Feminists in Development Organizations: important new book for anyone (including not-particularly-feminists) trying to influence their institution

At first glance, a book called called ‘Feminists in Development Organizations’ looks like a bit of aid biz navel gazing. But if you are working in a large bureaucracy and want it to do more on just about any big issue (women’s rights, but also environmentalism, disabled rights, tertiary education, urban livelihoods), this book is […]

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Aid must change in order to tackle inequality: the OECD responds to Angus Deaton

Guest post from Jon Lomøy, Director of the OECD Development Co-operation Directorate (DCD) Official development assistance – or aid – is under fire. In The Great Escape, Angus Deaton argues that, “far from being a prescription for eliminating poverty, the aid illusion is actually an obstacle to improving the lives of the poor.” Yet used properly, […]

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How can aid agencies help citizens reduce risks and fight for their rights in the middle of a war zone? Draft paper for your comments

Over the next few weeks, I will be picking your brains on the drafts of a series of case studies I’ve been working on. These draw from Oxfam’s experience of promoting ‘active citizenship’, broadly defined, and examine the theory of change, results, wider lessons etc. The final studies will be published later this year, after […]

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The return of ‘Links I liked’ – do you want a weekly round up?

I gave up doing ‘links I liked’ roundups when I went on twitter, thinking that they had become redundant. But a few people have suggested reinstating them, either because (shockingly) they haven’t yet joined the twitterati, or because they miss things in the twitterstream. So here are some of the best of last week’s tweeted […]

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Reformers v lobbyists: where have we got to on tackling corporate tax dodging?

The rhythm of NGO advocacy and campaigning sometimes makes it particularly hard to work on complicated issues, involving drawn-out negotiations where bad guys have more resources and staying power than we do. Campaigns on trade, climate change, debt relief etc often follow a similar trajectory – a big NGO splash as a new issue breaks, […]

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Top new African Progress Report focusses on farms, fisheries and finance

The Africa Progress Panel (a group of the great and good, chaired by Kofi Annan) launches its 2014 Africa Progress Report today. It’s an excellent, and very nicely written (heartfelt thanks) overview of some key areas: agriculture, fisheries and finance. Some highlights: ‘For more than a decade, Africa’s economies have been doing well, according to […]

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Can complex systems thinking provide useful tools for aid workers? Draft paper on some DFID pilot experiments, for your comments

Ben Ramalingam, who wrote last year’s big book on complexity and aid (Aid on the Edge of Chaos) has been doing some interesting work with DFID and wants comment on his draft paper (with Miguel Laric and John Primrose) summarizing the project. The draft is here BestPracticetoBestFitWorkingPaper_DraftforComments_May2014 (just comment on this post, and the authors will […]

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What’s at stake in the South African and Malawi elections this month?

Max Lawson, Oxfam’s Head of Advocacy and Public Policy, reflects on impending elections in South Africa and Malawi Malawi and South Africa’s election cycle is identical.  Both had their first democratic multi-party elections 20 years ago this month.  Who can forget the incredible photos of black people queuing from before dawn across South Africa to […]

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For tax dodging: ‘pounded by stone mallet, grounded by large stone’. A nice day out in Singapore

As you have probably guessed by now, I’ve been in Singapore this week. What you won’t know is that this is my first time here since 1969 (my dad was in the navy, which exited the island around then, along with the rest of Britain’s colonial baggage – Singapore promptly took off and has never […]

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How can complexity/systems thinking help small island states?

‘It’s a big year for small islands’ announced the speaker before me, who revelled in the title ‘The Honourable Lord Tu’ivakano, Prime Minister, Kingdom of Tonga’ (right). When my turn came, how should I refer to him? (I’m hopeless at this kind of thing, must come from going to a state school.) His Lordship? Your […]

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