The time has come for INTRAC’s look back at the blogs we published over the last 12 months. In 2023, we have covered some key topics of interest to civil society. These include AI, decolonisation, and equitable partnerships. We organised a number of our blogs this year around two major communications themes: modelling progressive funding and decolonising consultancy.

Commencing below is a short round-up of our top blogs of 2023, accompanied by suggestions for further reading.

No. 1: “Decolonising consultancy: framing the discussion” by Kate Newman and Paul Knipe

Decolonising consultancy was our second theme of 2023. The series opens a blog written by Kate Newman (our Chief Executive) and Paul Knipe (our Director of Consultancy, Impact, and Influence). This initial piece explores INTRAC’s conception of what it means to decolonise consultancy. It reflects our perspective as a values-driven organisation that has practiced civil society consultancy since 1991.

Further reading: all of the material published to date on this theme is available on the decolonising consultancy project page.

No. 2: “Decolonising monitoring and evaluation: from control to learning” by Zdena Middernacht, Andres Narros Lluch, and Wouter de Iongh

In September, we were fortunate to have three co-authors from Organisational Development Support contribute a collaborative blog. For their take on our decolonising consultancy theme, the ODS staff focused on monitoring and evaluation (M&E). It explores how more equitable M&E practices can go a long way in decolonising consultancy more widely.

Further reading: this blog connects with one of our themes for 2022, on shifting the power through MEL.

No. 3: “Not all consultancy is equal” by Kate Newman

Kate Newman continued our decolonising consultancy theme with this piece. A response to a Guardian article published in October, it highlights the differening approaches that exist within the consultancy sphere. It also reflects INTRAC’s apiration to “developing consultancy that actively disrupts current global power dynamics”.

Further reading: all of the material published to date on this theme is available on the decolonising consultancy project page.

No. 4: “The AI in aid: artificial intelligence and international development” by Alastair Spray

The emergence of a variety of new AI tools has been one of the dominant topics of 2023, including within civil society. In this blog, Alastair Spray (Consultant – Projects and Research) provided an introduction to some of the relevant issues. In particular, this piece addresses both the potential and the risks associated with AI tools in a civil society context.

Further reading: Alastair’s previous blog covered a related topic: “First principles: why research ethics are critical”.

No. 5: “Reality check: working with emerging civil society organisations in Ethiopia” by Lucy Morris

INTRAC has a long history of working in Ethiopia. In this last of our top blogs of 2023, Lucy Morris (Principal Consultant Organisational Development) relates some of her experiences during a trip there. Lucy’s visit to Ethiopia was in connection with the Civil Society Innovation Fund (CSIF), a project on which INTRAC is working in partnership with Ethiopian organisation AGAR.

Further reading: In 2022, Lucy wrote a previous blog also dealing with an earlier collaboration between INTRAC and AGAR: “Shifting the power while strengthening the resilience of CSOs in Ethiopia”.

2024 will see many more blogs published on our site, both written by our staff and by members of our global network. In the meantime, here are five other blogs from 2023 which you might have missed:

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