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Podcast: Reimagining technical assistance over coffee: episode 5 - Localising aid

In the penultimate episode of this six-part podcast series, Alexandra discusses localising aid with Uganda-based Deputy Team Leader, Aggie Nakirya.

This podcast series comprises a set of informal conversations with experienced practitioners and development partners on the practicalities of delivering effective technical assistance, the day-to-day challenges of doing things differently, and suggestions drawn from their own experiences. It's about reimagining technical assistance over coffee, if you like.

In this episode, we discuss some of the nuances of localising aid, the opportunities raised by the current crisis, and the remaining agenda with Aggie Nakirya (bio below)

In this episode we explore:

  • Why it’s essential to look at existing power structures when reimagining technical assistance. I’m referring to the primary relationships between donor- implementer- government – and other local actors and at the internal power structures with the programme delivering technical assistance. Changes in localising aid will have to address the existing power balance directly. What are the practical challenges of further localising aid and what do we need to do to get better at this?
  • What are the challenges in the education sector in Uganda and how has the government managed to address them?  How did governments balance the response to the learning crisis and offer some formal instruction for children in a socially-distanced manner, with the long-term need to build resilient and adaptive public sector governance systems to respond to any situation?
  • What are the opportunities for reform whilst addressing the Covid-19 crisis and how was ‘useful now’ balanced with ‘relevant later’?
  • What is the future of technical assistance and how optimistic should we be about the lessons we’ve learned in the past two years? Will 'business as usual' mean 'business as before'?
  • What are the gender dynamics around designing, delivering, and evaluating technical assistance?

Enjoy the conversation! If you have any comments or suggestions, please feel free to get in touch with Alexandra Nastase on LinkedIn or via email.

About Aggie:
Aggie Nakirya is a former Felix Scholar and holds a Master of Public Policy (MPP) from the University of Oxford. She is currently the Deputy Team Leader for a Technical Assistance programme being delivered in Uganda. She has over 10 years’ experience in governance, public policy advocacy, project design, delivery and management, access to justice, stakeholder engagement and coordination, grassroots capacity building and strategic planning. She is a Co-Founder of Tusome Africa, a young charity with the aim of improving learning outcomes for girls and boys in Uganda’s rural primary schools.

About Alexandra:
Alexandra Nastase is an experienced development professional who has designed, implemented and evaluated multiple public sector change programmes over the past decade. Alexandra’s work is centred on advancing structural reforms, strengthening state capability and government performance to deliver public services in Europe, Asia and Africa. She held multiple leadership and senior advisory roles for large-scale technical assistance programmes funded by the World Bank, the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, the European Commission, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and UN agencies. Before joining OPM, she also worked for the World Bank, UN, and other non-governmental organisations.

Check out our series on the topic: