I am a writer, researcher, consultant and practitioner on international poverty and human rights, looking at the changing nature of development cooperation as dominant paradigms and global economic relationships evolve.
I’ve run multi-million dollar NGO programs and large-scale cross-country research and evaluation projects. I’ve advised multilateral organisations, taught at universities and worked with street kids in India, indigenous groups in Colombia, and debt campaigners in Kenya. I’ve written books criticising aid and defending it and I’ve written about million blogs and other articles on everything from development finance, the role of the private sector, human rights, indigenous peoples, women’s empowerment, land, conflict, sustainability, inequality and governance.
My most recent actual job was Director of the Ipsos Sustainable Development Research Centre where I led the company’s growing portfolio of research on international and sustainable development. Previous to that I was Director of Policy and Research at Save the Children UK and Country Director of Christian Aid in Colombia. Between 2010-14 I led the work of the Overseas Development Institute on the future of aid and development cooperation. In my time I have worked with DFID, the OECD, EU, UN agencies, USAID, the Gates Foundation, and all manner of official, academic and civil society entities across the world.
Those books. A well-received book on aid (The trouble with aid: why less could mean more for Africa, Zed Books, 2008) and a slightly less reader-friendly book on the impact of aid on growth with Andy Sumner (Aid, growth and poverty, Palgrave, 2016). A colleague (my old friend Gail Hurley) and I have almost finished a new book, provisionally entitled From “Foreign aid” to “Global Public Investment: an evolution. In time I will get round to books on Dignity and Internationalism…
I am now a slightly less regular columnist for The Guardian‘s Global Development website than I used to be but still occasionally pop up.
I have a degree in Theology (Cambridge University), a Masters in Sustainable Development (Forum for the Future/Middlesex University) and a post-graduate certificate in Economics (Birkbeck, University of London). I have lectured on development and aid effectiveness at the Universidad Externado in Bogotá, Colombia, and at the International Development Institute at King’s College London where I am a visiting fellow.
Over the years I have been on the board of Peace Brigades International, the Children’s Society , the Jubilee Debt Campaign and the Sheffield Institute for International Development, and I am an assembly member of the Agency for Cooperation and Research in Development (ACORD). In earlier years I worked with disadvantaged children in the UK, Colombia, Guatemala and India. In 1997 I co-founded Students Supporting Street Kids with another good friend, Ben Phillips – it is still going strong 20 years later.
In 2011 I was named as one of Devex’s London ‘40-Under-40’ International Development Leaders in 2011. Yes, I know that was ages ago, but these things don’t happen very often…