Challenge of data in the Pacific, Glimmer of hope, Nairobi ICPD25, and more.

Posted on 19 November 2019

+ Lack of HR biggest challenge for data in the Pacific

Lack of environmental data collection and analysis is holding back decision-making and progress in the Pacific, writes Lisa Cornish at Devex.

"A big realisation for me has been that there is data out there people want to provide — the connections haven’t been made yet," says Paul Anderson, inform project manager with the Pacific Regional Environment Programme

“When it comes to communicating out data, most of our reporting at the national level is big walls of text — with maybe a table if you are lucky. For people that aren’t specialists in that area, it doesn’t help them to understand what is going on.”

We need more people trained to analyse the data, says Paul Anderson.

"There are skills that need to be meshed in better data communication, which includes analyzing data that may not be from your area of expertise, synthesizing it into information that is understandable and then creating a picture of that — including highlighting whether something is good or bad."

New Zealand, along with Australia, NASA, and the USGS [United States Geological Survey], and private companies, is collaborating with the Pacific to try to increase the human resource needed to do better at data collection on the environment.

At the moment, Fiji and Papua New Guinea are perhaps the only countries with the people who have the capacity to interpret this data on their own, writes Devex.

+ Where to spend aid? New report for African Union

A new Copenhagen Consensus Centre report produced in partnership with the African Union identifies the most effective policies to reduce poverty, and advises governments to -  'just do those, if they really want to make a difference.'

"... many efforts to improve Africans’ lot risk being penny-wise but pound-foolish—fretting more about whether a policy is well implemented than whether it was well chosen," writes the Economist magazine (paywall) this week.  

A government could spend 10% of any additional aid on the best initiatives, squander the rest and still do more good than if it spent all the extra money on a middling policy, the report confirms.

The difference between the most effective policies and the 'middling ones' is mind-boggling.

The most effective policy interventions across Africa, according to the report, would be family planning, followed by support for Women's Self Help Groups and Rotavirus vaccinations. 

"The winners are those with a deafening bang for buck."

"Extending a pan-African high-speed rail network to Mozambique, for example, yields only three cents-worth of benefits per dollar spent, the ccc calculates. And a lot of dollars would have to be spent: the upfront capital cost for a ten-nation network could amount to $878bn".

"A more modest policy, such as building latrines in villages (and shaming people into using them rather than defecating in the open) can bring $3.40-worth of benefits for every dollar spent, thanks to the diseases prevented and the time saved. But the gains decline to 60 cents if, as often happens, the new social norms fail to take hold and the latrines fall into disuse."

This kind of report allows governments to compare policies that affect mortality with others that affect prosperity.

"Priorities can then be set on a sounder basis than gut instinct, sentimental appeal or the political clout of the people hurt or helped. That matters because some good causes are not nearly as good as others," writes the Economist.

+ Register now to secure a place! M&E workshop

CID, in consultation with MFAT and M&E experts, will deliver a 1-day Monitoring & Evaluation Workshop - Wellington on 11 December and Auckland on 12 December.

MFAT will be doing a presentation at the workshop.

The workshop will be facilitated by Liz Smith or Sandar Duckworth from LITMUS, a leading social research, evaluation and design firm.

The workshop will focus on evaluative thinking and on how to manage and measure outcomes and will have a practical, hands-on approach aimed at strengthening member organisations’ outcomes management capacity. The training will draw on case studies using multi-year, multi-country and multi-sector arrangements, and smaller activities.
Register here to the Wellington workshop

Register here to the Auckland workshop


+ Glimmer of hope - Behrouz Boochani arrives in NZ

Kurdish-Iranian refugee and journalist Behrouz Boochani arrived at Auckland Airport last week, after being held by the Australian government for six years on Manus Island and Port Moresby.

Australian media covered the arrival, here at the Sydney Morning Herald, quoting new CEO of Amnesty NZ (and CID member), Meg de Ronde calling it a 'glimmer of hope':

"The New Zealand government has stepped up and shown leadership by allowing the acclaimed journalist and writer to visit for this event," she said.

He has been granted a visitor visa for New Zealand to appear at the WORD Christchurch literary event on November 29.

The Kurdish-Iranian writer was swept up in Australia's offshore processing system when he arrived on Christmas Island by boat in 2013.

Guardian UK also covered the arrival. 'Free at last'.

Boochani has reportedly received approval to move to the United States as part of a deal brokered in 2018 by the Australian government but has expressed dismay at the speed of that transfer.

Jacinda Ardern, who on Monday addressed the issue for the first time, said she wouldn't be drawn on the "totally hypothetical" situation that would see Boochani take a longer stay in New Zealand, wrote Ben Mckay on Stuff.

+ Talk on cash-transfer programmes - Save the Date!

Oxfam’s Pacific cash advisor, Sandra Hart has been confirmed to visit Auckland and Wellington during the second week of December. Sandra has been leading Oxfam’s innovative cash projects in Vanuatu. One was a major cash programme for Ambae evacuees on Santo, the second a blockchain pilot project (which we’ve previously discussed) for IDPs in Port Vila.
CID is working with Oxfam to organise a couple of events to hear Sandra presenting for on cash approaches in the Pacific:

  • Tues, 10th Dec – AKL (afternoon)
  • Fri, 13th Dec – WLG (afternoon)

Locations TBC. Watch this space!

The Wellington Talk on 13th December will be followed by CID Xmas Drinks (location TBC).

+ Trump impeachment and USAID

The House of Representatives held its first public impeachment hearings related to President Donald Trump's withholding security assistance to Ukraine.

They offered a rare glimpse into America's foreign aid practices, writes Michael Igoe for Devex.

1. It's not normal for Presidents to use foreign aid for their own personal, political reasons.
2. USAID was told to reconsider a public-private partnership with Ukrainian energy company Burisma.
3. US anti-corruption efforts are extensive and do not begin with a president asking for a favor
4. Republicans are making the case that holding up assistance to Ukraine was part of the president’s general skepticism of foreign aid
5. Trump is not winning the hearts of US officials serving in hardship posts.

Also, a few days ago, the Guardian reported that in an effort that is seen as a sop to Christian evangelicals in Donald Trump’s base, White House officials are drafting plans to make US foreign aid conditional on how countries treat their religious minorities.

The move, which threatens to impose further constraints on a US foreign aid policy already heavily restricted under the Trump administration, was first reported by Politico after briefings from White House aides.

According to the report, the proposal could also be extended to include US military assistance with a potential impact on countries from Iraq to Vietnam and India. 


+ Helping the Humanitarian and Private Sectors Understand Each Other

Current global issues require increasing collaboration across sectors. The challenge of overcoming what Harvard Professor Amy Edmondson calls "Professional Culture Clash" is one we need to address - urgently.

The SDGs explicitly require partnerships between governments, the private sector and civil society for effective sustainable development. Partnerships should be built on principles and values, a shared vision, and shared goals that place people and the planet at the centre, and they need to happen at the global, regional, national and local level.

Rebekah Robertson, Natural Hazard and Disaster Risk Specialist at Tonkin + Taylor, in partnership with CID, has compiled a suite of guides to help the humanitarian and private sectors understand each other.

The Guides are available for download:

A Guide to the Private Sector

A Guide to the Pacific NGO Ecosystem


+ Nairobi Summit on sexual and reproductive health

From 12-14 November, the governments of Kenya and Denmark and UNFPA co-convened the Nairobi Summit on ICPD25, a high-level conference to mobilize the political will and financial commitments needed to fully implement the ICPD Programme of Action, which was adopted by 179 governments at the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) in Cairo 25 years ago.

The Programme of Action called for “all people to have access to comprehensive reproductive health care, including voluntary family planning/contraception and safe pregnancy and childbirth services.”

While progress has been made in many of these areas, such as reducing maternal mortality, many people still lack access to good health care, contraceptives, and information; and a key phrase heard at the Nairobi Summit on ICPD25 this week, was “unfinished business", reports Sara Jerving on Devex.

During the Summit, the Nairobi Statement on ICPD25 was released -  a non-binding statement outlining the goal of eliminating preventable maternal deaths, eliminating gender-based violence and harmful practices, such as child marriage, and meeting the needs of people who want contraceptives but aren’t using them — all by 2030. 

But figures published this week show that achieving these aims will require an additional $222 billion investment over the next decade. Research conducted by the UN population fund (UNFPA) and Johns Hopkins University, in collaboration with Victoria University, the University of Washington and Avenir Health, found that only $42bn in aid is expected to be spent on advancing these goals as things stand (out of the $264 billion to effectively accomplish these targets in priority countries). Summit participants discussed the ways to close this gap — agreeing the approach needs to change.

During the days of the Summit, topics such as abortion, LGBTI rights, and contraceptives for adolescents have stirred controversy among faith communities and conservative advocacy groups. These reactions to the summit illustrate some of the challenges that health professionals face in expanding access to services for women and girls globally.

+ What does Russia really want from Africa?

According to the Brookings Institute, Russia's key goals in Africa are:

1. Projecting power on the global stage
2. Accessing raw materials and natural resources
3. Arms exports and security
4. Supporting energy and power development in Africa through Russian companies

We can assume the same is true in the Pacific.

+ Andrew McKie: 'The International Disaster Man' Retires from Red Cross after 25 years

After 25 years Andrew McKie retired from his work with New Zealand Red Cross on Friday, 15th Nov.

A former New Zealand Defense Force paramedic for 21 years, Andrew joined the army at age 16 -  often referring to himself as a 'former child soldier' (the legal definition being anyone younger than 18 under the 2007 Paris Principles on Children involved in conflict!). Andrew was profiled in The Dominion as 'The International Disaster Man' in their National Portrait piece some years back.

As a Red Cross field officer on the ground dealing with the aftermath of floods, cyclones, earthquakes and tsunami, Andrew recalls a history of global humanitarian crisis: the 6.6 earthquake in Bam, south-east Iran, in 2003 that struck at 7am and killed more than 20,000 people. The 2004 Boxing Day tsunami in the Indian Ocean that wiped out more than 230,000 people in 14 countries, pounding coastal communities with waves up to 30 metres high. The stark reality of the plight of those who had lost their homes and livelihoods has stayed with him.

"When I got up there a few weeks after the 2004 tsunami people were living on their lawns or in temporary shelter. Disasters are a lot more than the first impact. For some people it goes on for years and years. It's not about waiting for the Earthquake Commission to come and fix their house. They have nothing, they have to do it themselves."

Andrew will be remembered for his work and legacy for years to come. He's left an indelible impression and influence on a generation of International and domestic emergency response staff in New Zealand, and will be remembered for his calmness and humour, even in the middle of a crisis.

CID wishes Andrew all the best for his well-earned 'retirement'. We'll miss him, but we have his phone number!
+ Rotary appeal for Australian bushfires
Rotary New Zealand World Community Service (RNZWCS Limited) signed an MOU with Rotary Australia World Community Service Ltd in 2014. The purpose of the MOU includes working collaboratively in Humanitarian Assistance. Due to differing Income Tax legislation in New Zealand and Australia each receives donations on behalf of the other for individual
projects/activities listed on our respective websites or when the need arises as is the case for the current Bushfire Emergency.

Donations may be made as quoted below. Receipts will be issued for tax Deductible purposes.
Four Donation Options: Quoting Activity No. 011
Internet Banking: 03 1702 0192208 01
Paypalon Rotary website, here.
Give a Little here.


+ From Palmerston North to World Bank

If it wasn't for growing up in New Zealand, Annette Dixon may not have made it to  vice president for human development at the World Bank Group, overseeing financing operations and projects worth more than NZ$15 billion a year, she writes in the NZ Herald. 

"In no small part, this is because I was fortunate enough to grow up in a stable, prosperous country which made effective investments in health, nutrition and education, especially in early childhood."

"New Zealand's own development story, with its history of investment in "building human capital", to use the World Bank's language, means our country has much to share with the world and especially low-income countries."

"Beyond knowledge-sharing, one of the most effective ways to demonstrate solidarity with the world's poorest countries is through the World Bank's International Development Association (IDA), the fund for the poorest countries, which is negotiating its next three-year funding package with our 55 country donor partners," she writes.


+ INGOs transforming fast enough?

"The flawed 20th-century international system is ending — and it has to. But what replaces it could either build on its successes or collapse its very real gains," writes Winnie Byanyima, executive director of the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) for Devex.

Staying the same is too risky, she says.

As a former Executive Director of Oxfam, she led Oxfam's shift in power from the North to one in which it was "truly shared across the world".

"As part of that, we decided to shift our international headquarters from Oxford to Nairobi, build up more member organizations — “affiliates” — from the global south, and recruit a more diverse leadership."

That also meant a more localized approach to humanitarian work that strengthened countries’ governments’ and citizens’ own adaptive capacity to prepare for and respond to crises.

The call to transform is not new, and many international NGOs and development organisations are trying different ways of working. 

Some examples include:

There are also social enterprises springing up in developing countries. A small sample from Kenya alone shows:

  • Peepoople for affordable sanitation
  • Sidai for franchised services to farmers 
  • BRCK for mobile internet and computing, an incubated start-up within iHub

The questions for leaders of existing NGOs is no longer just about what they should be focusing on as organisations, but also about the very nature of the organisation itself in the development process, writes Ian Grey at Bond.


+ The CID Weekly is Proudly Sponsored By
Direct Impact Group supports organisations to maximise their social impact, because changing the world isn't easy, and in dynamic times this work is more important than ever.
+ Children help celebrate UNCRC Anniversary
Wednesday 20 November is the 30th anniversary of the signing of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. NGOs have planned celebrations to mark this important milestone all over the world.
Here in New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern will join with 80 pre-school children in a special event at Parliament on Wednesday that has been jointly organised by Save the Children, Barnardos, OMEP and the Children’s Rights Alliance. The event aims to raise awareness of the anniversary of the Convention, International Children’s Day and children’s right to play. The children will play games, have a story read to them by the PM, play in the new playground in Parliament grounds commissioned by the Speaker, and have a small celebratory lunch. Check out Save the Children Facebook page for photos on Wednesday.
Also, Dr Jae Major of Victoria University’s Faculty of Education has written a research report on an early childhood care and development and literacy boost project Save the Children NZ ran in Indonesia. An article about the project is on Victoria Uni’s website here.


Africa Humanitarian Health