Now that the dust (and snow) has settled on an intense past week at work, a few reflections on some of the meetings and events that got in between the deadlines.
1. A fascinating meeting with some folks on opinion polls and aid. Key questions raised in meeting (a) what is the minimum percent of UK public support for aid that is needed to keep driving us towards 0.7%? (b) should we expect the percent "supporting increases in aid" to decline as we get closer to 0.7%? and (c) how sensitive is the behaviour of the UK Government and the UK NGOs to changes in these numbers? These are important questions that I hope IDS and others will help answer in 2011.
2. A stimulating meeting with colleagues from a relatively new hedge fund-originated philanthropic organisation with a mission to transform children's lives. We had a very enlightening (for me at least) discussion about strategies and tactics to blend the best urges of social movements and those of the private sector. Mike Edwards' book Small Change had a lot to say on these general issues and I look forward to reading other perspectives on this topic in 2011.
3. Last week we had a reception for Hilary Standing, one of the senior Fellows at IDS, who is retiring at the end of this year. Hilary is incredibly well known in the field of women's health and reproductive and sexual rights. She is the Director of the now winding down Realising Rights Research Programme Consortium supported by DFID. Hilary has been a major source of wise counsel for me over the past 6 years at IDS and fortunately for us will continue to work with IDS in various ways in 2011. If you have never read her stuff, I highly recommend it.