how change happens

What did I learn in Myanmar about what Adaptive Programming actually looks like?

Duncan Green - December 15, 2017

I’m still processing a fascinating week in Myanmar. No I wasn’t in Rakhine, in case you’re wondering (separate post on that may follow). Instead, along with aid programming guru Angela Christie, I was exploring what ‘adaptive management’ looks like on the ground, and how it compares to all the fine-sounding stuff repeated endlessly in aid seminars around the world. The lab rat for this was …

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How are INGOs Doing Development Differently? 5 of them have just taken a look.

Duncan Green - December 13, 2017

Hats off to World Vision for pulling together some analysis on where large international NGOs (INGOs) have got to on ‘Doing Development Differently’ (see the 2014 manifesto if you’re not up to speed on DDD). Up to now, NGOs have been rather quiet in a discussion dominated by government aid agencies, academics and thinktanks. World Vision asked Dave Algoso to look at examples from 5 …

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How Oxfam and Save changed US aid on local ownership: nice case study in influencing

Duncan Green - November 30, 2017

I do love it when NGOs are taken by surprise in a good way – getting results in unexpected ways, rather than grinding through the plan. A neat example came up at Oxfam’s recent Evidence for Influencing conference. Here’s what happened. Oxfam America and Save the Children wanted to persuade USAID to do more on ‘local ownership’ of aid. It’s a bipartisan issue in the …

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Winning Ugly and Learning from the Bad Guys: Discussing How Change Happens with the Greens

Duncan Green - November 28, 2017

Had an HCH session with some extremely smart wonks at the Green Alliance last week. I gave my standard talk, focussing on a ‘Power and Systems Approach’. This argues that for activism to be more in line with messy, emergent realities, activists need to change their way of working to give greater weight to: Curiosity – Study history and context; ‘learn to dance with the …

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A wonderful book by Jean Dreze, India’s Orwell

Duncan Green - November 27, 2017

Notes from my talk at last week’s launch of Jean Drèze’s new book, Sense and Solidarity. Has anyone written Jean Drèze’s biography? If not, why not? A fascinating figure, surrounded by myths and legends (did he really sleep rough in Lincoln’s Inn Fields, the square next to LSE, when he was a lecturer there?). He’s a wonderful writer who reminds me of George Orwell, with …

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Kevin Watkins on the power of stigma and shame as a driver of change

Duncan Green - November 23, 2017

Kevin Watkins, a fellow Prof in Practice at the LSE, came along to talk to my students last week (review by Masters student Haisley Wert here). Kevin is a bit of a research and campaigning legend in the aid biz – the brains behind a lot of epic Oxfam campaigns on trade and debt in the early noughties, he went on to write some of …

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What are the politics of our survival as a species? Introducing the Climate Change Trilemma

Duncan Green - November 22, 2017

So a physicist, an anthropologist, and two political economists have lunch in the LSE canteen and start arguing about climate change….. I was (very notionally) the physicist; my other lunchtime companions were Robert Wade, Teddy Brett and Jason Hickel (the anthropologist). Jason was arguing for degrowth and reminded me of the excellent debate on this blog a couple of years ago between Kate Raworth and …

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Do you have to be cold to be cool? Canada joins the Nordics as a world leader on rights.

Duncan Green - November 21, 2017

I was in Canada last week, having a lot of fun on a speaking tour with Oxfam Canada, followed by a couple of days with Oxfam Quebec in Montreal. One of the striking impressions is how much Canada’s foreign policy rhetoric echoes that of the Nordics in its focus on rights (an even more striking impression was that minus 20 degrees centigrade is really not …

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