Development 2.0, the Gift of Doubt and the Mapping of Difference: Welcome to the Future

Duncan Green - August 28, 2015

Just came across this great post by the ODI’s Arnaldo Pellini, summarizing a recent talk by Michael Woolcock, the World Bank’s Lead Social Development Specialist. Michael is one of the big brains pushing the ‘Doing Development Differently’ agenda. What struck me in particular is the emphasis on the importance of ‘the mapping of variation’, which goes further than previous stuff I’ve read/talked about on just concentrating …

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Is power a zero sum game? Does women’s empowerment lead to increased domestic violence?

Duncan Green - August 27, 2015

I’ve been having an interesting exchange with colleagues at Oxfam America on the nature of power. They argue that empowerment is zero sum, i.e. one person acquiring power means that someone else has to lose it. In a new post, OA’s Gawain Kripke sets out their case. ‘The development community should recognize that women’s economic empowerment is a threat to established power holders. Women’s economic …

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Embracing Complexity – a good new book on systems thinking (and action)

Duncan Green - August 26, 2015

Jean Boulton is a regular both here on the blog and in the corridors of Oxfam. She’s a onetime theoretical physicist turned consultant, and one of her passions is complexity and systems thinking, and their implications for how organizations, including development agencies, go about their work. Now she’s teamed up with fellow lapsed physicist Peter Allen, and Cliff Bowman (a ‘theorist and practitioner of strategy’, …

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5 trends that explain why civil society space is under assault around the world

Duncan Green - August 25, 2015

In the 1980s and 90s civil society, and civil society organizations (CSOs) came to be seen as key players in development; aid donors  and INGOs like Oxfam increasingly sought them out as partners. So the current global crackdown on ‘civil society space’ is particularly worrying – a major pillar of development is under threat. Ross Clarke (left) and Araddhya Mehtta (right) from Oxfam have just …

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Links I Liked

Duncan Green - August 24, 2015

Apologies for the interruption in normal service, but I’ve been away at the wonderful, parched-hinterland-restoring Edinburgh fringe (8 days; 30 shows of every genre from comedy to misery, with some ventriloquism and photography thrown in – highly recommended). Apologies too for the problems with the email alerts – we’re working on fixing that. Anyway, here’s last week’s top tweets. The biggest development story in Europe …

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Why Al Jazeera will not say Mediterranean ‘migrants’

Duncan Green - August 21, 2015

  The whole piece is powerfully written and well worth reading (h/t Craig Valters) “The umbrella term migrant is no longer fit for purpose when it comes to describing the horror unfolding in the Mediterranean. It has evolved from its dictionary definitions into a tool that dehumanises and distances, a blunt pejorative. It is not hundreds of people who drown when a boat goes down …

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Authoritarianism Goes Global: the rise of the despots and their apologists

Duncan Green - August 13, 2015

The World Bank’s Sina Odugbemi is a stylish and impassioned writer. He also set up a deal to repost the occasional FP2P piece on the Bank’s governance blog, so I thought I’d return the compliment on his latest piece. Wish he’d write more often. Norms, especially global norms, are exceedingly fragile things…like morning dew confronting the sun. As more players conform to a norm, it …

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Unilever opens a can of worms on corporate human rights reporting

Duncan Green - August 12, 2015

This guest post comes from Rachel Wilshaw, Oxfam’s Ethical Trade Manager Hundreds of millions of people suffer from discrimination in the world of work. 1.3 billion people live in extreme poverty, surviving on less than $1.25 a day. 34 nations present an ‘extreme’ risk of human rights violations. Nearly 21 million people are victims of forced labour. It’s an unusual opening statement for a corporate …

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Low-fee private schooling: what do we really know? Prachi Srivastava responds to The Economist

Duncan Green - August 11, 2015

Prachi Srivastava is one of the experts on ‘low-fee private schooling’ who was interviewed for last week’s remarkably one sided Economist Paean to the Private (my words not hers). She wants to set the record straight. I have been researching low-fee private schooling for nearly a decade and a half. In fact, the term did not exist until I coined it. The first time I …

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