5 Responses

  1. Denis Dragovic
    Denis Dragovic July 19, 2012 at 3:25 am

    John, I haven’t had a chance to read through the full report in detail as I intend to but before this post moves off the radar I wanted to pose a question to you.

    In scanning through your summary of other’s views of failed states it seems to me that the role of the community in contributing to strengthening failing states or rebuilding failed states is ignored. If we are to see the strength of the state as being dependent upon a functional social contract between the governed and those that govern then surely our contribution should equally be focused upon building the capacity of the governed to, for example, hold those in government to account, to develop lobbying capacity etc.

    This is more than a glib call for civil society which usually gets included in every report and some chump change allocated to NGOs, its a question as to fundamentally what are we doing in stabilization efforts? Do we build a state as an end in of itself regardless of its functionality or is the state apparatus only as good as the community understands how to utilize it for its purposes?

    As I noted in an earlier post on this blog there are too few community strengthening projects around, the CAP in Iraq and NSP in Afghanistan being the only two worth mentioning. That their approaches don’t appear as headers in any of the strategies of the groups you summarized is I would suggest a reason for our continuing failures in preventing state failure or in state building efforts.

    Again, apologies if this is covered in detail in your report as I haven’t had the chance to go through it all.

    1. John Eyers
      John Eyers July 20, 2012 at 6:25 pm

      Denis, I haven’t included in my discussion paper much about community capacity to want and obtain better governance, but you’ll find plenty in several of the texts I cite, especially (from memory) World Development Report 2011 and Fixing Failed States. Given your interest in community strengthening projects, I suggest you look also at:
      a recent ODE evaluation of AusAID’s engagement with civil society in developing countries – based on theory of change / literature review / mapping of AusAID’s engagement in PNG, Philippines and Vanuatu / cross-case analysis / case studies –
      BRAC – NGO based in Bangladesh providing microcredit, education and other services to poor isolated communities – http://www.brac.net/
      PNPM – national program for community empowerment in rural areas of Indonesia, supported by World Bank – http://www.worldbank.org/projects/P122810/pnpm-rural-iv?lang=en
      With regards, John

    2. Peter McGlynn
      Peter McGlynn July 28, 2012 at 10:55 am

      Thanks Denis for your insightful comment. I agree, that community-based initiatives are a significant part of any sustainable aid initiatives ( excuse the understatement) and are often overlooked or under-represented in planning and M&E of these initiatives. Communities that take ownership of aid through knowledgable, organised and influential leaders, are far more likely to sustain these initiatives and benefits in the longer term. Peter McGlynn

  2. E. John Blunt
    E. John Blunt July 17, 2012 at 10:07 am

    In the context of the Eyers report, it is interesting to read of AusAID cancelling its contract with an Afghan-based non-governmental organisation (The Liaison Office – TLO) after a critical report on progress in Afghanistan’s Uruzgan province.

    AusAID asked TLO to prepare the report to evaluate Australia’s efforts as lead nation in the province up to the end of 2011. I understand that TLO conducted about 180 interviews with local residents for the report, with a similar number of interviews from four quarterly provincial updates also incorporated. The resulting primary data was analysed by the TLO Research Team, comprised of both national and international staff, who conducted further desk research and triangulation interviews with 50 key Uruzgan actors and 29 development organizations. The report also includes local perspectives derived from a December 2011 survey conducted at a provincial stability meeting (jirga) with 523 Uruzgani respondents from all districts. The TLO Report appears to be comprehensive and is available on the TLO Website.

    I note that the report was financed by the Royal Netherlands’s Embassy in Afghanistan and the AusAID. I wonder if the report has been accepted by the Dutch?

    Mr. E. John Blunt is an Institutional and Public Procurement Expert with extensive experience in leading public procurement reforms in a variety of international development environments. He is currently on assignment with the Southern African Development Community in Botswana.

    1. Jonathan Pryke
      Jonathan Pryke July 17, 2012 at 10:55 am


      This was actually brought up in the most recent Senate Estimates (see page 51). According to DG Peter Baxter the decision to cancel the contract was actually conducted in agreement with the Dutch and was based primarily on consistent lack of performance (for example, over a two year period they expected 17 reports from TLO and only received 6).

      The primary justification for not looking for another contractor is because AusAID has significantly increased its presence and Oruzgan since 2010 and was confident they could get the information they needed to conduct programming decisions from their own people on the ground.

      All of this, in my eyes, seems quite reasonable. I would still be interested in hearing TLO’s perspective on the whole matter. If I come across anything I will be sure to share.


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