Author Archives: developmentcircle

Localisation in Practice – Readings

Image: CARE International

A Pacific Case Study from CARE and Live & Learn

Click to read full case study by CARE International 

CARE and local Fiji partner Live & Learn share lessons from their work jointly responding to Tropical Cyclone Winston in Fiji.

TC Winston was a damaging Category 5 cyclone that hit Fiji in February 2016. Whole villages were destroyed and 31,200 houses were damaged or destroyed; and 250,000 people were left without access to safe water.

The response partnership reached 5054 households from 231 villages and settlements and distributed 4,037 Hygiene Kits, 2,583 Shelter Kits, 709 Toolkits and 4,108 start-up Seed Packs.

The article reflects upon a number of key lessons including:

  • The importance of leveraging partner strengths and building upon a pre-existing trusting relationships.
  • Keeping the response as local as possible and as international as necessary to manage and make use of surge support.
  • Making it work by pairing advisors and local counterparts – The importance of soft skills and skills transfer are paramount.

The article also discusses a number of challenges faced by the partners ranging from managing the rapid growth of the local organisation and their transition from development to emergency response.


Image: Disasters & Emergencies Prepardness Programme, Seven Dimensions of Localisation

Emerging Indicators and Practical Recommendations

Click to read full report by Disasters & Emergencies Prepardness Programme

The article focuses on the Start Network’s Disasters and Emergencies Preparedness Programme (DEPP) that has invested in building local national capacity for disasters and emergencies preparedness in 11 countries.

The article defines the Seven Dimensions of Localisation and shares research findings on DEPP achievements and lessons.

The research finds that there is a general lack of awareness of, or confusion about key commitments to localisation made at the 2016 World Humanitarian Summit in the form of the 2016 ‘Grand Bargain’. Commitments 2 and 6 of the Grand Bargain relate to localisation and local participation in development decision making.

Local and national agencies are weary of the often-quoted slogan ‘as local as possible, as international as necessary’. This reflects the disappointment of local actors in seeing the slogan rhetoric turn into reality.

The research raises the issue of defining ‘who is local’. Is it the national government, national NGOs, or is it the smaller local agencies?

It was found that there is an absence of indicators to measure progress towards localisation.


Recommendations to respond to these and other findings are made.

1: Develop clear practical guidance for country-level decision makers and staff and set up a monitoring mechanism to ensure that GB and Charter for Change commitments are being implemented.

2: Continuous communication through verbal or written briefing notes and via short video or audio clips are necessary to explain the why, what and how of ‘localisation.’

3: Ensure that there is special attention to recognise and support the capacity at local level, which could include community based organisations, local civil society groups, local authorities, etc.

4: Ensure space for and support already existing local level networks and forums, as it helps them to collaborate and strengthen their own collective capacity to communicate and respond to issues in their own communities.

5: In contexts of chronic or recurrent crisis, in-between times provide the opportunity to map and strategically reinforce the eco-system of collective capacities. That will reduce the need to rely heavily on international surge capacity. Global surge preparedness should include policies, procedures and competencies to support and reinforce local capacities in a crisis situation.

6: The leaders of international organisations and donors should articulate more clearly what is expected of their staff to ensure implementation of the commitments to localisation.

7: Relief actors, individually and collectively, need to take action at the above four levels if they are to succeed in adhering to their commitments. The ‘Seven Dimensions Framework’ will assist action most directly at operational level.

8: More detailed indicators increase the utility of the seven dimensions framework. It provides a more comprehensive perspective on the diverse issues that shape the relationship between international and local/national agencies. Increasing detail under each ‘dimension’ allows for more precise assessments, preparation for a focused and structured conversation/negotiation, prioritisation and planning specific steps to advance localisation.

9: Contextual analysis is essential, and reflecting on the above influencing factors to assist in determining the pathways/speeds and the type of investment that is necessary for localisation to succeed.

10: Further preparedness initiatives and programmes that seek to promote ‘localisation’ should be based on following principles:

  • Strategic interventions rather than projects:
  • capacity-strengthening efforts should seek to rely on existing national/local structures
  • Future programmes should have a much stronger bottom-up design that has broad local/national ownership.
  • Work intentionally and intensively with international agencies already present in a country

Leaving No-one Behind: Inclusion for People with Disability

On June 16 this year, Melbourne Development Circle continued their Game Changer series for 2020 looking at the inclusion of people with disability. Our expert panellists explored the changing landscape, systems and innovations, in Australia and internationally, that have supported inclusion for people with disability. Times of crises, such as recent bushfires and the current global COVID-19 pandemic, have resulted in rapid changes, leaving our systems strained, diverted and tested. They also shared about their experience with different structures (e.g. NDIS) and interventions to facilitate inclusion.

Panellists included:

  • Alexandra Gartrell – ANCP Disability Advisor, World Vision Australia
  • Ian Jones – Executive Director, Agile Development Group 
  • David Moody – Chief Executive Officer, National Disability Services
  • Peter Persson – Vic ABI Support Network Project Manager, Brain Injury Matters

Thank you to our panellists and all participants who joined. We had an engaging session that didn’t leave much time in the end to answer all the questions our participants had. Our panellists have kindly taken time to answer these via email below.

Question: Love to hear ideas from NDS on translating lessons learned in telehealth in Australia to the international development setting – 1) overcoming internet/phone access (remote Aus examples) 2) Applying cross-culturally.

[David Moody] The Victorian State Senior practitioner released guidance on Practice on a page: Telehealth and Functional Behaviour Assessments (direct download).

The Victorian government has worked to provide access to online services for many Victorian across the community services sector – not primarily or particularly disability as this would be now seen as a Commonwealth role. However NDIA sees internet connectivity as an everyday expense and outside the remit of NDIS funding. It is worth noting under Victorian ISP many people used their packages for Internet connections. Further whilst NDIA updated policy to allow tablets to be purchased to gain access to services delivered by Telepractice (Low-Cost Assistive Technology for Support Continuity during coronavirus (COVID-19)). It limits people to purchasing devices that have wifi only access and no to be able to take a data SIM. I think this is a very white middle class approach that assumes everyone has ready access to wifi. It fails to recognise potential difficulties with hotspotting from phones, etc. 

The Victorian Government Seeking Feedback on Remote and Flexible Learning through DET who acknowledge learning at home did not go well for many students with disability. 

Please see also this information from a Helpdesk response on the availability of extra data from telecommunications providers during COVID-19.


Question: Love to learn more about tools for digital upskilling.

[Ian Jones] Increased digitisation – mobile phone saturation for example – is not sufficient on its own; the success of using the internet and ICT for the inclusion of people with disabilities is also heavily impacted by their knowledge and awareness of the broader ICT solutions available to them. For our women entrepreneurs with disabilities, we actively targeted with training that is designed to increase their knowledge, skills and confidence to use digital tools.

This began with starting from understanding the existing tool (type of smartphone etc) they were comfortable using and working upwards from there. So it started with setting up an email account on the phone, how to use Facebook and privacy settings (for more control over profiles etc). This was followed by training on photography and videography that was practiced and shared within a closed private Facebook group so that participants could get comfortable with the tech and formats. From there we progressed to training on Zoom, Skype by using a mix of Facebook Messenger and calls if needed. During this process, groups were set to practice calling each other etc.

The next stage we are currently writing is using free tools such as GSuite that can be utilized for their businesses such as Google docs, sheets etc. for business development, progressing further on Zoom and also introducing Facebook for business. The final level which is pitched for disability social enterprise employees or women who would like to improve their own business management efficiency is using communication and project management tools such as Slack and Asana. However, all of the above depends on a lot of variables such as access to equipment, Khmer/English levels (training is in Khmer, tools are not), and self-confidence. At each stage there are supportive soft skills training.


Question: The conversations about measuring inclusion are also relevant for humanitarian response. Do the panel have any thoughts about how we can support local organisations and national frameworks outside of disaster that can contribute to more inclusive response in times of crisis? Particularly in a rapid onset disaster, how do we move people away from the ‘it’s too hard, we don’t know enough’ etc to real strategies to ensure that persons with disabilities are part of every stage of the process?

[Ian Jones] The first case is to ensure that inclusion is focussed on first. For example, if strategies are developed for an early warning system for floods, then PwDs will be the hardest to move of they have not been included in the process or considered. Identifying how families of PwDs and people with disabilities themselves receive, use and share information is critical and should be a first step, and quite often tackling the inclusion barrier generally overcomes most of the obstacles you would be facing with the rest of the community in a disaster response situation.


Question: Ian, any experience including credit for ppl into budgets??

[Ian Jones] Yes, for each proposal we have to be hyper-aware of the barriers to participation and costs of transport, and costs of phone data are major barriers. For the digital upskilling we provide phone credit to participants, as whilst Cambodia is cheap comparatively for mobile data fees, it is still a significant barrier, and credit is included in all of the proposals we write.


Question: I work at the local community service level, I’d be interested in any resources/examples of building in the local level “research” you can share beyond this webinar?? (I call it research with a little ‘r’)

[Peter Persson] For example at our organisation which is tiny in terms of resources, we have used Survey Monkey to seek the views of our members (people with an ABI) on a range of issues (eg. the needs of people with an ABI, the most significant barriers for people with an ABI). We used both the collective experience of our leaders supplemented by a quick desk top lit review of strategic documents from like organizations as well as some academic research to formulate our questions. In other environments I have used existing information collected for the operations of an organisation, to gather a dataset, that can be interrogated. It can be quite a powerful tool for internal purposes as well as adding to a broader knowledge base. 


Comment: Ian, keen to hear if choosing accessible venues comes up with a document to share:-)

[Ian Jones] Yes, we’ll have one available shortly that can be shared. We have an older one we developed with EWB in Cambodia, but are currently updating it.


Question: One of my participants has no more internet data left and has to wait till the 25th of April for the next lot. Given that Telehealth sessions (psychology) are using up much of her data can we request that the NDIA fund data using core supports – consumables funding. If so what item numbers would we be able to use? Thank you.

[David Moody] Thanks for your question. No the NDIS will not pay for internet/data or phone. 

The NDIS website states the following:

FAQ – 30 March: My providers will be delivering services using videoconferencing. Can I use my NDIS funding to pay for my internet connection? 

Daily living expenses like groceries, rent, bills (including internet charges) are a personal expense. You cannot use your NDIS funding to pay for day-to-day items. The Government has announced a range of support measures for eligible people affected by the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. More information is available at Services Australia. https://www.servicesaustralia.gov.au/&nbsp

https://www.ndis.gov.au/coronavirus/participants-coronavirus-covid-19/using-your budget 

Most internet providers are offering free or reduced rate data packages, participants should connect with their relevant internet/phone provider to explore their options. 

For example: 

Optus 

Boosting mobile data allowances: We wanted to remind customers about the extra data we are providing to our mobile customers in April. We are providing all eligible mobile subscribers 20GB of free extra data which can be activated within My Optus app anytime during the month of April and valid for 30 days from activation. For our eligible Prepaid customers, we will also be offering 10GB of additional data when you recharge $40 or more during the month of April 2020. Click here for more details about these extra data offers.

https://www.optus.com.au/about/media-centre/media-releases/2020/03/optus-update-covid-19-coronavirus-at-24-March-2020

Telstra 

Additional data for our customers: We’re giving post-paid personal and small business customers additional data, and offering unlimited standard home phone calls for pensioners, as part of our response to Coronavirus (COVID-19). We want to help our customers stay connected. 

Mobiles and mobile broadband – Register for 25GB of extra data 

All our personal and small business post-paid mobile and mobile broadband customers can register for an extra 25GB of data at no extra charge – to use in Australia within 30 days if they register by 19 April 2020. You can register via the Telstra 24×7 and My Telstra apps until 19 April 2020 and the data will be available within 48 hours. We’ll send you an SMS when it’s been applied. Please note mobile broadband customers will not receive an SMS. You won’t see the extra data on your bill, but it will appear in your app usage information.

Internet – Enjoy unlimited data at home 

From Thursday 19 March until 30 April 2020, we’re providing unlimited data for our personal and small business customers with home broadband plans (ADSL, nbn and cable). You don’t need to do anything. The data will be provided automatically, at no extra charge. Your data usage won’t be counted during this time, but keep in mind you won’t see the extra data on your bill. Our FairPlay policy applies.

Vodaphone

BONUS DATA 

We’ll be giving Vodafone postpaid customers who are not on an endless data plan an additional 5 GB of maximum speed data to use in the next month. That data will be added to all plans by Friday 27 March. Customers won’t need to do anything to activate this bonus data. To ensure customers always have enough data to meet their needs, we encourage them to consider endless data plans. 

Active prepaid customers will receive a one-off bonus of 3 GB with their next recharge. 

All Vodafone nbn services already include unlimited data.

https://www.vodafone.com.au/media/keeping-customers-connected


Further information from David Moody regarding the impact of tech/telehealth in the lives of people with disability in Australia.

Monaro Early Intervention Services
– Moved quickly to online/telehealth delivery of therapy and programs. Staff coped and adapted well to this but it did require significant IT spend – laptops and phones etc
– Many clients readily switched to online delivery, some went on hold and have yet to return (stayed in regular contact with them). For some families, where children were mostly seen at school, telehealth sessions provided regular contact with parents and more engagement – which is great.

Fairfield City Council, Children and Family Services
– There were a lot of cancellations initially but about 50% of those lost re-engaged via Telehealth. 90% of clients are from a CALD background. NOTE: They have a very linguistically diverse staff which was crucial for remote delivery.

Independent Rehab
– Quite a lot of clinician time was required to work through COVID-19 training and adhering to the Government Directives, along with the training and implementation of Telehealth. Required solid planning time. Estimated approx. 20+ hours per week x 40 employees for at least a ten week period.

 

Stealing from the Poor: Corruption in the NFP Sector

On 6 March, the Ethics Centre kindly co-hosted SDC’s first event for 2017.  

Over two hours, SDC Convenor Jeremy Sandbrook shared his wisdom on the topic of corruption within the international development sector. The presentation included unpacking a real-life case study of a complex fraud scheme that took place in an INGO based in Malawi. This case study not only highlighted the complexity of the topic, but raised a number of associated ethical dilemmas, proving that corruption is not as black or white as we like to think.

The presentation started with an overview of what corruption is. Costing around five percent of the world’s economy (around US$2.6 trillion a year), corruption is now the third largest industry in the world. In development terms, the current estimate is that between 20% and 40% of total Overseas Development Assistance is “stolen” each year through high-level corruption from public budgets in developing countries. For every dollar of aid received by developing countries, $7 (or US$2.6 billion per day) is lost in illicit capital outflows.

Jeremy Sandbrook - Ethics CentreCorruption is now so pervasive that it is increasingly interwoven into a growing number of societies, and is a systematic feature of many economies. It is now acknowledged (by the UN and the World Bank) as the greatest obstacle to reducing poverty and the most pressing global and ethical problem currently facing the development sector. Despite this, it is rarely spoken about by NGOs!

Jeremy then discussed corruption within the NGO sector in Australia, highlighting several eye-opening facts:

  • A governance deficit: 61% of concerns raised with the ACNC relate to governance breaches, fraud, and private benefit.
  • “Out of sight, out of mind”: less than half of NGOs report corruption to the authorities.
  • Corruption is not seen as a key issue for most NGOs: Whilst 90% agree corruption is a problem for the sector, 72% say it is not a problem for their organisation!? Where is the disconnect here?
  • Over half of fraud allegations received by the ACNC relate to the conduct and activities of senior managers, including the CEO, board directors, and financial officers/CFO.

The additional complexities in the international NGO sector were then discussed, particularly the role culture plays. Research undertaken in Malawi found the three top drivers for corruption to be ‘greed’, ‘poor management’ and ‘staff dissatisfaction’. We were then taken through a fascinating real-life case study of an actual fraud in an INGO in Malawi. The key lessons to learn from the case study and corruption generally are:

  1. To recognise that corruption is an issue for every organisation operating in the international development sector; and
  2. To be aware of the role culture plays in initiating and perpetuating it.

The key pieces of advice given by Jeremy for reducing and eliminating corruption was:

  • Know your corruption-risk profile;
  • Know the main forms of corruption within the sector; and
  • Know how corruption is detected.

About the Presenter:  Jeremy Sandbrook (founder of Integritas360), is a global anti-corruption expert who has conducted corruption prevention work throughout the world, and lectures on the topic at the University of Sydney’s Centre for Continuing Education. He was previously head of anti-corruption and integrity for SOS Children’s Villages International, and led the INGO’s efforts to tackle fraud and corruption across its 131 operating countries, 35,000 staff, and $1.7  billion annual budget. Jeremy was also the inaugural co-chair of the INGO Accountability Charter’s Peer Advisory Group on Corruption.

Malawi Cricket

malawi cricketThe Cricket Academy is empowering local communities in Malawi through sport and education.

Within 5 – 10 years you will see Malawi competing on the world stage against other associate cricket nations in both Men’s and Women’s competitions.

Malawi has some of the most talented cricketers and some of the most intelligent young thinkers. They just haven’t been given the chance to thrive.

Established in 2011, The Cricket Academy aims to develop talented cricketers as well as educated young men and women. We do this through our grassroots cricket programs in Malawi. These grassroots programs are focused mainly in schools and low-income areas.

Through these grass roots programs we have identified a number of talented cricketers who have gone on to represent Malawi. Many of these young people have also been awarded scholarships to complete their high school diplomas and continue with tertiary studies. They have also been absorbed into our management structure and are now responsible for many of the programs we run.

This campaign is primarily to raise funds for our education scholarships. We are looking to expand our scholarship program to involve more women and girls.

We also need funds to purchase basic cricket equipment for the clinics we run in schools and proper equipment for our high performance programs.

$10 – buys a basic locally made cricket set for a primary school program

$50 – pays school fees for 1 term for one of our talented women’s or men’s cricketers

$800 – funds our primary school development program for 1 term

$1000 – funds new equipment for our high performance program

The secondary aim is publicity. There is so much potential for what we can achieve. We just haven’t made the right connections yet. We want to reach as many cricket clubs, fellow cricket tragics, possible supporters and community development projects as we can.  So please share this among your networks and like us on Facebook to keep up to date with our latest updates.

We need as many people as possible to know about the social changes we are making in Malawi through cricket and the opportunities we are giving young Malawian men and women to realise both their academic and sporting potential. + Read More

Help spread the word!

Celebrating Gender Equality Every Day

IMG_5352

Event 1 2016 – Melbourne Development Circle: Women in Development

This is a recap of Melbourne Development Circle’s first event for 2016: Women in Development which was held on April 15, 2016.

We had the pleasure of hearing from 3 brilliant panel speakers;

Read on for some take away messages from the evening.

Susanne Newton spoke on a variety of topics from UN Women in Uganda to fighting the good gender fight back on her home turf. There’s much to be learned from Susanne’s time in Uganda, such as challenging the efficiencies of the UN as a tool for development.

  • Uganda has more women politicians than Australia – because of quotas. Are quotas the best way to gender equality?
  • Men and boys have a role to play in championing for gender equality– they must be part of the solution.
  • Realisation – if we as Australians in a Western society don’t have gender equality ourselves, how can we instruct others in it?
  • Key to gender equality – livelihood streams owned & managed by women.
  • “Be the change” … we all can & should contribute to gender equality.

Eleanor Meyer spoke about combatting adversity as a young woman in tech start-up. Following an environmental sustainability passion, Eleanor has looked for market-based solutions to climate change. As a young woman, in start-up, in tech, it’s not been without challenges.

  • Questioning the power of our job titles.
  • Is small business supportive of gender equality? Is it an economic decision?
  • That point of view is outdated & conservative. Disruption & technology is helping to change this.

Kate Halstead shared her stories & personal learnings from women’s education programs in Nepal. A moment that stood out was a drawing that Kate shared with us. The drawing was by Ganga, one of the women from the women’s empowerment classes that Kate was running during her time in Nepal. It was a picture of a women with many arms and each arm was holding a different object. It represented the many hats that women in their society wore and the responsibilities they were expected to carry.

  • Nepal can by synonymous with the caste system – but what about Australia’s caste system? Our upper, middle & lower classes.
  • Don’t fall into the trap of “poor women” – you run the risk of missing the individual triumph of women when discussing “development”
  • These women are not victims and don’t see themselves as victims of their situation. They’re empowered already & just need opportunity.
  • In short – they’re gutsy.

You can champion gender equality through social capital. Support each other. Like & share if you see someone going out of their way to lead or make positive change happen.

Making an Impact Summit

2015 Link FestivalEngineers Without Borders Australia’s upcoming event Making an Impact Summit will held on 14 December 2015 in Melbourne.

The Making an Impact Summit is a showcase of the role that industry, academics and students can play in creating positive social outcomes.  Meet EWB Challenge’s National Finalists, hear about cutting edge EWB university research, and learn more about innovative corporate approaches to social impact. Continue reading

International WaterCentre Masters Scholarships now open

IWC Masters students

IWC Masters students on a field trip to North Stradbroke Island

Full-tuition scholarships ($49,920) to study the Master of Integrated Water Management next year. Closing date: 1 October

The IWC Master of Integrated Water Management is designed to give participants the technical, managerial and leadership skills they need to tackle complex water management challenges in a more effective and integrated way. The degree is jointly delivered by leading industry practitioners and lecturers from IWC’s partner universities. Three specialisation streams are available including ‘International development’; ‘Urban water’ and ‘Water, land and people’. Continue reading

Spain v Australia: comparing international aid budgets

Guest writer: Celeste Ward

Spain’s commitment to increasing it’s foreign aid in the 2000s was incredible. Spain was itself a recipient of international aid until the late 1970s before becoming the worlds sixth largest bilateral aid donor, increasing it’s aid from less than $2 billion to almost $7 billion in only six years.

In crossing this boundary, from aid receiver to giver, Spain entered a period of prosperity. The country secured a status and place in ‘The west,’ strengthened its links with Latin America and established new connections with Sub Saharan Africa. In 2004, 21% of Spain’s gross bilateral aid went to Africa, this rose to 27% in 2008, but Latin America received the majority; with 44% in 2004 and 49% in 2008. Continue reading

Help CARE and receive FREE entry to Boxing Day test

MCG_standsWill you be in Melbourne for Christmas? Have you ever wondered what it would be like to stand on the hallowed turf of the MCG on Boxing Day AND support a great cause? Well here’s your chance!

CARE Australia is heading to the Commonwealth Bank Boxing Day Cricket Test at Melbourne’s MCG and we need a helping hand.

Time: Approximately 1.5 hour shift in the afternoon

Place: Melbourne’s MCG

What you’ll be doing: Handing out information about CARE’s work … and having fun!


In exchange, you’ll receive a free one-day ticket to the cricket (Boxing Day, 26 December).

If you’re interested: please send us a quick email with your contact details (mobile and email) to event.volunteers@care.org.au.

CARE_logo_RGBAbout CARE: CARE Australia is an Australian charity and international humanitarian aid organisation fighting global poverty, with a special focus on empowering women and girls to bring lasting change to their communities.

Launching our new logo!

As we step into 2015, The Development Circle is excited to announce a bold new vision for its future. Building upon the outstanding work of our existing Circles around Australia, The Development Circle is embarking on a concerted effort to establish a greater sense of national unity by creating new opportunities for collaboration between our State groups.

National network and new website Continue reading