TAI Weekly

TAI Weekly | Patient money and thinking
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  • Patient money and thinking
  • Show some love for inclusion
  • Building clean roads?
  • Navigating data lakes
  • Learning trumps evaluation?
  • TAI Spotlight: Digital rights — the new frontier of human rights?

Patient money and thinking

Image by: Family Financial Partners

How healthy is the NGO space? Epic Africa analyze the state of CSOs on the continent with data-driven analysis that looks at metrics like leadership and operations. The top three lessons they found were that CSOs in Africa require more core funding, must be patient in pursuing their objectives, and learn from their previous programs. None will be surprising to TAI members.

Last week we talked about an elite-grassroots civil society divide, but is that mirrored with a political vs apolitical divide? Michael Silberman argues that NGOs and more politically oriented groups often have similar goals, which makes cooperation desirable. To reconcile the differences between relatively apolitical NGOs and political social organizations, he argues that NGOs must reflect on their priorities and how they define social movements.

Show some love for inclusion

Talking of bridging divides, there are just ten days left to propose ways rights-based groups can leverage transparency and accountability for inclusive governance. Closing date is Valentine’s Day so show some love for improving citizen access to resources and services.

Why is inclusion a priority? James Muraguri highlights the challenge for constituents to advocate effectively for social programs in Kenya when budget transparency for district level governments is abysmal. Some encouragement from colleagues in Oxfam Uganda arguing that fiscal accountability reduces inequality, but depends on a dynamic and consolidated civil society that influences both the government and international financial institutions.

The World Bank Doing Business index has never been far from controversy and certainly not this past week as the Center for Global Development joins criticism of the corporate tax indicator arguing it blatantly encourages countries to drive down total corporate tax rates to an arbitrary optimal of 26.1 per cent.

In the meantime, some external pressures do appear to be paying off. Take the example of Royal Dutch Shell, a big player in a typically opaque sector, going beyond legal requirements by including country-by-country profit, employment, and tax data in its end of year report. Such big players taking these steps is getting more attention from the legal and business advisory industry. OpenCorporates argue that certain core corporate info should be open by default. They also highlighted how far there is to go in terms of accessing corporate registry info with a state by state review for the US.

Building clean roads?

Returning to Shell, an old scandal brings new charges to former Nigerian oil minister Dan Etete who allegedly received payments from both Shell and Eni to secure the OPL 245 oilfield. It is unclear how much Etete himself received, but the total transaction amounted to $1.3 billion.

“Openness and inclusiveness”, “reduce the possibility of rent-seeking”, “enhancing global governance against corruption.” Interesting to see such language in the Beijing Initiative for the Clean Silk Road. How can stakeholders in Belt Road Initiative countries use such statements when making the case for transparent and accountable project development?

Want more inspiration for cleaning up the world? Browse the submissions to the IMF Anti-Corruption Challenge – shortlisted winners to be announced soon.

Navigating data lakes

In the era of Industry 4.0, data use is changing. With data increasingly stored in lakes in the cloud, liability shifts from corporations to cloud vendors and Mathias Golombek sees data governance becoming more important than ever.  The EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the California Consumer Protection Act (CCPA) – even more comprehensive – offer a starting point for firms. Does legislation change anything? A Cisco report claims that corporations in the UK are now taking data governance more seriously, even if motivated less by regulatory compliance or any new found respect for citizens’ rights than good old profit incentivizes.

Of course, data protections become all the more high stakes as we shift to “smart cities” and Yung Wu argues effective innovation must be inclusive and local while also accounting for data governance based on Toronto’s Sidewalk Lab experiment.


Essential Listening I: Raw Data Podcast – How information becomes power

Want to get further up to speed on data governance, risks and opportunities? Catch up on the Raw Data podcast before its latest series starts up.


Learning trumps evaluation?


Ever wondered how to achieve peak development performance? Development success is related (but not limited) to two factors: people and the program according to David Jacobstein. For the program, the key lies not in cookie-cutter theories, but in building grounded theories of change in local contexts. [That’s likely to resonate with the Global Integrity team – offer feedback on their new strategy].

Of course once a program is implemented, funders tend to ask for it to be evaluated, but the latest survey data from the Center for Evaluation Innovation suggests foundations still have some way to go in building their own evaluation capability. We were intrigued to see the rise in job positions with learning in the title at the expense of evaluation (backed by our own TAI experience).

Not that funder program evaluations should be designed in isolation of the grantees. Certainly not if we follow Vu Le’s call for a stronger shift to trust-based philanthropy.

Finally, what merits getting on a plane in the good governance world?  Time to eschew trips and conferences altogether? Reflecting on an enforced grounding, a  DFID colleague raises some good questions on this thread on avoiding carbon contributions versus fear of missing out.

Essential Listing (II) – New Giving, New Methods

What do next generation donors want? Authors of “Generation Impact: How Next Gen Donors Are Revolutionizing Giving” discuss next gen emphasis on not what they fund but how they fund, and how to build lasting relationships that bring wide range of assets – not just money – to bear for social change. This resonates with smarter grantmaking work TAI and its members are pursuing.


TAI Spotlight: Digital rights: the new frontier of human rights?

Digital rights – the new frontier of human rights? | Luminate

In time for the Fourth Industrial Revolution, watch Martin Tisné as he discusses the evolving field of digital rights.

George Soros Launches Global Network to Transform Higher Education | Open Society Foundations

George Soros announced on January 23, 2020 that he will be building a new university network called the Open Society University Network (OSUN) to “prepare students for current and future global challenges.”



Job postings at International Budget Partnership (M&E positions too) – Ongoing
Job postings at Ford Foundation – Ongoing
BetterTogether Challenge for innovators – Ongoing
Democracy Fund: Sr. Associate, Strategy & Learning – Ongoing
WinterSchool for Thinktankers at Geneva, Switzerland – February 2-8, 2020
Practice Lead – Research at Water Witness – February 6, 2020
Call for research design and paper for the 2020 Working Group in African Political Economy (WGAPE) Spring Meeting (UC Riverside) – February 9, 2020

$2.5 million support for 32 partner research projects on health, water and sanitation, agriculture, and economic growth in developing countries – February 10, 2020
From Open to Inclusive Government: Global Innovate and Learn grant – February 14, 2020

Co-Impact systems change grants (round three) – March 31, 2020

Call for suggestions on Humanitarian and Development Data Forum agenda – May 2020
Proposal Submission for the 2020 Summer Evaluation Institute – June 7-10, 2020
Amartya Sen Essay Contest 2020: Illicit financial flows – August 31, 2020



Feedback+San Juan: Listening Reimagined – February 26-28, 2020
The Impacts of Civic Tech Conference (TICTeC) – March 24 – 25, 2020 (Reykjavik, Iceland)
Register for the 2020 OECD Global Anti-Corruption & Integrity Forum – 25-26 March 2020 (Paris, France)
EGAP Learning Days workshop – March 30-April 3, 2020 (Addis Ababa, Ethiopia)
Frontiers of Social Innovation: People, Power & Resources: The Redistribution Wave – 12-14 May 2020 (Stanford University, California, USA)
Transparency International: 19th International Anti-Corruption Conference – June 2 – 5, 2020 (Seoul, South Korea)
Human Rights Litigation Summer School at Berlin, Germany – June 8-12, 2020
Women and Girls Africa Summit – June 9-12, 2020 (Durban, South Africa)
RightsCon 2020 – June 9-12, 2020 (San Jose, Costa Rica)
Humanitarian and Development Data Forum – November 2-4, 2020 (Chambery, France)
International Open Data Conference –November 18-20, 2020 (Nairobi, Kenya)