Topic: human rights

One of my favourite stories of change: how an indigenous group won the rights to 1m hectares of land – and a new interview with an NGO person who supported them at the time

If you repeat the same story often enough, at some point you start to wonder if you’ve really just made it up, or at least embellished it beyond recognition. One such story, which I often tell at the start of a How Change Happens presentation, is about the Chiquitano Indians of Bolivia and their successful […]

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Legal earthquakes and the struggle against Mining in Mexico

Second post from a great visit to Mexico last week to launch the Spanish language edition of How Change Happens. Few things get development folk fired up as much as mining. For many NGOs and grassroots organizations, not much has changed since the Conquistadores: mining is plunder. Given their long history in terms of pollution, […]

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How Bring Back Our Girls went from hashtag to social movement, while rejecting funding from donors

Ayo Ojebode, of the University of Ibadan, Nigeria, introduces his new research on a fascinating social movement, part of the Action for Empowerment and Accountability research programme In a world where movements appear and fizzle out just as they are getting started, Nigeria’s Bring Back Our Girls (BBOG) movement is an exception. Meant to be […]

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Self Reliance, Hip Hop, Resistance and Weapons of the Weak: do we need to rethink Empowerment?

A 3 day conference at the Institute of Development Studies (IDS) inevitably makes you dig deep and question your assumptions, and last week’s gathering of the Action for Empowerment and Accountability research programme was no exception. This time, presentations from Myanmar and Mozambique set me off. In Myanmar the researchers had expected to find communities […]

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Are Big Companies Walking Their Talk on the SDGs? New report digs into the evidence

Following my recent semi-conversion to SDG agnosticism, Namit Agrawal, Uwe Gneiting and Ruth Mhlanga introduce a new Oxfam report on business and the SDGs Business has become a fixture in discussions around the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).  This week in New York we will see the familiar picture of executives of the world’s largest corporations […]

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Here’s what we know about closing civic space – what other research would you suggest?

I head off to the Institute of Development Studies today to take stock on our joint ‘Action for Empowerment and Accountability’ research programme. One of the main discussions will be on a research agenda on ‘closing civic space’, so this blog sets out what we know of the research to date, and asks you for […]

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5 ways to fix South Asia’s Water Crisis, by Vanita Suneja

Vanita Suneja of WaterAid reports on what is being done to prevent South Asia running out of underground water Major capital cities in South Asia – Dhaka, Delhi, Islamabad, Kabul and Kathmandu – are showing groundwater stress with the water table receding at an alarming rate.  In Islamabad, the water table fell to 30 feet […]

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Health, Human Rights and Plastic Bags: 3 top campaign proposals from my LSE students

I’ve been selecting some of the student assignments from the initial year of my new LSE course on ‘Advocacy, Campaigning and Grassroots activism’ to show as examples to next year’s cohort, and thought you might like a taste too. Each student had to produce a 2,000 word project proposal for something they would like to […]

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Public Pressure + League Tables: Oxfam’s campaign on food brands is moving on to supermarkets.

Tim Gore explains the evolving theory of change behind Oxfam’s new supermarkets campaign ‘First the brands, now the retailers.‘ That was the reaction of a senior staffer at Mars – one of the 10 biggest global food manufacturers targeted in our award-winning Behind the Brands campaign – to the Behind the Barcodes launch last month. […]

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Democracy’s Retreat: a ‘how to’ guide

A beautifully written, if depressing, 3 page essay in this week’s Economist explores the mechanics of the democratic reversal in dozens of countries. Shades of Nic Cheeseman and Brian Klaas’ great book, How to Rig an Election. Some excerpts: ‘A democracy typically declines like this. First, a crisis occurs and voters back a charismatic leader […]

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