April 2014

New blog post: Obsessed with assessment tools
"As NGOs, we are besotted by tools," argues principal consultant Rick James in a provocative new blog post, the third in his capacity building series. "We treat them like magic bullets, as if suddenly the right tool could solve centuries-old dilemmas of human development." Does this apply to your organisation?

Places available on INTRAC's May courses
There are places available on our May courses: Gender Analysis and Planning, 19-21 May; and, Advanced Monitoring and Evaluation, 19-23 May.

March 2014

New blog post: Cultivating capacity - Returning to first principles
In the second of his series of blog posts on capacity building, principal consultant Rick James looks at the shaky foundations on which much of our capacity building is based. He argues we already know what works but these 'first principles' have fallen out of favour with donors because they involve risk and longer time horizons.

New briefing paper: Time for NGOs to rediscover their purpose
Brian Pratt, INTRAC's recently retired executive director, looks back over 40 years of development work, from the heyday of the 1970s, when NGOs were largely self-funded and independent, to today, when many are predicting the end of aid as we know it. He examines four areas: the comparative advantages of NGOs, innovation, capacity building, and the functions of civil society.

New blog post: Calling our bluff on capacity building
International NGOs have been talking about capacity building for years. Senior INTRAC consultant Rick James, however, argues that much of the capacity building that Northern NGOs have provided for Southern organisations has focused on making local NGOs better aid delivery vehicles, not helping them become autonomous civil society organisations

February 2014

New blog post: Why Ukraine needs a strong civil society
With President Viktor Yanukovych having fled the country, what will come next? None of the current leaders of various factions seems to have the answers that will lead to broad satisfaction. INTRAC executive director Michael Hammer argues that to shape and sustain the sort of future they want, Ukrainians need to nurture a strong civil society.

New M&E Paper! “More of an art than a science”: Challenges and solutions in monitoring and evaluating advocacy

New Workshop Report: Do NGOs Need a Languages Policy?

New blog post: Mindfulness for the development sector
What is mindfulness and what does it have to do with international development? INTRAC training manager Paula Haddock, who is pursuing a master's degree on mindfulness through the University of Bangor, answers those questions and more in the first of a series of posts on mindfulness and development.

January 2014

New monitoring and evaluation paper: Making sense of progress in the defence and security sector
The latest in our Praxis Notes series, by staff at Transparency International UK's Defence and Security Programme, details the process the organisation uses to maximise learning from its programme to reduce corruption in national and private defence and security forces around the world.

Latest ONTRAC! Funding civil society in emerging economies
This issue of ONTRAC looks at funding for civil society in emerging economies. It presents perspectives on the new funding environment, and the challenges and opportunities it poses for civil society. Following an overview from Brian Pratt, our contributors offer different takes and experiences on the topic.

December 2013

What do NGOs need to think about in their own practice post-2015?
At the end of October 2013 INTRAC’s new Director Michael Hammer gave a keynote speech at the annual council meeting of the Australian Council for International Development (ACFID) in Canberra, which has now been made available online.

November 2013

New blog: The M&E of advocacy...not another list of challenges
INTRAC consultant Sarah Rose shares an example of some practical solutions to the M&E of advocacy for organisations in their local contexts.

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