The almost complete suite of learning papers and briefings from the Strengthening Action Against Corruption in Ghana Programme (STAAC) have now been posted online.
We have put together a publication series that documents the adaptive approaches and methods we used to deliver on the programme’s aims, some of our proudest achievements, and also a few of the challenges and difficulties we encountered along the way.
In the link below you will find an overall implementation learning paper, together with six shorter briefing papers on key issue areas: beneficial ownership, financial intelligence, criminal investigation mentoring, integrity in service delivery, transparency in the oil sector, state-society collaboration around legislative change. There is also a briefing on the evolution of our adaptive results framework, which I am sure will be of interest to many. Additional papers may be added down the line.
There is much more that we could have documented about this catalytic partnership between Ghanaian reformers, DFID/FCDO, and a small team of committed technical advisers. But it is a start, and definitely much more than what is the norm, sadly. You will find in these pages proof that smart aid programmes can work to reconcile local and global agendas, provided that they are ready to work adaptively and in politically-smart ways, supporting (not overriding) the ongoing efforts of local actors.
Check them out [here].
As we move along 2020 and inch closer to the completion of Strengthening Action Against Corruption (STAAC), there are plenty of lessons to be learned from a programme that ICAI called “an agile, thoughtful response to Ghana’s corruption challenge” and “built on best practice for achieving sustainable outcomes.”
Later this year we will work to produce learning papers that can disseminate to the community insights as to what we did well and not so well, what our partners achieved, and what an adaptive programme looks like in practice. In the meantime, I wanted to share a previous paper I co-authored with former STAAC programme manager Isabel Castle a couple of years back.
STAAC Paper 1 – Lessons from Building STAAC – March 2019
There has been some recent discussion in the Twitterverse about the “state of the nation” for Thinking and Working Politically: specifically whether TWP has already “won” or not, and whether specific tools would be a useful or self-defeating addition to the corpus. Previous posts in my PEA Confessions should make clear my view on the former: personally, I would say that rumors of TWP’s success have been greatly exaggerated. What I want to tackle now is the latter claim. In particular, I am building on a reflection by FP2P on “creating the right (empowering) tools” and a concern raised by Bruce Byiers that “tools lead people towards procedures, which then kill the idea that it is really about a process”. So what is it, then? Will tools empower TWP, or will it turn us into midless automata?
Continue reading PEA Confessions, part III: More tools, please and thank you
Taylor & Francis has finally released online my Third World Quarterly piece with Badru Bukenya: ‘New’ approaches confront ‘old’ challenges in African public sector reform. It has been a lengthy process between TWQ and T&F, but we are finally there. Here’s the abstract:
The disappointing performance of conventional public sector reforms in developing countries has led to the rise of ‘new’ approaches seeking to overcome traditional bureaucratic barriers to change: leadership-focused interventions like the Africa Governance Initiative (AGI); accountability-focused initiatives like the Open Government Partnership (OGP); and adaptation-focused models like those of Africa Power and Politics (APP). While these approaches are appealing to aid donors in their promise to move beyond the limitations of purely formal institution building, they fail to provide new answers to the ‘old’ analytical and practical challenges of public sector reform, in particular administrative patrimonialism, public corruption and political capture. The evidence is yet inchoate, but all points to the need for these approaches to work together with conventional ones. Beyond novel implementation tactics, however, there is a need for new strategies of sustained political support for embattled reformers who face powerful incentives against institutional change.