Author Archives: Guest Blogger

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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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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A helpful response to unhelpful research; and a call for ideas

– In January, Mark Pyman wrote a blog on this site on the unhelpful nature of anti-corruption research. Now Mark shares the key points from the many thoughtful and thought provoking responses it elicited. Inspired by the responses, he suggests what could be done to accelerate the usefulness of anti-corruption research, and ends with a call for ideas. – Continue reading

Approaching corruption through the lens of masculinities

– Héctor Portillo and Sebastián Molanon propose three ways in which the expectations, pressures, and privileges of “being a man” may shed light on male attitudes towards corruption. –

Although corruption is not by any means our field of study, we both grew up in countries where corruption is normalized to the point where not engaging in it is not only considered rare but naïve. Coincidentally, both of our countries of origin, Mexico and Colombia, also have a deeply embedded culture of sexism and machismo. Our personal experiences with sexism, masculinities, and corruption motivated us to explore how the expectations, pressures, and privileges of “being a man” can encourage or deter an individual’s engagement in corruption.

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Framing Corruption: Do our frames limit our effectiveness?

Diana Chigas, JD, argues that the way we are framing the problem of corruption in fragile states is limiting our vision and leading us to ignore the key drivers to corruption. In particular, Diana discusses what she observed during her research in northern Uganda regarding reactions to the ‘moral frame’ through which corruption is commonly addressed. Continue reading

The Financial Journeys of Refugees: Charting a research agenda – Is corruption a relevant framework?

In this post, Roxanne Krystalli and Kim Wilson, who collectively specialize in financial inclusion, gender and violence, and research methods in vulnerable settings, discuss some of the emerging questions that their research has identified at the intersection of forced migration, money, relationships along refugee journeys, and corruption.

In March 2016, Transparency International mapped the ways in which corruption affects refugee journeys across the Mediterranean. Key points to consider included bribes to border officials and landowners to allow refugees to pass, the role of smugglers, the use of fake life vests, and risks of refugee coercion by formal authorities and smugglers alike. Transparency International concluded, “fighting corruption is critical for mitigating refugee smuggling and ending the conflicts which are driving people to flee their homes.”

The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) further reinforces the view that the international community needs to fight corruption and “understand the intricate connections between corruption and refugee smuggling.” Continue reading