenting. 

Why? Okay. Rant pants on.

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just do it (better) – ii

I said yesterday I hope not to need to see teams like this ever again. Before I get to that, let me give you a quick rundown on what they’re doing. Read the rest of this entry »

just do it (better)

Donors and aid beneficiaries want different things. Everyone moans about it eventually. But it comes to a point where it’s a fallacy. What donors want and what beneficiaries want isn’t completely mutually exclusive. I think there’s a big, fat, intersection in that venn diagram. The trick is to get a hold of something within that space, and give it a tug. No, you’re not The One. No, you’re not going to cast the Ring of Aid into Mount Doom. But you still might just do something useful. At least that’s what I’m hoping.

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He took a pull on his beer.

I wonder, could you help explain to me something.

Sure, I said.

You have been living in the UK.

I have.

What is the difference with the words, English and the British?


They seem to be the same. But they are not the same.


I took a pull on my beer.

Okay. Britain is like the whole island. Technically, everyone from there is British.


But only some of them are English. The ones who are English, you can call them British or English, and they don’t really care. But there are people who are from Britain, but are not English. And if you call them English, you will make them very upset.


He was thinking pretty hard about this.

So, this is sensitive then. But why?

I’m really not sure. I think they used to fight a lot. And the ones from Scotland still want to break away, to have their independence from the English.

They had a war?

Yeah, I guess so.

It must have been a bad war. But I have not heard about this. When did it happen?

Umm. I’m not really sure… but about three hundred years ago I think.

Three HUNDRED years?

My Congolese colleague sucked his teeth.

Must have been a bad war.