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Thomas Dichter's blog

Is the foreign aid profession falling into the trap of “Social Physics”?

Let’s consider the foreign aid establishment through the lens of cultural anthropology, the aim of which, as the late Clifford Geertz succinctly put it, “is to determine what this people or that take to be the point of what they are doing.”[1]  The aid establishment has a culture just as much as the inhabitants of the Trobriand Islands

The Limits of Frameworks

The real world -- complex, messy and unpredictable -- is making a comeback in CD thinking. Indeed, it is largely because we are so uncomfortable with (and more important, organizationally unprepared for) the inherently unruly nature of capacity development that we keep hoping for templates and frameworks to ease our unhappy sense of disorder.

Reshaping a Development Story to Fit Donors’ Concerns

You forgot to say gender! “A program officer from a European foundation recalled the time she had gone to a school where her foundation was asking women to talk about the projects they had submitted as part of a leadership training program on gender equality. One woman stood up and said “The project I have submitted is to get cooking equipment so I can teach kids to cook.