Current Projects

Organizing for Development: How donor governance affects aid allocation & the effectiveness of foreign aid

More than twenty years ago, World Bank economists showed that foreign aid promotes economic growth only in countries that are well governed and opt for optimal economies policies (Burnside and Dollar 1997). In response, foreign donors began allocating more aid to countries that meet certain standards of good governance and by dispersing aid in poorly governed countries via non-governmental organizations (NGOs). This project shifts attention to donor governance as a potential determinant of aid effectiveness. Improvements to donor governance—the institutional environment, organizational structure, and transparency of donor agencies—may carry important benefits for aid effectiveness and aid efficiency. However, systematic research on how the organizational arrangements of donor agencies affect their aid allocation behaviors and aid effectiveness is lacking. To address this gap, we collect systematic information on critical aspects of donor governance, piloting a novel hybrid research-and-learning approach involving 10 postgraduate students from the University of Glasgow and Radboud University to assist in data collection and survey research.

Capacity-Building Across the Humanitarian-Peace-Development Nexus in the DRC

This project studies the implementation of the Humanitarian-Peace-Development Nexus or Triple-Nexus in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). The Triple-Nexus is the most extensive attempt to-date to integrate security, development and humanitarian actors around coordinating, financing, and implementing a response to instability and conflict.  By observing in real-time the implementation of the Nexus across three Congolese provinces—Kasai, Kasai Central, and Tanganyika—we aim to shed light on the ability of the approach to successfully operate in differing security-environments and with different types of local actors. For more details, see.

 Aiding the Social Contract

  • In collaboration with: Susanna Campbell, American University; Abrehet Gebremedhin, American University, ’Dapo Oyewole, Dignity Collective; Simone Dietrich, University of Geneva
  • Fund by: Knowledge Management Fund, Knowledge Platform Security & Rule of Law

This project aims to analyze how the presence of foreign aid donors in fragile and conflict-affected countries shapes the relationship between the state and society, particularly in the face of rising calls for the decolonization of aid. More concretely, we will support a dialogue among representatives of civil society organizations and state aid ministries in Africa and donors in the Global North with the twin goals of exploring: (a) changes in contemporary aid relationships, and (b) how donors may help to reimagine the social contract between state and society. Building on previous virtual events, funds from the KMF will support a face-to-face workshop in Geneva, Switzerland in Fall 2022. The workshop will bring together key thinkers from across the African continent for dialogue amongst themselves (i.e., south-south dialogue) and in conversation with Geneva-based donors (i.e., north-south dialogue). The workshop will focus on how societies with fractured or contested social contracts, such as those heavily dependent on foreign aid, may move towards a more inclusive, legitimate, and sustainable arrangement.