active citizenship

Which Citizens? Which Services? Unpacking Demand for Improved Health, Education, Roads, Water etc

Duncan Green - March 16, 2018

Next up in the Twaweza series is this post from Ruth Carlitz of the University of Gothenburg. Please read and comment on the draft paper she summarizes here. Clean water. Paved roads. Quality education. Election campaigns in poor countries typically promise such things, yet the reality on the ground often falls short. So, what do people do? Wait for five years and “throw the bums …

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Book Review: ‘I’ve got the Light of Freedom: The Organizing Tradition and the Mississippi Freedom Struggle’ Charles M Payne

Duncan Green - January 26, 2018

I’ve given my kids a lot of improving books over the years, and now they’re exacting revenge. Parental devotion means I read anything they give me, which at least gets me out of the aid and development ghetto. My Christmas present this year from son Calum was Charles Payne’s wonderful book on the US civil rights movement, which also kept me sane during a grim, …

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From Dandora to Davos – organising from the grassroots and puncturing the elite

Duncan Green - January 24, 2018

With the inequality crisis in focus as the world’s elite gathers in Davos, the Fight Inequality Alliance’s Global Convenor, Jenny Ricks (@jenny_ricks ), examines where real change is likely to come from Inequality, and sage words about needing to tackle it, are once again ringing through the halls of Davos. As a counterpoint to this, we in the Fight Inequality Alliance are holding our global week …

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Where do South Africa’s activists go from here? A Cape Town conversation

Duncan Green - August 1, 2017

My last morning in Cape Town last week was spent deep in discussion with three fine organizations – two local, one global. The global one was the International Budget Partnership, who I’ve blogged about quite a lot recently. The local ones were very different and both brilliant: the Social Justice Coalition and the Development Action Group. SJC favours a largely outside track, famously organizing local …

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What can Activists do in a Political Downturn?

Duncan Green - June 15, 2017

The recent discussions with the International Budget Partnership also got me thinking about the options facing activists in political downturns. IBP sees these as potentially multiple: the crackdown on civil society in increasing numbers of countries is closing the space for budget activism, and there may also be a kind of ‘peak transparency’, where the issue passes the summit of the hype curve and descends …

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What is new/the same about the world’s new civic activist movements?

Duncan Green - May 10, 2017

Bumped into Tom Carothers in the DFID foyer the other day, and he handed me a copy of a fascinating new Carnegie Endowment Report, Global Civic Activism in Flux. Late last year, Carnegie set up a Civic Activism Network that brought together 8 national experts on new forms of citizen activism in Brazil, Egypt, India, Kenya, Thailand, Tunisia, Turkey, and Ukraine, who each contributed chapters. …

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Social Accountability from the Trenches: 6 Critical Reflections

Duncan Green - May 3, 2017

Guest post by Gopa Kumar Thampi of The Asia Foundation There is a clearly a surge in social accountability initiatives across the globe today. From informal expressions at the grassroots to entrenched voices in corridors of power, the social accountability multiverse has become stronger and diverse. It wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say that we are indeed witnessing the rise of an ‘audit society’ that animates …

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Preaching to the Converted and the Path to Unlearning: this week’s random conversations

Duncan Green - January 13, 2017

Had some interesting if random discussions this week – I work from home a lot, and then get far too excited when I actually end up in a room with interesting people.  Two thoughts (among many) seem worth capturing: Preaching to the converted: This is something we’re not supposed to do – waste of time all agreeing with each other, right? We need to get …

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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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Active citizens holding Britain’s politicians to account – why can’t the rest of the UK election campaign be more like this?

Duncan Green - May 6, 2015

The UK general election takes place tomorrow. I’ve spared you so far, but on Monday I went to what has to be the most enjoyable and substantive event of the election campaign – watching party leaders and ministers being grilled by an ‘accountability assembly’ of the community organisation Citizens UK in a packed Methodist Central Hall, within spitting distance of the Houses of Parliament. Citizens …

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