Desertification is a dangerous Myth – A new book explains why

Duncan Green - July 14, 2016

Oxfam researcher John Magrath reviews an explosive new book I started off life as a newspaper journalist so I appreciate the power of a good story. And that’s what the concept of desertification provides. Since the great Sahelian droughts of the 1970s and 1980s, we’ve become familiar with the idea that humans cause environmental desiccation and destruction on a huge scale; local people, usually, herders …

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NGOs face a slow-onset funding disaster – what can be done to avoid it?

Duncan Green - July 13, 2016

Brexit is prompting a lot of discussion within the UK’s aid community right now. But while the focus is understandably on EC funding and exchange rates, there’s a less visible and potentially more dangerous funding threat to deal with, argues Michael O’Donnell of Bond (the network of UK development NGOs). Right now, NGO staff focused on quality and effectiveness need to mobilise and polish their …

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Campaigning to Make India’s Roads Safer: A nice How Change Happens case study

Duncan Green - July 7, 2016

A smart How Change Happens case study by David Bornstein in the New York Times’ ‘Fixes’ series (highly recommended). Bornstein looks at the advocacy of the SaveLife Foundation, set up by Piyush Tewari, a businessman, after his cousin Shivam was knocked down by a jeep then left to bleed to death by the roadside. Excerpts + commentary from me in italics. “India has surpassed China as …

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Great new 110 page guide to humanitarian campaigning

Duncan Green - July 6, 2016

Just been browsing through a brilliant new Oxfam guide to humanitarian campaigning. A treasure trove of 110 pages crammed full of wisdom, experience and 32 case studies on everything from addressing tribal conflicts in Pakistan to gender responsive work with Syrian refugees to influencing Australia’s humanitarian policy. And no sign of an executive summary. Sigh. To be fair, it would be very hard to summarize, …

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Want to empower women? Digital Financial Services are the way to go!

Duncan Green - July 5, 2016

Sophie Romana (left) and Shelley Spencer (right) report back from the June 8 high level roundtable organized by NetHope and USAID, which brought together mobile banking and gender champions to reflect on how Digital Financial Services (“DFS”) can galvanize women’s empowerment. Women’s empowerment is often measured by their access to resources and ability to make decisions over how they are used.  Recent evidence shows that DFS delivered …

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Links I Liked

Duncan Green - July 4, 2016

The whole Fragile States discussion came a lot closer to home last week (power vacuums, formal v informal power, unstable leadership, fragmented patronage-based party systems, even the role of elite boarding schools……). Why oh why did the Remain campaign reject this poster? We deserve an answer. As a public service, Buzzfeed has pulled together all the best Brexit tweets of the last week. They are …

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Book Review: Eden 2.0: Climate Change and the Search for a 21st Century Myth, by Alex Evans

Duncan Green - July 1, 2016

In his new book, Eden 2.0 (just 68 pages, published today, but currently only available on Kindle, which is bad news for technophobes and tree killers like me, or people who dislike Amazon), Alex Evans asks a question that has been uppermost in every Remainer’s mind in recent days ‘if evidence and rational arguments aren’t enough, then what is?’ He is talking about climate change, …

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What’s the likely impact of Brexit on development, aid and Oxfam? Any opportunities amid the gloom?

Duncan Green - June 30, 2016

Following on Tuesday’s retrospective ‘how did this happen?’ piece, some thoughts on the future, starting wide (development in general) then narrowing down to the aid business, and all the way to Oxfam/INGOs. All highly tentative, subject to correction etc in the coming days. One big assumption: I’m assuming that Brexit actually goes ahead. And one pleasant surprise – there are a few opportunities as well …

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If you want to organize an event on How Change Happens this autumn, please let me know

Duncan Green - June 29, 2016

My new book, How Change Happens, is published in October by OUP. I know, I know, there is no sight so craven or humiliating as a writer desperate to promote their book. Any better ideas? The academic summer break is approaching fast, so as a first step, we’re inviting expressions of interest from universities, NGOs or anyone else in being part of the launch. The …

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