UPDATE: The AidSpeak Dictionary

19 Sep

By William Easterly

This is a sampling of actual posts on Twitter that I requested (@bill_easterly) last weekend for “decodings of aid/development jargon” .  Inspiration was from 40 Publishing Buzzwords, Clichés and Euphemisms Decoded. I don’t necessarily endorse any implied viewpoint, if any.

“beneficiaries” : the people who make it possible for us to be paid by other people @monanicoara

“bottom-up” : don’t ask someone what might work, just make something up instead @thejoeturner

“baseline” : a point which is so low that positive results are the only possible outcome @ANLevine

“accountability for results”: we keep all our promises by  issuing new promises @bill_easterly

“bottoms-up development”: downing single-malt whiskey in one shot at Davos @Arvind11d123

“civil society involvement”: consulting the middle class employee of aUS or European NGO @dangay

 “community capacity building” : teach them what they already know @fauvevivre

“demand-driven approach”: you create the demand and then you respond to it

“empowerment” : what is left when all the quantifiable variables give non significant results @MarianaSarastiM

“entrepreneurial” : vaguely innovative and cool, but definitely nothing to do with the hated “market” @jselanikio

“experienced aid practitioner” : has large number of air miles in account @thejoeturner

“expert” : I read a book about the place on the plane @savo_heleta

“field experience” :  I can’t bear DC anymore @MarianaSarastiM

“gender” : counting how many women attend your meeting @liamswiss

“Global North” : White academics; “Global South” : Indian academics  @Isla_Misty

“innovation” : we’re sexy, you want to be associated with us @DarajaTz

“leverage” : we’re not paying for all of this @katelmax

“low overhead” : volunteers run headquarters @thejoeturner

“low-hanging fruit”:  we were already going to achieve this anyway @Global_ErinH

“mainstreaming” : forgetting @swampcottage

“microfinance” : not as good as sub-prime lending @lippytak

“meetings” : our grant said we had to host an event @Global_ErinH

“per diem”: what we have to pay local officials to attend our meetings @Afrophile

“participatory stakeholders” : people who should solve their own problems @UCGHR

“participation” : the right to agree with preconceived projects or programs @edwardrcarr

“partnering with other institutions” : we’re raising barriers to entry @JustinWolfers

“political will” :  I have no comprehension of the incentives faced by the people who I wish would do stuff I want @m_clem

“practical solutions” : photogenic solutions @thejoeturner

“pro-poor” : the rich know best @james_tooley

“RCT” : research method yielding same results as qualitative work at 10 times the cost –@texasinafrica

“rent-seaking behavior” : everything not nailed to the floor will be stolen- @charcoalproject

“outreach” : intrude @langtry_girl

“ownership” : we held a workshop @dangay

“raise awareness” :  no measurable outcome @jonathan_welle

“scale-up” :  It’s time for follow on grant @HunterHustus

“sensitize” : tell people what to do @zw1tscher

“sustainable” : will last at least as long as the funding @thejoeturner

“tackling root causes of poverty” : repackaging what we’ve already done in a slightly more sexy font @thejoeturner

“UN Goals”: making up targets for problems we don’t understand paid for with money we don’t have @jacobhorner

Notes: I have done some very minor editing for spelling and clarity.