human rights

How Change Happens: a conversation with 25 top campaigners from around the world

Duncan Green - May 18, 2016

Spent an exhilarating morning last week with Oxfam’s ‘Campaigns and Advocacy Leadership Programme’. Must have been at least 20 nationalities in the room, with huge experience and wisdom. The topic was How Change Happens (what else). To give you a flavour, here are some of the topics that came up, with my takes on them: Is power a zero sum game, i.e. empowering one group …

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Tikamgarh revisited, what’s happened to the amazing fishing communities I visited in 2006?

Duncan Green - April 27, 2016

Just got back from a great week in India, including my first attempt at a phone vlog (above). One of the drawbacks of being a generalist is that you go somewhere, hear riveting stories of organization, resistance (and sometimes of course, of failure), but then never find out what happened next. But last week I managed to return to one of the places and stories that …

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Of MPs, chiefs and churches: Vanuatu’s parallel governance systems

Duncan Green - December 11, 2015

This second installment of posts on my recent trip to Vanuatu covers the country’s dual (or even triple) systems of governance. Vanuatu’s parallel systems came into sharp relief when we left the capital, Port Vila, and headed for the village of Epau, passing the tree wreckage of Cyclone Pam en route. Conversations in the capital had all been about government, parliament and aid; in Epau, they all …

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Four Years On, The World Has Changed on Disability

Duncan Green - December 3, 2015

Tim Wainwright, CEO of ADD International (& also chair of BOND), finds much to celebrate today Four years ago I wrote a blog, expressing my concern about how I felt that mainstream development was largely overlooking a large and highly excluded group: persons with disabilities. [Quick note on terminology: we use the term ‘persons with disabilities’ to reflect the UNCRPD terminology, but we recognise that disability …

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Reading the tea leaves: What the women’s movement can learn from a victory in India

Duncan Green - November 19, 2015

This piece by Devaki Jain, an Indian feminist economist, originally appeared on the scroll.in website The good news for the women’s movement in India came from Munnar, a hill station in Kerala, last month where a group of women workers won a signal battle against their employers, a tea estate by the name of Kanan Devan Hills Plantations. One of the slogans at the protest read: “We pick …

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What can violence/conflict people learn from the governance debate (and vice versa)? Report back on a day discussing new IDS research

Duncan Green - November 18, 2015

I recently spent a day among conflict wonks (a thoroughly charming and unscary group) to discuss IDS’ research programme on Addressing and Mitigating Violence. There are piles of case studies and thematic papers on the website (here’s a collection of abstracts); this seminar was part of bringing them all together into some kind of overarching narrative. The starting point for the programme was the World …

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Great new IMF paper puts women’s rights at the heart of tackling income inequality

Duncan Green - November 10, 2015

The IMF continues to surprise an old lag like me who cut his policy teeth condemning it as the incarnation of extreme market idolatry and anti-poor structural adjustment programmes in the 80s and 90s. Read its new ‘staff discussion note’, Catalyst for Change: Empowering Women and Tackling Income Inequality to see why. The authors point out that ‘Income inequality and gender-related inequality can interact through …

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Links I Liked

Duncan Green - November 9, 2015

Powerful, harrowing photo essay of Syrian refugee children asleep. Suffragettes v suffragists. Nice movie, shame about the (lack of) theory of change – it was really the suffragists wot won it Oxfam America takes on Big Chicken in the US, using leader/laggard tactics to push for a better deal for 250,000 workers and getting some very quick wins Remember all that guff about the state …

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Marginalised youth say ‘Enough!’ Guest post by Alcinda Honwana

Duncan Green - November 3, 2015

Alcinda Honwana is Visiting Professor of International Development at the Open University. She will be giving a talk “‘Enough!’ Will Youth Protests Drive Political Change in Africa?” as part of the London School of Economics Africa public lecture series on Wednesday 18 November 2015 at 6.30 pm. Young people have caught the attention of politicians as their backing of Jeremy Corbyn in Britain, Bernie Sanders …

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Do we need to think in new ways about gender and inequality?

Duncan Green - October 20, 2015

Following on from last week’s post by Naila Kabeer, Jessica Woodroffe, Director of the Gender and Development Network, argues for a change in the way we think about gender and inequality The recent launch of Oxfam’s Gender and Development Journal issue on Inequalities got me thinking about the much heralded ‘leave no one behind’ agenda in the new Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). This concept essentially commits …

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