Blue Ribbon Feedback: Closing the feedback loop, opening up development

In this post, guest author Laura Hughston discusses lessons learned from implementing the feedback gathering tool she designed for Plan International UK. She shares the voices of the people who used the tool, and is honored that it helped communities learn they have a ‘right to be heard’ by those with the power to act on feedback.

I’ve just received one of the greatest honours of my life: I heard that a simple tool for gathering feedback from communities I designed over three years ago is still going strong and in fact about to be scaled up massively! At the time, I was in charge of M&E for a flagship programme with Plan International UK, and I had developed several tools for gathering feedback from a range of stakeholders. The main difference on this occasion was that we were seeking feedback not only from those targeted by our intervention but also from those we had not intended on affecting: for the first time, we were extending the opportunity to anyone in the community.

This simple tool consisted of two parts: gathering the feedback and the ribbon ceremony. Continue reading

How Corruption Impedes Reconstruction in Iraq after ISIS

In this post Matthew Schweitzer shares from his recent trip into eastern Mosul’s liberated territories. While he was there to assess relations between civil society organizations and security actors, he encountered many Moslawis who did not trust national politicians to manage long-term reconstruction. He talks in this post about the culture of corruption and patronage among politicians as one of the most significant obstacles to future stability in the their region, and about a path away from corruption.

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Failing the Duck Test: Labeling companies as peace actors

Sarah Cechvala argues that regardless of whether “peacebuilding actor” is an apt label for private sector companies, efforts to involve companies in a peacebuilding agenda will be far more effective if they account for the fact that, in almost every way, companies are different from peacebuilding actors. Continue reading for some of the more critical differences to keep in mind as policymakers try to involve companies in peacebuilding agendas. Continue reading

Recognizing the Potential “Destructive” Power of Social Norms

In this post Cheyanne and Russell share an early finding from their research into social norms in anti-corruption programming. Evidence shows that efforts to combat a harmful practice by depicting it as widespread or frequent can backfire by unintentionally increasing the practice. This bodes ill for well-intentioned programming like “I Paid a Bribe” sites that depict corruption as widespread, or for efforts to have the issue raised more in the press.

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What anti-corruption practitioners should read about social norms

The literature on social norms and corruption needs to improve, and definitions need to be clarified, to enable practitioners to integrate the literature into programming. Cheyanne Scharbatke-Church and Russell Hathaway go into the details, and share resources sent in response to their previous blog on social norms and corruption. Including examples of programming with social norms. Continue reading

How do Businesses Strategize Peace? Emerging Issues from Colombia

– While the importance of the private sector for war-to-peace transitions is clear, little has been said about the specific strategies adopted by companies in transition periods. How do companies prepare for peace? What choices do they face? And what unique strategies do firms take to adapt to political change? Here, Jason Miklian and Angelika Rettberg identify four types of business strategies for peace (operational, political, philanthropic, public relations) used by firms operating in Colombia to expose key knowledge gaps and promote new research strands that can better integrate strategy and risk calculations into testable study of business-peace relationships.

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