How does DFID work with non-state power holders (armed groups, faith organizations, traditional chiefs) in messy places? Interview with Wilf Mwamba

One of the highlights of the recent conference on accountability and empowerment in fragile/conflict states (see Friday’s post) was hanging out with a true ‘development entrepreneur’, Wilf Mwamba. Wilf is a rising star in DFID, set up some of the most interesting ‘adaptive management’ programmes in Nigeria, and has been in the DRC for the […]

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Links I Liked

Pedants’ Revolt. ht Jo Edge How to do advocacy on/with the IMF.  Really useful (and short – 8 pages) guide from Eurodad “Church and traditional leaders are your best allies to carry public health messages that require communities to change age-old habits and challenge their traditions.” Congo’s Health Minister reflects on the lessons of his […]

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What did I learn from 2 days of intense discussions on empowerment and accountability in messy places?

I wish I was one of those people who can sit zen-like through a two day conference, smiling and constructive throughout. Instead I fear I come across as slightly unhinged – fidgety; big mood swings as I get excited, irritated or bored in rapid succession. The most recent example of my failings was a two […]

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Why is Latin America Going Backwards?

Simon Ticehurst, Oxfam’s Regional Director for Latin America and the Caribbean, (who is not nearly as scary as this mugshot suggests), delves into the background of some worrying times for Latin America Just a few years ago Latin America was being lauded as a success story, with stable economic growth, political stability and historical progress in […]

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What I’ve learned about how the structures of businesses determine their social mission

Exfamer Erinch Sahan reflects on his first 100 days as boss of the World Fair Trade Organization 100 days ago. I left Oxfam to lead the World Fair Trade Organization. After seven years in Oxfam I had got hooked on one specific question: ‘are business structures that maximise power and returns for investors the only […]

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What can the Thinking and Working Politically community learn from peace and conflict mediation?

Alex Douglas from the Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue adds some useful insights for adaptive management/TWP from his vantage point in peace building Wily aid practitioners have long understood the importance of adapting their programs to the political environment, and even use their activities to push politics in a progressive direction.  But this magic was spun […]

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Links I Liked

I’m topping and tailing today’s post with the African origins of France’s World Cup winning football team. Ht Winnie  Byanyima for this infographic This is an enchanting and uplifting 45 secs. Anyone know which country these kids are in? Special props to the ‘little hype man’. New ”Practical Guide to Measuring Women’s and Girls’ Empowerment […]

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Some whacky ideas for a future Oxfam – draft paper for your comments

Milton Friedman once said “Only a crisis – actual or perceived – produces real change. When that crisis occurs, the actions that are taken depend on the ideas that are lying around. That, I believe, is our basic function: to develop alternatives to existing policies, to keep them alive and available until the politically impossible […]

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Escaping the Fragility Trap? Why is it so hard to think constructively about fragile states?

Just been reading the report of the ‘Commission on Fragility, Growth and Development’. Hosted by LSE and Oxford’s Blavatnik School of Government; big name chairs (David Cameron, Donald Kaberuka and the LSE’s Adnan Khan). And I think it’s a bit disappointing. But the reasons for that are actually quite interesting and instructive. First the positives. […]

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What’s the role of Aid in Fragile States? My piece for OECD

The OECD’s ‘States of Fragility’ report was published yesterday. It’s a 260 page monster, so I haven’t got round even to skimming it yet. Will report back on the interesting bits, but in the meantime here is the piece I contributed, on fragility and aid. If aid is primarily aimed at reducing extreme poverty and […]

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