September 2010

How can Ethiopia’s coffee farmers get more from your $3 latte?

admin - September 30, 2010

According to legend Kaldi (left), a 9th Century Ethiopian goatherd, discovered coffee when he saw his flock start leaping around after nibbling the bright red berries of a certain bush. He gave them a try, and the ensuing buzz prompted him to bring the berries to an Islamic holy man in a nearby monastery. The holy man disapproved of their use and threw them into the …

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Top tips on interviewing people in groups

admin - September 29, 2010

They may not qualify as ‘proper focus groups’, as when it comes to that horrible word ‘methodology’, I am largely self-taught, but for decades, I have been sitting down under trees, in people’s houses or in NGO offices and talking to groups of men and women about their lives. It’s one of the most fulfilling aspects of working in development. The conversations feed into my …

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Should we buy roses from Ethiopia?

admin - September 28, 2010

OK, back to Ethiopia week. On leaving Addis, we head off to the Rift Valley on one of Ethiopia’s many excellent roads (shame about the driving…) to an enormous flower farm owned by a company called Sher, which rents them out to three large Dutch flower companies, including Herburg Roses Ethiopia plc, who we are meeting. And I mean enormous – rows of identical green …

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Evo Morales and Somerset beauty queens; trashing Bill Easterly; cutting aid starts wars; developmentfest in NY; we hate fun; 100 years of US inequality: links I liked

admin - September 27, 2010

Time out from Ethiopia week (which continues tomorrow) for some links I liked “Jessica Anne Jordan Burton’s background gave no indications that she would end up in politics. Born in the Somerset town of Bath in England, the 26-year-old moved to Bolivia as a young girl with her mother after her parents divorced. She was crowned Miss Bolivia in 2006 (see pic). Four years later …

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How butter leads to women’s emancipation: a self help group in Ethiopia

admin - September 24, 2010

In societies where women are traditionally confined to the home and denied any voice, how can NGOs help bring them together? Ethiopia week on the blog continues with a visit to a women’s group supported by an Oxfam partner, Rift Valley Children and Women Development. On the way, Hussen Delecha, an ex-Save the Children staffer who decided to switch to a local NGO in the …

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Ethiopia is Beautiful

admin - September 23, 2010

And I’ve just got back from a fantastic five day field trip there, so I’m going to subject you to a week of posts on it. I go on two kinds of trips for Oxfam – laptop and notebook. Laptop trips are usually to conferences, with powerpoint, wifi, memory sticks, email and all the paraphernalia of the modern wonk, which sometimes leaves you feeling that …

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How has campaigning changed since slavery was abolished?

admin - September 22, 2010

Recently I discussed ‘public action and influencing change’ with a small group of NGO types at an aid conference in Edinburgh. We started off by reviewing the factors behind the victory of the abolitionists back in the early 19th Century, and what had changed (or stayed the same) since then. Same: many of the tactics (petitions, boycotts, killer facts and images – see pic, testimonies, …

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The Guardian goes global; development success stories; China v US on sustainable energy; Americans love the UN; stats made easy; emergency universities; what really happened in Copenhagen: Links I liked

admin - September 20, 2010

Welcome to this blog’s 500th post….. Check out the Guardian’s new Global Development website and its accompanying  ‘GD Blogosphere‘ portal  The ODI has launched a new website on ‘development success‘, with some great case studies. China overtakes the US on sustainable energy finance – who’s walking the walk on climate change? How about this for a US opinion poll? · 54% think the UN needs to be …

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