August 2013

Creating a splash with Data Diving

admin - August 30, 2013

Over a July weekend in London four charities and more than 80 data professionals took part in a “DataDive”, organized by DataKind UK. Ricardo, Richard and Simone from Oxfam’s Research Team (see pic of handsome hunks below) went along. Here’s what happened. If you came to London for a weekend during the best summer since 1976, how would you like to spend your time? Inside, …

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A week at the Edinburgh festival: good theatre, bad music and great books

admin - August 29, 2013

Last week Cathy and I spent our annual week at the Edinburgh festival. It provides a high intensity restoration of the mental flora (colonic irrigation of the soul?) before the autumn grind begins. We tend to avoid the ubiquitous stand-up comedy, even though the heckling sounds pretty amazing, and go for a more NGO-compatible diet of miserabilist theatre, random music and heavy reading. Best theatre …

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On a speaking tour in Australia and New Zealand for next 3 weeks – here are the details

admin - August 28, 2013

I’m off to Australia and New Zealand this weekend, to teach a 3 day session on ‘how change happens’ with the wonderful Chris Roche at Perth’s Murdoch University (I’m assured it’s nothing to do with Rupert). That will be followed by a powerpoint-tastic speaking tour through Melbourne, Canberra, Wellington and Auckland. Current list of public events and contacts below (c/o the wonderful Helen Moreno), and …

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Now that’s what I call social protection: the Chile Solidario Programme

admin - August 27, 2013

Another one of the fascinating case studies dug up by Sophie King for my recent UN paper on ‘The Role of the State in Empowering Poor and Excluded Groups and Individuals’. This one looks at how Chile manages its integrated social protection programme and is based on a paper by the excellent Stephanie Barrientos. Reading it really brings home the rapid erosion of any real …

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How to think in Systems? Great (and accessible, and short) book.

admin - August 23, 2013

Thanks to whoever suggested I read ‘Thinking in Systems’, by Donella Meadows. It’s great – one of those short, easy reads that may induce a gestalt shift in the way you see the world. The topic is ‘systems theory’ – that phrase that wise-looking wonks bandy about in meetings, to intimidating effect. If you can’t beat them, then I suggestion you join them by reading …

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How empowerment happens: devolving management to local people in Vietnam and Pakistan

admin - August 22, 2013

Another one of the fascinating case studies dug up by Sophie King for my recent UN paper on ‘The Role of the State in Empowering Poor and Excluded Groups and Individuals’. This one looks at two examples of devolution that seem to work Devolving forest management to local people, Dak Lak, Vietnam This is from an FAO case study and an OECD paper By the …

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The future of Agriculture: useful teaching resource/briefing on current debates

admin - August 20, 2013

If you’re looking for a teaching resource on current debates on agriculture and development, take a look at ‘The Future of Agriculture’, a rather goodsynthesis of a two week online debate hosted by Oxfam last December. The paper, written by Maya Manzi and Gine Zwart, has a 10 page summary of the 23 posts and comments from some 300 participants, followed by 60 pages of …

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Why NGOs label technology as nasty or nice

admin - August 19, 2013

This post appeared last week on the Science and Development website SciDev There’s real substance behind activists’ polarised views of new technology, says Oxfam adviser Duncan Green. NGOs and activists often seem to hold contradictory views about science and technology, dividing the world up into ‘nice’ and ‘nasty’ technologies. Anything to do with mobile phones, crowdsourcing, ‘small is beautiful’ technology, renewables or labour-saving wonders such as …

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