The document and summary makes a good read and a good point, viewing fig1 and fig2 alone is good thought provoking stuff.
I personally am not surprised by the findings, they simply show we need more people to adopt an EA approach towards and within such programs and organisations.
Less is more for sure. Less is even more when enough of it is done and learnt from!
Im with Tom!
This sort of assessment, while different, is not a million miles from the experience of most private let alone public sector spending/investments. The 3rd and 4th sector are no different so we should not see it as something to bash AID or ODA for, just encourage its focus and effectiveness while recognising more is needed. Which more and how is not always clear. There are few silver bullets in any sector.
The comparison I make is with "above and below the line" analysis in business. In principle keeping the Pareto Principle in mind. whether its manufacturing or commercial activity its well knows that a significant minority of activity/resource delivers the majority of value and/or a significant minority of issues delivers the majority of waste. The 80:20 works on the positive and the negative perspective, both expose the inefficiency or ineffectiveness of operations. Its also true that its often unpredictable or undetectable/unknowable (for the below the line especially ie adv see later) but things have changed in the last 30yrs particular if thinking about QC, QA and things like Kanban etc ie better planning and nr real time allocation.
However like in advertising, most companies know that 70-80% of their spend is wasted but the 20% that's works covers the cost, not acceptable but a working reality due to a changing world, daily. The same applies with R&D budgets and M&A budgets. Too often this is used as an excuse by ineffectual exec's and so benchmarking intra and inter organisationally and across sectors is key.
Perhaps EA as it advances with the analysis and due diligence should also flag up the benchmarking that works. (in ODA P2P pressures across African nations has allowed in some instances the MDG's to be powerful pressure tool, not just a source of AID, thus forging action by leaders instead of them hiding behind complacency). Personally id avoid any preference/biased towards size, both big and small are important but usually small make the paradigm shift breakthroughs, that's why R&D budgets in large orgs end up morphing into M&A budgets as they get big, old and out of touch, unable to attract the best and the brightest of new young people, so they have to buy them, their idea's and solutions through acquisition. Of course that doesn't happen in the charity and NGO world. Sadly they just are left to an often long slow death or withering away while the performers hopefully get more access to their breakfast!