1. Research

    Empowering Local Governments? The LOKAL+ project in Haiti

    The LOKAL+ project, financed by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), sought to help make communes (district-level governments) in Haiti more autonomous through effective decentralization. LOKAL+ (Limiyè ak Òganizasyon pou Kolektivite yo Ale Lwen Plus) ran from January 2013 to January 2018. It aimed to improve municipal services by tackling strategic planning, tax collection, finance and program management, and community awareness.

    LOKAL+ included initiatives that should benefit communities beyond the life of the project:

    • CIVITAX – a software program that facilitates tax collection for Haitian municipal staff;
    • training for local government executives;
    • increased tax revenue, which could help improve community services;
    • promotion of increased transparency in local governance;
    • support for lobbying efforts for legislation guaranteeing communes’ financial autonomy.

    However, the project had some significant limitations:

    • gender issues were little taken into account, but local regressive taxes, like the patent (business license tax), mainly affect female market sellers;
    • Beneficiaries were not involved in project design;
    • the central government delayed payment of municipal executive salaries;
    • slow bureaucracy sometimes prevented projects from running to schedule;
    • lack of oversight negatively affected financial management and transparency;
    • Resources actually raised often fell short of highly ambitious tax collection plans. In some communes, only 30-40% of projected tax revenues were collected;
    • a perception of corruption within the project itself.

    In spite of efforts through LOKAL+ to help local governments smoothly manage resource raising, improve community services and develop support tools, the project was hampered by a stubbornly centralized system. Also, barriers to sustaining improved revenue collection include pervasive customs exemptions, contraband, tax evasion and corruption. The project helped communities become more active and aware of their role in local development via tax contributions. However, Oxfam’s research found that the project did not lead to a clear improvement in the services provided to taxpayers.

  2. Research

    Local Humanitarian Leadership: The View from Local Actors

    The global call for local humanitarian leadership (LHL) points to the power imbalance between local and international actors. This study synthesizes Oxfam's experience, practice, and learning from its local humanitarian leadership approach by analyzing the power relationship between Oxfam in the Philippines and its local partners. The study first unpacks the meaning of the term “local humanitarian leadership” based on the perspectives of local partners. It then assesses lessons from the localization of Oxfam in the Philippines, primarily through its strategic-partnership model.

  3. Research

    Making Gender-Responsive Budgeting Work for Women Small-Scale Farmers: Lessons from Ethiopia, Ghana, and Tanzania

    This paper reviews and synthesizes three research papers that look at gender-responsive budgeting in Ethiopia, Ghana, and Tanzania, with the aim of drawing out common themes and lessons learned on what it takes to ensure well-functioning GRB and how it can benefit women small-scale farmers. While Ethiopia, Ghana, and Tanzania are not countries that systematically and efficiently practice GRB, the in-depth look at the challenges and successes of GRB in each of these countries provides some helpful insights. After a brief background section summarizing the history of GRB in each country, this paper outlines the lessons learned in five categories: 1. Setting up government practices, systems, and structures for gender-responsive budgeting; 2. Designing a more gender-responsive budgeting process; 3. Engaging citizens in the budgeting process; 4. Envisioning gender-responsive budgeting outcomes; and 5. Identifying best practices in GRB advocacy by NGOs.

  4. Research

    Right to Live Without a Blockade

    The impact of US sanctions on the Cuban population and women's lives

    Right to Live Without Blockade.JPG
  5. Research

    'Flash blending' development finance: how to make aid donor-private sector partnerships help meet the SDGs

    Aid donors, development advocates, and finance experts increasingly look to the private sector to fill the estimated $2.5 trillion annual Sustainable Development Goals financing gap, an amount likely to increase due to effects of COVID-19. Donors use a variety of partnerships with the private sector to realize development objectives. We use the term donor-private partnerships (DPPs) to describe the broad range of arrangements between donors and private-sector actors. Using ODA to leverage private finance, innovation testing, or service delivery, modalities include blended finance, de-risking instruments, public-private partnerships, and more. Does the reality match donors’ enthusiastic rhetoric? There are success stories but civil society actors and others question whether private-sector engagement in development reduces poverty and inequality, advances gender justice, and achieves environmental sustainability. There may be trade-offs between development and profit making. We present our research based on frameworks we developed to categorize and assess DPPs. We applied these to 20 partnerships involving nine donors and found that donors fail to sufficiently integrate development, human rights, and environmental standards. They inconsistently implement due diligence and risk management requirements, and impact assessments are inadequate. Our frameworks offer practitioners and academics valuable tools to examine how DPPs can advance sustainable development.

  6. Research

    Gender and Technology: A rights-based and intersectional analysis of key trends

    This report employs an intersectional feminist framework to identify and analyze key trends related to gender and technology. It aims to provide a holistic picture of how gender and technology are embedded in and influenced by a myriad of intersecting issues and challenges that complicate how ICT for development (ICT4D) initiatives concretely impact women’s lives. Based on synthesized research, the report provides recommendations for relevant stakeholders on how to approach the field of international development using technology as a tool for social good in ways that benefit the most marginalized members of our global community.

    Many of the report’s key findings highlight the fact that women’s lack of access to digital technologies and ICTs is a principal reason why gender inequalities persist in today’s technologically driven world. Particularly in low-and middle-income countries, many women still struggle with basic access to ICTs; for instance, they may be unable to afford ICT devices, or they may face barriers to joining online networks because of a lack of digital connectivity owing to geographic, economic, social, or political factors. This contributes to a gendered digital divide that impacts women’s potential to use ICTs and digital technologies for social, civic, and economic purposes.

    This report urges stakeholders to develop gender-sensitive, context-specific, evidence-based, and accountable legal frameworks and policies that promote and formalize digital rights for all. What is most essential, however, beyond legal frameworks, is truly listening to the needs and priorities of women and marginalized communities as they relate to digital technologies. Ultimately, fostering gender equality through ICT4D must begin with the recognition that, by virtue of a shared humanity, every woman is inherently entitled to digital rights and citizenship. As such, women must be centered in all ongoing and future conversations about ICTs’ capacity for systemic and transformative change.

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