Topic: Emergent Agency

Women, Voice and Power, Oxfam’s new paper on ‘transformative feminist leadership’ + a minor beef on adjectives

Women, Voice and Power, Oxfam’s new paper on ‘transformative feminist leadership’ exemplifies why I love working for NGOs, but also why it can get a bit irksome, especially if you’re a wordsmith. Let’s start with the good stuff. The 7 page Exec Sum (the full report weighs in at 45 pages) is stuffed full with […]

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Book Review: From Anger to Action Inside the Global Movements for Social Justice, Peace, and a Sustainable Planet, by Harriet Lamb and Ben Jackson

I’ve come to recognize a certain format for ‘inspirational books for activists’: big sweeping statement about What Needs to Happen, then what I call ‘thousand points of light’ – breathless accounts of some activist-led efforts to achieve those goals. On to the call to arms, invoking political will. Job Done. I must be getting (even […]

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How can Outsiders support Civil Society in coup-torn Myanmar?

Guest post by a friend working on Myanmar, who for obvious reasons would prefer to remain anonymous In a fast-moving violent crisis like the one in Myanmar, a lot of the most interesting analysis goes unpublished for obvious reasons – the safety of individuals or organizations. I’ve been working with a (suitably anonymous) national and […]

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Some Good ideas on Promoting locally-led development in the UK aid system

The British NGO network BOND recently published a report on ‘catalysing locally-led development in the UK aid system’, which summarizes a six month project involving dozens of people from different aid organizations. I have to confess that I started reading with low expectations – there are a lot of pious exhortations on localization, which all […]

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How Filipinos have responded to Covid – some great new research on ‘Emergent Agency’

As part of writing a paper with the overall findings from our ‘Emergent Agency in a Time of Covid’ project, I’ve been catching up with some fascinating recent work from the Philippines, where Oxfam and the Philippine Sociological Society are publishing a fascinating series of case studies of civic responses to Covid. They include the […]

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Micro, bottom-up research can shed new light on power and politics in fragile places, but it’s REALLY difficult!

Another intense couple of days hearing back from the 30 or so researchers in the Action for Empowerment and Accountability research consortium, as it approaches the end of its programme. I was returning after a couple of years’ absence (I did some work on adaptive management in an earlier phase) and it was great to […]

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Development Nutshell: round-up (16m) of FP2P posts, w/b 24th May

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Defending civic space during and after the pandemic

Guest post by Thomas Carothers, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace Multiple studies of the effects of the pandemic on civil society, including a major IDS report released last week, paint a discouraging picture. Civil society has come under assault from many directions at once, including executive overreach, securitisation of public life, the constriction of online […]

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2021 State of Civil Society Report – a great new summary

Civicus publishes its annual ‘State of Civil Society Report’ today. It’s great, with a v cool website and the report is beautifully written too (thanks for that – I have to read a lot of plodding devspeak, so it makes a real difference!). I recommend the overview if you’re looking for a succinct, accessible summary […]

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What do we know about Covid-related innovation in poor countries and should aid agencies get involved?

Bens Ramalingam and Kumpf have a thought-provoking new paper out on Covid-linked innovation in poor countries, and the lessons for aid donors. Here are some highlights, and a minor rant it inspired in me. The paper documents a range of fascinating innovations. Here’s a flavour: ‘Problem: A health official in a large city in India […]

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