There are 90 entries in this category.
Jul 27, 2010
Jun 29, 2010
Jun 02, 2010
It’s often discussed that philanthropy has a fad problem. Philanthropic attention tends to gravitate to the “new”, and even when these “hot” areas show success, they are infrequently carried to scale. In other cases, donors simply declare victory and move on, leaving programs that require on-going funding to spiral downward into failure.
Agriculture is one area that has been a victim of philanthropy fads. Investment poured into the sector during the 1960s and 1970s and yielded perhaps the greatest success in the history of global philanthropy: the green revolution. But the success of the green revolution in Asia led many funders to focus on other sectors, believing the problem was solved. As a result, investment in agriculture and agricultural research declined and progress on improved varieties of global staple crops slowed—and the green revolution never reached Africa.
Recently there has been some movement on this front. The Gates Foundation in particular has become vocal about agriculture in Africa in particular, initiating the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa and bringing other funders on board.
But the neglect of the agricultural sector has exposed us all to a counter-revolution, a brown revolution.
May 31, 2010
May 18, 2010
May 05, 2010
A few weeks ago I wrote a post criticizing the reaction of microfinance organizations and the City of New York to rigorous evaluations of their programs. This week, I’ve seen two pieces of writing in reaction to evaluation of programs that I think provide positive examples.
Apr 23, 2010
Today Esther Duflo was announced as the winner of the John Bates Clark Medal. The award is granted to the economist under age 40 who has “contributed the most to the profession.“ The increasing recognition of Duflo’s groundbreaking work to bring experimental economics to bear on real world questions is a ray of hope that philanthropy and public policy can learn from what works.
You can read an extensive interview with Esther Duflo here.
Apr 21, 2010
The morning plenary of Day Two of the Global Philanthropy Forum focused on Global Health with presenters from the Gates Foundation, the Global Health Council and the White Ribbon Alliance. For me, it illuminated a lot of the core tensions in philanthropy, what you might call philanthropy’s cognitive dissonance. Actually it would probably be better termed philanthropy’s lack of cognitive dissonance. The presenters were saying quite different things, often contradictory, yet no one seemed to notice.
Apr 20, 2010
The most important thing about Singer’s steps is that they are all modeled on successful, cheap initiatives in other industries that didn’t require everyone to come to the table and agree in the first place. They are examples of individuals and organizations just starting their work and then getting others to join them. If we can replicate those successes in the nutrition space, we can fix this problem. We don’t need new innovations in nutrition, we just need to use the ones that are already there.