November was a month in which our efforts to make stronger connections between the localisation agenda and the anti-corruption agenda began to bear fruit, with a side event to the US-hosted Summit for Democracy now planned. We are excited to play our part in supporting an open and globally inclusive conversation about the value and limits of locally-led approaches to addressing corruption, and are looking forward to the event; Unlocking Corruption – Frontline perspectives on locally-led solutions. We’re delighted to have Pallavi Roy chairing, Aryanti Nugroho, Nkendilim Ilo, and Raphael Fuentes sharing their frontline perspectives from Indonesia, Nigeria and Panama respectively, and Abigail Bellows providing comments for USAID.
In amongst planning that event, and moving forward with our organizational planning for 2022, I found the time to read some interesting articles. My top 5 reads for the month are as follows:
December Top Reads
- By Christiaan Keulder and Robert Mattes (November 2021) Why are Africans dissatisfied with democracy? Think corruption, The Washington Post – With the Summit for Democracy around the corner, I was pleased to see this piece from our data-driven friends at Afrobarometer. They have always been a trustworthy source of good information and it’s great to see them use their networks and their data to share African perspectives – as well as cross-country comparisons and analysis of trends – in advance of the Summit. This piece is one of a number, which are linked at the bottom of the Washington Post article.
- Anuradha Joshi (July 2021) The Use of ‘Causal Chain’ Analysis in Strengthening Public Accountability, Accountability Research Center – This piece, by Anu Joshi, down the road from me at the Institute of Development Studies, builds on her earlier thoughtful pieces. The title might seem rather technical, but for anyone who is inclined to reflect on the effectiveness of different approaches to strengthening public accountability – hello, the whole of the governance and development community?! – this is a super-helpful contribution to an important conversation. The idea of accountability as a set, or system of relationships, resonated particularly strongly.
- Gina Lagomarsino (October 2021), R4D’s New Strategy: Partnering with country leaders who are driving systems change, R4D – Global Integrity and R4D have been making a similar journey in recent years, so it’s always interesting to compare notes, consider complementarities, and explore collaboration. We have, most recently, been delighted to have Courtney Tolmie, now a Senior Fellow at R4D, work with us on a health system strengthening project, and to engage closely with Mario Picon as regards our respective anti-corruption endeavours. So, it was fascinating to see the latest evolution in R4D’s strategy with its compelling focus on country-led change processes, and clear articulation of the role that R4D can play.
- Alina Rocha Menocal, Tom Aston (November 2021), Working politically in practice: lessons from an innovative programme in Nigeria, ODI – The last several weeks have seen a number of events and articles sharing the insights and lessons garnered from the UK Government’s (DFID, now FCDO) long-standing programme of support for governance reform in Nigeria. This piece, by Alina Rocha Menocal and Tom Aston highlights a number of lessons about the value and challenges of thinking and working politically, from the Partnership to Engage, Reform and Learn (PERL). It ends with a sharp and timely reminder that as building relationships that are based on trust is resource intensive, thinking and working politically – essential as it might be – is not a way of doing more with less.
- Megan Campbell, Ofira Bondorowsky, Eva Nico (February 2021), Boosting your visibility and funding by listening to the people you serve, Candid – Some months old, but only recently spotted by me, this is a great piece by Megan Campbell at Feedback Labs, Ofira Bondorowsky at Charity Navigator, and Eva Nico at Candid. At first glance, I was put off by the linkage made between listening to the people you service, and boosting your visibility and funding; surely there are bigger reasons to listen? But, reading more deeply the piece is full of practical suggestions, both about how organizations can improve their listening practices, and how that might pay dividends in terms of both impact and funding.
If you have any feedback on my missives, and how I might make them more useful and interesting, just drop me a line. My other monthly missives can be found here, with the rolling list of my favorite reads in chronological order available here. If you’d like access to my full Evernote Notebook, drop me a line! I’ve grouped all articles within broader themes and categories such as:
- Open Data
- Fiscal Governance