Politics

What role for local actors in system change? Fighting climate change in the UK

Duncan Green - November 29, 2016

Ruth Mayne, Oxfam’s senior researcher on the effectiveness of influencing, reflects on some personal influencing she was involved with before (re)joining Oxfam. In the development world we often emphasise the importance of strengthening community action but is it really possible for local, rather than national and international, actors to contribute to system change? And if so, why and how does this happen, and under what …

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Where has the Doing Development Differently movement got to, two years on?

Duncan Green - November 22, 2016

The DDD crew reassembled in London last week, two years on from the Harvard meeting that really got the ball rolling. Unfortunately I could only attend the first session and the next day’s post mortem, so other participants, please feel free to add your own impressions/put me right. DDD is evolving fast into something approaching a big tent movement. At its core are principles of iteration, …

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Some highlights from the first 30 book launches for How Change Happens

Duncan Green - November 17, 2016

I’m about six weeks into launching How Change Happens, and am having a great (if knackering) time. Highlights so far include a Kurdish/Dutch guitar combo warming up the crowd in Nijmegen, conversations with an Islamic finance entrepreneur trying to do financial inclusion in South Wales, a great group of women managing a community-run service station on the M5 motorway and a network of ‘social leaders’ …

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Fragility v Conflict – can you help with a new 2×2 please?

Duncan Green - November 16, 2016

Struggling towards the finishing line on my paper on empowerment and accountability (E&A) in fragile and conflict- affected settings (FCAS) – thanks to everyone who commented on the first draft, by the way). It’s nearly there but I need your help with one particular section. I want to argue that lumping ‘fragile’ and ‘conflict’ together in one category is very unhelpful. In reality, many violent …

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Only (re)Connect. The US elections, How Change Happens and where do we go from here?

Duncan Green - November 11, 2016

This is just me indulging in a little personal therapy as I come to terms with this week’s political earthquake. If you want the official Oxfam response, we’re working on it, but you’ll have to wait (should be out before the 2020 elections). So this is just me. Is that clear? Good. Trexit? Brump? 2016 is proving to be one hell of an annus horribilis …

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Campaigning for Change: Lessons of History. Top new book, free to download

Duncan Green - November 10, 2016

I’ve blogged a couple of times on a fascinating project run by Friends of the Earth and the History and Policy network to bring historians of past campaigns and modern day campaigners together to discuss the lessons of history. The resulting 174 page book is now out and I highly recommend it. The discussion was part of FoE’s Big Ideas Change the World project (why …

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How can the international community help put women at the heart of bringing peace to South Sudan?

Duncan Green - November 9, 2016

Oxfam’s Shaheen Chughtai reports back from a recent conversation at the UN Once in a while, the shroud of coded, diplomatic language that envelops discussions at the United Nations Security Council is ripped away by reality. On 25th October, it was the words of a women’s rights activist from conflict-ridden South Sudan, Rita Lopidia, which gripped the chamber. “I meet many South Sudanese women, and …

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Why systems thinking changes everything for activists and reformers

Duncan Green - November 4, 2016

This week, the Guardian ran a very nicely edited ‘long read’ extract from How Change Happens covering some of the book’s central arguments, under the title Radical Thinking Reveals the Secrets of Making Change Happen. Here it is: Political and economic earthquakes are often sudden and unforeseeable, despite the false pundits who pop up later to claim they predicted them all along – take the …

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Is Good Advocacy a Science or an Art (or just luck), and how can we sharpen it?

Duncan Green - November 3, 2016

Helen Tilley (h.tilley@odi.org) , is a Research Fellow, Josephine Tsui (j.tsui@odi.org) a Research Officer, and Hannah Caddick (h.caddick@odi.org) a Communications Officer, in the Research and Policy in Development Programme at the Overseas Development Institute. ‘There is an art to science, and a science in art; the two are not enemies, but different aspects of the whole.’ — Issac Asimov In a recent blog, Duncan wrote …

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Why aren’t ‘Diaries of the Poor’ a standard research tool?

Duncan Green - November 2, 2016

I’ve been having lots of buzzy conversations about diaries recently. Not my own (haven’t done that since I was a teenager), but diaries as a research method. The initial idea came from one of my all-time favourite bits of bottom-up research, the book Portfolios of the Poor. Here are the relevant paras from my review: ‘A financial fly-on-the-wall account of how poor people manage money. …

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