Development Partnerships


The success of building self-reliant states is directly tied to the effective management of complex development partnerships. ISE’s work on development and foreign aid focuses on how those partnerships can be maximized, taking into account lessons from past cases. ISE’s work draws on the experiences of practitioners in the field as well as policy experts to redefine development partnerships that build capacity, leverage existing assets, foster context-specific policies, and support country-led strategies. Additionally, our Development Practice Note series presents new and innovative practitioner-focused ideas across a variety of fields in development.

Re-examining the Terms of Aid


Over the past twenty years, the international community has agreed again and again that traditional aid effectiveness practices – which often drain local capacity, fragment projects, and spurn national strategies – are not working, but have made little progress at improvements. ISE’s Re-examining the Terms of Aid (RTOA) project is reviewing components to develop an operating model to more effectively implement these commitments. ISE is taking stock of its own experience and research, conducting interviews in Rwanda, Colombia, Afghanistan, and Somalia, along with engaging host governments, donor agencies, civil society, and the security sector to examine best practices, analyze incentive structures, and bridge the gap between country-level implementation and international frameworks. Read the full report here.

Team-Based Performance Management Systems: Lessons from Afghanistan

Many global policy agreements on increased aid effectiveness have advocated for development partners to use and build the capacity of the aid recipient country’s institutions to achieve greater sustainability. However, experience from fragile and conflict-affected…

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Asset Maps

Rooted in its experience and expertise in state institutions, ISE has developed asset maps as a reframed perspective in which a country’s assets and opportunities are recognized as tools of progress, not static demonstrations of…

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Community-driven Development in Afghanistan: Inclusivity and the Citizens' Charter

Khyber Farahi, former senior adviser to the president on migration and social development, speaks with ISE on his experience working on community-driven development (CDD) in Afghanistan and the critical role of fostering community-ownership in the…

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Participatory Development: The Case for Substantive Facilitation

Afghanistan’s Citizens’ Charter program is national in scope, which means that the core model of facilitation must be able to adapt to a tremendously broad range of socioeconomic environments. This is particularly important as the…

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Performance and Policy-Based Budgeting: How to Spot the Fakes

In the allocation of scarce public resources, good budgeting is an art and a skill. It is a core function of government, and as such, it is fundamentally a political process with many competing objectives.…

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