June 2013

The Monty Python guide to aid and development. Part One – politics

admin - June 28, 2013

Yesterday I idly tweeted a request for the Monty Python sketches most relevant to development. Great response, uncovering some forgotten gems – turns out Python fans are everywhere, (and they’re not even all men, well not 100% anyway). Too many for one post, so today we’ll do politics. Here are my favourites (with credits where due): Good governance and accountability (aka anarcho sindicalist v monarchist discourses) …

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What do Protests in Turkey, Brazil etc have in common? Six surprising facts

admin - June 27, 2013

Nice reflection from Moises Naim in El Pais. It was published in Spanish, so this is brought to you c/o Google Translate – took about 15 minutes to tidy up the rough edges. V impressed. “First it was Tunisia, then Chile and Turkey. And now Brazil. What do the street protests in such different countries have in common? Several things … and all amazing. One. …

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Can states empower poor people? Your thoughts please

admin - June 26, 2013

I’m currently writing a paper on how governments can promote the empowerment of poor people. Nice and specific then. It’s ambitious/brave/bonkers depending on your point of view, and I would love some help from readers. First things first. This is about governments and state action. So not aid agencies, multilaterals or (blessed relief) NGOs, except as bit players. And not state-as-problem: here I’m looking at …

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G-8? G-20? G-2? G-0? Who’s in charge in a world in motion? And what does it mean for INGOs?

admin - June 25, 2013

I’ve got my head down doing some reading n writing, but luckily I am besieged by offers of guest posts, a lot of them v good. Here’s one from Oxfam International’s Advocacy and Campaigns Associate Martin Hall “Ain’t never gonna be what it was” – Little Big Roy, The Wire What with the G8 summit just past, the G20 summit approaching and the G-Zero debate …

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Brands, bankers and big ideas…… talking food to $5 trillion of investment

admin - June 24, 2013

Oxfam’s tame ex-banker Will Martindale has been discussing food security with some masters of the (financial) universe Imagine a million people, each with a million dollars. Then times it by five. Five trillion dollars. That was the total investment represented by bankers and investors that joined Oxfam last week for a meeting to discuss global food security. The context was Behind the Brands. Nestle, Unilever, …

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How should a post-2015 agreement measure poverty? Vote for your preferred methodology

admin - June 21, 2013

The blog’s been insufficiently techie of late, so step forward ODI’s Emma Samman with a piece + poll on measurement. Maybe the start of a ‘Friday geek ‘ series? Some one in five people today still cannot provide for their most basic needs, progress on Millennium Development Goal (MDG) 1 (to halve extreme poverty and hunger) notwithstanding. The High-Level Panel report affirms that ‘eradicating extreme …

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Campaigning and Complexity: how do we campaign on a problem when we don’t know the solution?

admin - June 19, 2013

Had a thought-provoking discussion on ‘influencing’ with Exfamer (ex Oxfam Australia turned consultant) James Ensor a few days ago. The starting point was an apparent tension between the reading I’ve been doing on complex systems, and Oxfam’s traditional model of campaigning. In my first days at Oxfam, I was told that the recipe for a successful campaign was ‘problem, villain, solution’ (heroes are apparently optional). …

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A great film on girls’ rights wins an international prize (and my sister in law made it)

admin - June 18, 2013

Time for a spot of well-deserved nepotism. My sister in law, Mary Matheson, makes films for Plan International and yesterday won a prize at the Annecy International Animation Festival 2013. Chosen from more than 2000 entries, her animation “I’ll Take It From Here”, shot in Malawi last summer for Plan’s ‘Because I am a Girl’ campaign, won the UNICEF Award for best film promoting children’s …

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Politically smart aid? Of course! Political aid? Not so sure. Guest post by Tom Carothers and Diane de Gramont

admin - June 17, 2013

Thomas Carothers and Diane de Gramont summarize the arguments of their new book on aid and politics How political is development assistance? How political should it be? These questions provoke divergent reactions within the aid community. For some, being political means using aid to advance geopolitical interests aside from development. Others emphasize the far-reaching political consequences aid can have on recipient countries, from bolstering dubious …

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