How can Universities get more activists to take-up their research?

Another day, another coffee conversation about how to ensure that academic research has impact beyond the ivory tower/dreaming spires. This time it was with Duncan McLaren, who has just started as a fellow Professor in Practice (is this A Thing now?) at the Lancaster Environment Centre and has been asked to look into how its […]

Read More »

How can Activists get better at harnessing Narratives for social change?

Working in a global organization like Oxfam means spending a lot of time on conference calls, with colleagues scattered across the globe. They can be frustrating – dodgy connections, people fading in and out, speaking too fast, or forgetting to put their phones on mute (especially if they are nipping in to the restroom – […]

Read More »

Working With/Against the Grain, the case for Toolkits, and the future of Thinking and Working Politically

Second instalment of my download from an intense day spent last week with the Thinking and Working Politically Community of Practice (first instalment here).   Working With or Against the Grain? In a way, this is a reworking of the reformist v radical divide. Should TWP focus on understanding local institutions and find ways to […]

Read More »

Thinking and Working Politically – why the unexpected success?

Spent a fizzy day with the Thinking and Working Politically crew last week, taking stock on its (surprising?) success over the last 5 years (first sighting, November 2013 and this meeting in Delhi), and pondering next steps. Too much to say for a single post, so this will be spread over the next two days. […]

Read More »

Putting Positive Deviance into Practice: A brilliant UN Women initiative on domestic violence

Yesterday was the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, and the start of the annual 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence Campaign, so it seems like a good moment to post this.  As part of my scoping exercise on Positive Deviance, I’ve been having some great skype conversations. Monique Sternin put […]

Read More »

Audio round-up of From Poverty to Power posts, week beginning 19th November

Read More »

Book Review: Radical Help, by Hilary Cottam

Every now and then a conversation, paper or book reminds me that activists in the UK are out there in their  thousands, often working and thinking along parallel lines to their counterparts in Oxfam and around the world. I just finished Radical Help, a wonderful book by Hilary Cottam, for which the tl;dr summary could […]

Read More »

What might a 100% experimental Oxfam Country Programme look like?

Oxfam GB’s new boss, Danny Sriskandarajah, starts in the New Year, but is already talking to people inside and outside the organization about what a ‘Nextfam’ could look like. Here’s some thoughts from a chat with him and David Bonbright earlier this week. The problem: Experiments and innovation at the project level seldom spread beyond […]

Read More »

How can we rate aid donors? Two very different methods yield interesting (and contrasting) results

Two recent assessments of aid donors used radically different approaches – a top down technical assessment of aid quality, and a bottom up survey of aid recipients. The differences between their findings are interesting. The Center for Global Development has just released a new donor index of Quality of Official Development Assistance (QuODA), with a […]

Read More »

Can new tech revive the world’s trade unions?

The Economist never ceases to surprise and inform. This week’s issue carries an excellent special report on ‘trade unions and technology’. Here’s an edited extract:   ‘Support for organised labour is rising again (see chart). And technology may again play a central role in helping a revival—particularly in America, where activists are trying inventive new ways to organise […]

Read More »