Has the Arab Spring Failed? Not yet, reckons the Economist – Highlights from its excellent Special Report

By blog-reader standards, the Economist’s Special Reports can be pretty long (15 pages in this case), but they are sharply written and stuffed full with great stats. As long as they steer clear of economic policy, they are also not as ideology-laden as some of the magazine’s other content. So if you can spare half an […]

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Some Monday Morning Inspiration: Malala Yousafzai at the UN

Moving and astonishingly confident speech at the UN last week by Malala Yousafzai on the UN-declared ‘Malala Day‘ (12 July – her birthday). Think we’ll be hearing a lot more from her – a future president? Here’s the film my sister-in-law Mary Matheson made for Plan International to celebrate Malala’s birthday (which got shown at the […]

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10 Killer Facts on Democracy and Elections

Ok this is a bit weird, but I want to turn an infographic into a blogpost. The ODI, which just seems to get better and better, has just put out a 10 killer facts on elections and democracy infographic by Alina Rocha Menocal, and it’s great. Here’s a summary: Most countries today are formal democracies. An […]

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What to read (and watch) on Egypt

I’m turning into a big fan of crowdsourcing. This set of top analyses, infographics and videos was suggested by a mix of Oxfam Egyptologists and a call for suggestions on twitter. Given how polarized the coup v revolution debate is right now, I won’t attach names to particular pieces, but thanks to all the Oxfamistas, […]

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Could crowdsourcing fund activists as well as goats and hairdressers?

I’ve often wondered if Oxfam or other large INGOs could include the option of sponsoring an activist, either as something to accompany the goats, toilets, chickens etc that people now routinely buy each other for Christmas, or instead of sponsoring a child. I had vague ideas about people signing up to sponsor an activist in […]

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What is ‘leverage’ (NGO-speak version) and why does it matter?

Last week I attended the twice yearly gathering of Oxfam GB’s big cheeses – the regional directors, Oxford bosses and a smattering of more exotic cheeses from other Oxfam affiliates (Australia and US this time). We started off with a tour of the regions –  what’s on their minds? 3 common themes emerged: political upheaval […]

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Can impact diaries help us analyse our impact when working in complex environments?

One of the problems about working in a complex system is that not only do you never know what is going to happen, but you aren’t sure what developments, information, feedback etc will turn out (with hindsight) to be important. In these results-obsessed times, what does that mean for monitoring and evaluation? One answer is […]

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The Monty Python guide to aid and development. Part Two – Economics

So another Friday comes round, we all need a break, so following the triumph of last week’s Monty Python guide to the politics of development, let’s move on to economics…… Redistribution is trickier than we thought [via Andrea Franco] Wellbeing v growth (the Yorkshire version) Banks and corporate social responsibility and keep the suggestions coming […]

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Women’s Leadership Groups in Pakistan – some good news and inspiration

I normally try and keep Oxfam trumpet-blowing to a minimum on this blog, but am happy to make an exception for this piece from Jacky Repila (right) on a new report on our Raising Her Voice programme in Pakistan, a country that ranks 134th out of 135 countries on the Global Gender Gap Index (only […]

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Oil spills, prisons and the madness of GDP

“Average national income is a notoriously imperfect measure of the average person’s well-being. The 2010 BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico – with clean-up and damage costs of $90 billion – added about $300 to the average American’s “income.” But it added nothing to our well-being. The world’s most expensive prison system, costing […]

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