NGOs

Learning by un-doing: the magic of immersion

Duncan Green - July 28, 2015

Varja Lipovsek of Twaweza, one of my favourite accountability NGOs, reflects on a recent staff immersion in a Ugandan village. It’s a bit too long, but just too nicely written to cut – sorry! Take a group of people that are used to talking about development while sitting in offices behind computers, going to meetings at ministries, writing reports and worrying about indicators, and give each some …

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What can NGOs/others learn from DFID’s shift to ‘adaptive development’?

Duncan Green - July 23, 2015
adaptation

Got back from holiday last week and went straight into a discussion with NGOs and thinktanks on ‘adaptive development’. Really interesting for several reasons: I realized there’s a bunch of civil society people (100 people at the seminar, plus 50 online) thinking along parallel lines to donors and academics in the Thinking and Working Politically and Doing Development Differently initiatives, but currently very little cross over. …

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Why is there no ‘Fundraisers Without Borders’? Big missing piece in development.

Duncan Green - July 22, 2015

There are an extraordinary number of ‘without borders’ organizations (see here, or an even longer list here) – every possible activity is catered for, from chemists to clowns (and that’s just the c’s). But one seems to be missing, and it may well be the most useful – why is there no ‘fundraisers without borders’? Mike Edwards argues that ‘we should focus as much attention …

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Ricardo Fuentes wants you to apply for his job as Oxfam’s Head of Research – here’s why

Duncan Green - July 21, 2015

Ricardo Fuentes-Nieva  (@rivefuentes) is leaving and his  job as Head of Research at Oxfam GB is being advertised (deadline July 30). I’m inviting you to apply for a job whose highlights include: You get to exchange blogs with Martin Ravallion. You get to have the first citation in Joseph Stiglitz’s new book. You get to have Barack Obama misquote your work (min 4:25). You get to be …

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What should we expect from next year’s World Humanitarian Summit?

Duncan Green - July 8, 2015

Thought all the big development-related summits were scheduled for 2015? Think again. Ed Cairns, Oxfam’s senior policy adviser on humanitarian advocacy, introduces its new report/shot across the bows of the World Humanitarian Summit, 2016. Humanitarians tend to be practical people, and so when they learn lessons it’s usually from what has failed or succeeded in real crises. Take MSF’s challenge to the world’s ‘inefficient and slow …

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What can big foundations do to support Southern Influencing?

Duncan Green - July 7, 2015

Took part in a really interesting conversation last week between some Oxfam southern campaigners and the big-but-as-yet-little-known Children’s Investment Fund Foundation (CIFF), which is exploring the whole idea of southern advocacy. Their main focus is on ‘children and mothers’ health and nutrition, children’s education, deworming and welfare, and smart ways to slow down and stop climate change’. Last year their grants came to $122m – I think we’ll be hearing a lot …

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The US Declaration of Independence, as edited by Oxfam

Duncan Green - July 3, 2015
us_declration

July 4, 1776. In an extraordinary historical scoop, it has come to our attention that the original declaration of US Independence was initially sent through Oxfam sign off procedures. Here is the final draft, before Oxfam America handed it over to the 13 states for a final edit. ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident evidence-based, although contested, that all men, women and other more confusing …

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Current aid design and evaluation favour autocracies. How do we change that?

Duncan Green - June 30, 2015

I loved the new paper from Rachel Kleinfeld, a Senior Associate at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, and asked her to write a post on it What strategy can make a government take up smart development programs, better policing techniques, or tested education initiatives?  RCT and regression-based studies have taught us a great deal about “what works”, but we still know very little about how …

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What if the best way to be innovative is not to try?

Duncan Green - June 24, 2015

This guest post comes from Oxfam’s James Whitehead ‘Is it innovative?’ ‘How can we be more innovative?’ When asked, my problem, which is slightly awkward as Oxfam’s Global Innovation Advisor, is that I’m not sure how useful the word ‘innovation’ really is. I’ve just written a research paper on the factors that enable or block innovation in Oxfam and one of the things that comes out …

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The SDGs are just getting interesting – what needs to happen next to make them have impact?

Duncan Green - June 23, 2015

I spent a day in Madrid last week talking to Spanish aid wonks (it was cold and wet, in case you’re feeling jealous). One of the main topics of conversation was the post 2015 process, and it convinced me that I need to move on a bit from my previous rejection of the whole process as a waste of breath. We are where we are …

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