Australian Government. AusAID: Office of Development Effectiveness

ODE Talks podcast series

ODE Talks is a podcast series from the Office of Development Effectiveness.

The ODE Talks podcast series features international experts on aid, development and effectiveness. Keep in touch with the latest findings from ODE’s research and evaluations.

Our latest podcast features an interview with gender and development experts Dr Katherine Fritz and Ms Payal Patel of the International Center for Research on Women in Washington DC. They discuss how Australian aid can give women in the Asia and Pacific region greater economic power, and how well our aid program is tackling this key challenge.

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Women’s economic empowerment—Dr Katherine Fritz and Ms Payal Patel

March 2014

Dr Katherine Fritz, Ms Payal Patel and ODE Assistant Secretary Dereck Rooken-Smith. Photo: Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade

A road building project in Solomon Islands might seem an unlikely place to find a success story about women’s economic empowerment.

But gender and development experts Dr Katherine Fritz and Ms Payal Patel have discovered a good example of a well-designed road development project in the Pacific Island country, funded by Australian aid

Dr Fritz and Ms Patel, of the International Center for Research on Women [external link] based in Washington DC, are conducting the first of three ODE rolling gender evaluations of Australian aid’s contribution to women’s economic empowerment.

The Women’s economic empowerment evaluation is progressing well, with the final report expected to be completed in coming months.

In this interview, Dr Fritz and Ms Patel update us on their initial evaluation findings.




Research uptake—John Young

November 2013

Please note that this edited interview package was recorded in September 2013, before the 1 November 2013 integration of AusAID with the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. The interview therefore contains references to AusAID.

John Young, Head of the RAPID Program for the London-based Overseas Development Institute ODI. Photo: Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade

Why should busy aid program managers care about the latest international development policy research?
In this episode of ODE Talks, UK research and development expert John Young updates us on how global aid agencies are applying new research to strengthen their programs and plan more effectively.

John, the Head of the RAPID Program for the London-based Overseas Development Institute ODI, explains how research uptake, impact assessments and evaluation can make a real impact on boosting the effectiveness of aid projects.

He also talks to ODE’s Marsali Mackinnon about an ODE evaluation he is conducting on how effectively Australian aid is applying research findings to planning  and managing development programs.

Australia’s aid program supports several ODI programs, including RAPID.  John’s leadership of the RAPID program aims to promote greater use of research based evidence in development policy and practice. His work also includes impact assessments and evaluation. John’s previous work with the Institute has involved projects on decentralisation and rural services, information and information systems, strengthening southern research capacity and research communication.

Before that he spent years in Indonesia working for the UK Government’s overseas aid agency DFID, and in Kenya as Country Director for NGO Intermediate Technology Development Group, now called Practical Action.



Australia's response to the Horn of Africa famine—Hugo Slim and Lewis Sida

September 2013

The 2011 Horn of Africa famine was one of this century’s largest humanitarian emergencies, affecting more than 13 million people across Somalia, Kenya, Ethiopia and Djibouti. Australia, one of the first countries to respond to the emergency, was a major contributor of famine aid.

Dr Hugo Slim (external website) is a leading international humanitarian studies scholar who focuses on the ethics of war, the protection of civilians and the morality and practice of humanitarian action. A former aid worker and consultant who has worked with organisations including Save the Children UK , the United Nations and the British Red Cross, Hugo is currently Senior Research Fellow at the Oxford Institute for Ethics, Law and Armed Conflict (ELAC) at Oxford University (external website).

Lewis Sida is a senior development and humanitarian practitioner who specialises in policy, practice and organisational change. The lead author of DFID's 2011 Humanitarian Emergency Response Review (external website), he has recently completed an evaluation of the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation's approach to working in fragile states(external website) and the UN's 2012 Inter-Agency Real Time Evaluation for the Horn of Africa response to Ethiopia (external website).

In this episode of ODE Talks, Hugo and Lewis discuss their forthcoming evaluation for ODE of AusAID's response to the Horn of Africa crisis.



Impact evaluation—Howard White

January 2013

A key question in development is “how has aid affected the lives of the poor?” Impact evaluation aims to answer that question, providing evidence about what did and didn’t work, and how to improve aid programs. 3ie (external website) funds impact evaluations around the world, and works with policy makers to provide answers about the impact of large scale development programs.

Howard White (external website), Executive Director of 3ie, has worked with a number of different development research organisations, and written prolifically on issues to do with development cooperation. His experience in the field includes having led the impact evaluation program of the World Bank’s Independent Evaluation Group. In this episode of ODE Talks, Howard White discusses “closing the evidence gap”, randomised control trials, and the value of impact evaluation.



ODE Talks to Pacific leaders

December 2012

Good leadership plays a pivotal role in a nation’s path to development. AusAID is working to strengthen leaders and leadership practice in Pacific island countries through the Pacific Leadership Program (PLP).

In this special series of podcast episodes, ODE spoke to Pacific leaders from government, civil society and the private sector about three topics in aid and development: gender equality, leadership and aid effectiveness.

Interviews were conducted by ODE staff members Joanne Sharpe and Heather Murphy at the PLP Leadership Symposium in 2012. The podcasts feature interviews with Fiame Naomi Mataafa, Minister for Justice and Courts Administration in Samoa; Jimmie Rodgers, Director-General of the Secretariat of the Pacific Community; Sir Rabbie Namaliu, former Prime Minister of Papua New Guinea; Joy Kere, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and External Trade for the Solomon Islands; Dr Alice Pollard, gender and development specialist, Solomon Islands; Emeline Siale ‘llolahia, Civil Society Forum of Tonga (external website), and Shamima Ali, Coordinator of the Fiji Women’s Crisis Centre (external website).



Australia’s response to the HIV/AIDS epidemic in PNG—Ben David

November 2012

Papua New Guinea (PNG) has the largest HIV epidemic in the Pacific, and the Australian aid program has been at the forefront the country’s national response since 1995. ODE’s evaluation Responding to Crisis assessed the effectiveness of the PNG HIV/AIDS program from 2006–20 10, finding that although the approach had many successes, the relevance and effectiveness of AusAID’s interventions has been mixed. In response, the report makes some key recommendations, including that the HIV/AIDS program moves to an integrated health approach, with HIV activities managed as part of the broader sexual and reproductive health activities.

In this podcast, ODE Talks to AusAID’s Principal Health Advisor Ben David about the value of good data, the importance of ‘knowing your epidemic’, and the link between AusAID, partner governments, and sustainable approaches to HIV treatment and prevention. Ben discusses the direct implications of Responding to Crisis for AusAID’s HIV/AIDS program in PNG, and what other HIV/AIDS programs can learn from the findings.

Interview with Ben David (17 mins) [Mp3 16mb]


Australia’s aid program to the Philippines—Corazon Soliman

November 2012

Australia is one of the largest bilateral aid donors to the Philippines, with the overarching goal of AusAID’s 2007–11 Philippines country strategy ‘to contribute to improving the prospects for economic growth, poverty reduction and national stability’. This year, ODE has published an evaluation of AusAID’s 2007-2012 Philippines Country Strategy, and an evaluation of AusAID’s engagement with civil society in developing countries which included case studies from the Philippines. 

The Honourable Corazon (Dinky) Juliano-Soliman, the Philippines Secretary for Social Welfare and Development has been a member of the Philippines Government since 2010, and has had a long career in community and social development. In this episode of ODE Talks Secretary Soliman discusses her perspective on Australia’s aid to the Philippines, discussing the impact evaluation of the conditional cash transfer program and sharing stories from individuals who have personally experienced the benefits of donor support to the country.

Interview with Corazon Soliman (12 mins) [Mp3 11mb]


Gender equality—Dr Jeni Klugman

October 2012

Incorporating gender analysis and actions to promote gender equality is key to effective development cooperation. In 2008 ODE published a seminal work addressing the issue of gender violence in the Pacific, and more recently it has begun a three year rolling thematic program of evaluations looking at gender issues in the Australian aid program. The first of those evaluations will be a study on women’s economic empowerment.

Dr Jeni Klugman is the Sector Director of Gender and Development at the World Bank and its lead spokesperson for gender equality issues. In this episode of ODE Talks, she discusses ways to meaningfully incorporate gender into development programs, the importance of diagnostic work on gender and being realistic about the pace of results.

Interview with Dr Jeni Klugman (9 mins) [Mp3 20.5mb]


Transparency International—Huguette Labelle

September 2012

Corruption is one of the key constraints to effective and sustainable development. Wherever it occurs, evidence shows that corruption hurts the poor disproportionately. Bribery and fraud divert resources away from investments in infrastructure, institutions and social services.

ODE is completing an evaluation of Australia’s law and justice assistance in developing countries. The evaluation has found that Australia has had some success with anti-corruption and transparency activities, but could do more to address corruption in a systemic way. 

Huguette Labelle is the Chair of Transparency International, a well-known global NGO that works to combat corruption in developing countries. AusAID is increasing its support for Transparency International to fight corruption with a new global partnership.

Interview with Huguette Labelle (14 mins) [Mp3 13mb]


The changing development landscape—Homi Kharas

July 2012

The changing landscape of development poses a critical challenge for traditional donors. Significant reductions in poverty in stable, well-governed countries have not been matched in fragile and conflict-affected states. New technologies make it easier than ever to deliver services to the poor. Many countries are off-track to meet the Millennium Development Goals, and already the international donor community is thinking about what comes after the 2015 targets.

Homi Kharas discusses these shifts and the latest development and aid trends in the latest episode of ODE Talks. Homi is a Senior Fellow and Deputy Director of the Global Economy and Development Program at the Brookings Institution in Washington. He was previously a chief economist at the World Bank, in the East Asia and Pacific region. Homi leads thought on policies and trends influencing developing countries, including aid to fragile states, the emergence of a middle class in middle income countries, food security, global governance and issues relating to the G20.

Interview with Homi Kharas (13 mins) [Mp3 11.8mb]


Independent Evaluation Committee—Jim Adams

July 2012

In May 2012, Foreign Minister Bob Carr established an Independent Evaluation Committee (IEC) to strengthen the independence and credibility of the work of the Office of Development Effectiveness. The Committee is chaired by Jim Adams, who had a long and distinguished career at the World Bank, retiring last year as Vice President of East Asia and Pacific Region.

The IEC met for the first time in June. While he was in Canberra, Jim sat down with ODE Talks to discuss the role of evaluation in development.

Interview with Jim Adams, IEC Chair (15 mins) [MP3 13.8mb]


Interview with emerging Asian donors

May 2012

As tight domestic budgets squeeze aid spending in some developed countries, 'south-south' cooperation between emerging and developing economies is on the rise. In this episode, ODE Talks with commentators from China, India, Korea and Cambodia about the new world of development cooperation and what it means for aid effectiveness. 

This podcast features interviews with Wonhyuk Lim from the Korea Development Institute (KDI) (external website), Sachin Chaturvedi from Research and Information Systems for Developing Countries, He Wenping from the Chinese Institute of Western Asian and African Studies, Mao Xiaojing from the Chinese Academy of International Trade and Economic Cooperation and Chou Heng from the Cambodian Rehabilitation and Development Board. It was recorded in March 2012 in New Delhi, India, as part of the Asian Approaches to Development Cooperation (external website) dialogue series, organised by The Asia Foundation (external website) in partnership with KDI. Complete transcripts of full interviews are also available below.

Interview with emerging Asian donors (15 mins) [MP3 13.8mb]


Rural development—John Fargher and Alwyn Chilver

April 2012

ODE recently completed a review of Australia’s rural development assistance. The review focused on lessons learned about effective investment of Australian aid in rural development. John Fargher, lead author of the report, and Alwyn Chilver, AusAID’s Principal Rural Development Advisor, discuss the findings of the review in this episode of ODE Talks.

Interview with John Fargher and Alwyn Chilver (16 mins) [MP3 14.9mb]


Engaging with civil society—Jo Hall and Julia Newton-Howes

March 2012

ODE recently completed an evaluation of civil society engagement in developing countries. Listen to a discussion of the evaluation findings. Julia Newton-Howes is CEO of CARE Australia and a Vice President of ACFID. Jo Hall co-authored the evaluation report with Dr Jude Howell when Jo worked at ODE.

Interview with Jo Hall and Julia Newton-Howes (15 mins) [MP3 14.4mb]


Policy dialogue—Peter Bazeley

January 2012

Increasingly, agencies like AusAID are working closely with partner governments to improve the way they make policy to govern their own development. Peter Bazeley visited Indonesia and the Solomon Islands as part of ODE’s evaluation into what makes for good policy dialogue. He outlines key elements for success: policy can develop in unpredictable ways, solid relationships between donors and partner officials are key, and the importance of being responsive to changing circumstances.

Interview with Peter Bazeley (12 mins) [MP3 10.9mb]


Gender in East Asia and the Pacific—Andrew Mason and Gillian Brown

December 2011

The world has made impressive progress on increasing gender equality in the last two decades, although too many women and girls are still dying in childhood and in their reproductive years. In East Asia and the Pacific, the gender gap in primary education has closed but women lag behind in political representation and too many face violence and discrimination, at home and at work.

In this edition, ODE Talks to Andrew Mason, Lead Economist and Regional Gender Coordinator for the World Bank in the East Asia and Pacific Region, and Gillian Brown, AusAID’s gender advisor, about important messages for policy makers in the 2012 World Development Report on Gender Equality (external website).

Interview with Andrew Mason and Gillian Brown (19 mins) [MP3 17.7mb]


The future of aid—Homi Kharas

November 2011

In 2005 the Paris Declaration set out five principles to fundamentally improve the way countries give and receive aid. This year the Fourth High Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness (HLF-4) will be held in Busan, and it will review global progress in implementing the principles, and make new commitments.

Homi Kharas is Deputy Director for the Global Economy and Development Program at the Brookings Institution. Homi will chair the final plenary session at HLF-4 and he spoke to ODE over the phone from Washington about the big and new issues on the Busan agenda.

Interview with Homi Kharas (11 mins) [MP3 10.9mb]


Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative—Clare Short

November 2011

Clare Short talks to ODE's Dereck Rooken-Smith about the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative. Photo: Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade

The Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) argues that greater transparency in oil, gas and mining payments can lead to better accountability, and ultimately enables citizens to reap the benefits of their national resources wealth. 

Australia has made a significant commitment to the EITI, contributing to the EITI secretariat and supporting its implementation in our partner countries. At the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in October 2011, the Australian Government announced that it would pilot membership of the EITI in Australia.

Clare Short is the chair of the EITI board and former UK Secretary of State for International Development. Clare spoke to us about her work with the EITI, where it has been embraced and how Australia’s involvement in the initiative could positively shape its engagement with partner countries.

Interview with Clare Short (12 mins) [MP3 11mb]


Evaluating the Paris Declaration—Bernard Wood

July 2011

The Paris Declaration, signed in 2005, set out five fundamental principles sought to profoundly and fundamentally change aid practice for the better. Six years on, Bernard Wood, lead author of the OCED–DAC led Paris Declaration evaluation, talks to us about how that international commitment has translated into real results on the ground.

Interview with Bernard Wood (13 mins) [MP3 10mb]


Law and justice—Marcus Cox and Eric Scheye

June 2011

Development means change, and when societies change they put pressure on local systems for law and justice. Traditionally, donors have focused on strengthening major institutions like the police and the courts.  But do those benefits flow on to citizens? ODE Talks to expert law and justice evaluators about user-centred, problem focused aid programs that help citizens access justice.

Marcus Cox is a specialist in political analysis and development effectiveness, focussing in post conflict environments and law and development. Eric Scheye is a justice and security specialist who has worked extensively in Latin America, Eastern Europe and the Middle East.

Marcus and Eric are both members of a team undertaking an ODE evaluation of Australia’s support for law and justice in partner countries. More information about the ODE evaluation

Interview with Marcus Cox and Eric Scheye (19 mins) [MP3 16.3mb]


International Crisis Group—Louise Arbour and Jim Della-Giacoma

June 2011

Louise Arbour and Jim Della-Giacoma from the International Crisis Group (ICG) tell ODE Talks what donors need to know about their latest analysis from Libya, Burma and East Timor. The former UN High Commissioner, Louise Arbour also talks about the Responsibility to Protect doctrine, building institutions in post-conflict environments and the role of women in peacebuilding. 

Louise Arbour is the CEO of ICG. Jim Della-Giacoma is ICG's South East Asia project director. ICG has field officers throughout the Middle East, Asia and Africa.

Read ICG's analysis [external website]

Interview with Louise Arbour and Jim Della-Giacoma (14 mins) [MP3 13.1mb]


2011 World Development Report—Nigel Roberts

June 2011

“…if you look at the experience of low-income, fragile states over the last 25 years, the lack of progress in health and education is pretty stunning… No single low income fragile state has achieved or will achieve any of the Millennium Development Goals. And believe me, this is not for lack of trying, it is not for lack of investment in health and education, it is for a lack of success in transforming institutions.”

In this two-part interview, ODE Talks with Nigel Roberts, co-director of the World Bank’s 2011 World Development Report. 

Part 1: Demonstrating results in fragile situations through community-based development, working with women, building institutions and creating employment. 

Interview with Nigel Roberts—Part 1 (15 mins) [MP3 19.7mb]

Part 2:  Lessons in leadership and legitimacy from recent events in the Middle East, opinion polling in fragile states, and how donors can support institutional transformation.

Interview with Nigel Roberts—Part 2 (15 mins) [MP3 19.7mb]


Emerging donors—Gordon Hein

May 2011

Once aid recipients themselves, some countries with emerging economies are becoming significant donors in their own right. The Asia Foundation's Gordon Hein tells us about the priorities for this new group of donors emerging through a ground-breaking discussion series with China, India, Korea, Malaysia and Thailand.

Interview with Gordon Hein (15 mins) [MP3 10.8mb]


Scaling up—Johannes Linn

March 2011

In the past decade, global aid flows have increased from 80 billion US dollars to 130 billion, but the average size of aid activities is shrinking.  Internationally, more than half of all donor projects amount to less than US$100,000 dollars. Johannes Linn, Non-resident Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution, explains how donors can grow small activities and bring them to scale, in order to reach more people and reduce burden on partner governments. Johannes visited Australia as part of ODE’s partnership with Brookings [external website].

Interview with Johannes Linn (17 mins) [MP3 11.7mb]


Cash transfers—Todd Moss

February 2011

“Cash transfers could become the new standard for a lot of donor programs. And what do I mean by that? If you can’t show that your well designed program is better than just handing out cash, then it’s going to be hard to justify doing those programs, rather than handing out cash.”

In the second edition of ODE Talks, Todd Moss from the Centre for Global Development talks about the rise of cash transfers in the development world, and his ideas for combating the resource curse.

Interview with Todd Moss (20 mins) [MP3 14.7mb]


Resource curse—Paul Collier

November 2010

The first edition of ODE Talks features an interview with Paul Collier, recorded when he visited AusAID in November 2010. Professor Collier talks about Australia’s comparative advantage as a donor in Africa, sets out his ideas about how to work in fragile states, and provides advice to the aid effectiveness review panel currently reviewing the Australian aid program.

You can also listen to the special 'bonus track', in which Professor Collier describes the series of decisions that must be successfully navigated so that resources contribute to prosperity, not plunder. Essential listening for anyone interested in managing natural resources for development in fragile states.
Interview with Professor Paul Collier (16 mins) [MP3 11mb]

Bonus track—Paul Collier and the natural resource management decision chain (11 mins) [MP3 7.3mb]