If top down control is unavoidable, can we still make aid more compatible with systems thinking?

Had a really interesting conversation last week with Oxfam Intermon and its friends in the Catalan aid system (in Spain, aid is regional with provinces and even cities like Barcelona pursuing active aid policies). I gave my usual rap about how complex systems require aid providers to adopt iterative, adaptive approaches to cope with uncertainty […]

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Is Africa facing its second debt crisis? What are the solutions?

Guest post from Jaime Atienza of Oxfam Intermon Here we go again. Though different to their “first debt crisis”, which was incubated in the 80s, hit in the 90s and was resolved (partly) in the 2000s, the situation is again profoundly uphill for a growing number of African countries: in 2019 their debt repayments as […]

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Email like a boss and other Links I Liked

Visa applications: emotional tax and privileged passports (here’s Uganda v UK). Bathsheba Okwenje on an ongoing scandal. Demystifying Belt and Road: The Struggle to Define China’s “Project of the Century”. Anything by Yuen Yuen Ang is reliably gold, and now this paper is Open Access From welfare in one country to global poverty alleviation…and now […]

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Return to Chiquitania: What’s changed in the 13 years since my first, mind-blowing visit?

Back in 2006, two encounters with grassroots change processes shaped a lot of what I have written ever since. The first was with the fishing communities of Tikamgarh – I went back to see them again in 2016 and made this video. The other was the Chiquitano indigenous group in Bolivia, a second inspiring story […]

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How can we improve the way we move from analysing power to designing change strategies?

One of the most productive conversations in my recent trip to Bolivia was a discussion with Oxfam Bolivia staff on the shortcomings of my/our current thinking about how to move from analysing power to designing strategies to bring about change. The current advice is to start with a power analysis, then move to mapping the […]

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On Africa’s feminist frontlines, we need accessible care practices to sustain our movements

Jessica Horn is a feminist activist, writer and technical advisor on women’s rights. She is a co-founder of the African Feminist Forum and currently works as Director of Programmes for the African Women’s Development Fund.  Feminism is having its global moment – that heady feeling when a movement’s revolutionary demands are being heard by the […]

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“Waiting for the morning birds”: researcher trauma in dangerous places

Thamani Mwaka Précieux is a researcher with Land Rush at the Institut Supérieur de Développement Rural of Bukavu. This piece is part of the new “Bukavu Series” blog posts by the GIC Network.  Doing research in the DRC is a dangerous job, due to widespread insecurity in various parts of the country, and complicated by the presence […]

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Links I Liked

The Times proves that Britain is rapidly moving beyond parody ht Hannah Jane Parkinson ‘The core policy paradigm continues to shape the framework of policy-makers’ assessments. Evidence matters, but ideas shape policy in more fundamental ways than we might realise.’ Good study of Ireland’s response to the Financial Transactions Tax To build stronger research institutions […]

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Meet the artist changing gut reactions to the Philippines ‘war on drugs’

Jay Ramirez writes about Carlo Gabuco’s visceral, intimate and poignant depictions of Duterte’s ‘war on drugs’ in the Philippines. Some brilliant insights on the power of art that bring the concept of human rights “down to the gut.” In an art fair in Manila in March last year, one installation caught everybody’s eye. A blue […]

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What have we learned from a close look at 3 DFID Adaptive Management programmes?

Adaptive Management week part 3 (with some trepidation given the recent comments from Heather Marquette et al about the proliferation of flakey case studies in lieu of evidence)…. My paper with Angela Christie summarizing our 3 case studies of big DFID-funded Adaptive Management projects in Myanmar, Tanzania and Nigeria is now online. Every word in […]

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