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 …Continue reading
Second installment on last week’s India visit. Vlog from Lucknow and a debate with Oxfam India’s Vanita Suneja In the rolling, 16 hour-a-day seminar that is a field trip, one topic kept coming up in my conversations in India last week. Many civil society organizations feel beleaguered. As the Indian economy booms, the foreign aid agencies on which many CSOs have come to depend …Continue reading
Oxfam’s new head or research Irene Guijt debuts on FP2P to urge you to come and work with her. ‘How Change Happens’ is a pretty popular topic of late on this blog, in case you hadn’t noticed. And not without reason. In a sector that invests $140 billion per year to reduce poverty and injustices, it is not just useful to know whether our bets …Continue reading
I regularly hear from friends who have been cold called by their old university, seeking to extract money from them for the alma mater (apparently hungry current students are particularly convincing). That got me thinking – how come aid organizations don’t do more with their alumni? Because Exfam staff (as we call them) are a wasted asset: many go on to influential jobs elsewhere in …Continue reading
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 …Continue reading
Oxfam America’s head of policy and advocacy, Paul O’Brien wonders if he’ll still have a job in a few years, based on his remarks to a recent Gates Foundation gathering on the evolution of Policy and Advocacy work. A century from now, how will development historians characterize our policy advocacy in a post-2015 world? In a year that aims to transform development finance and goals, …Continue reading
Here’s a second instalment on ‘influencing’, following yesterday’s piece from Erinch Sahan There’s a lot of talk in the aid biz about ‘getting out of our siloes’ – the traditional division of labour between ‘long term development’, ‘humanitarian’ and ‘advocacy’. I’ve seen this most starkly in some classic campaigns like Make Poverty History or Make Trade Fair, which seemed to have very little connection to …Continue reading
I’ve been having fun recently taking some of the ideas around ‘Doing Development Differently’ and applying them to INGOs, building on the post I wrote last year on ‘You can’t take a supertanker white-water rafting’. The Exam Question is: Given complexity, systems thinking and the failure of top down approaches, what future, if any, is there for International NGOs? Paper and blog forthcoming – bet …Continue reading
So you’ve written the research report: what else do you need to do to ensure people actually read it?
Remember the old days when you wrote a report, published it (perhaps with some kind of executive summary), did a couple of seminars and then declared victory and moved on? Social media have changed that game almost beyond recognition: to maximize impact, any new report more closely resembles a set of Russian dolls, with multiple ‘products’ (hate that word) required to hit different audiences and …Continue reading
What can we learn from big advocacy initiatives in the Philippines on education, violence against women, reproductive health and freedom of information?
Ahead of next week’s Thinking and Working Politically seminar, here’s another case study from The Asia Foundation, which has got some impressive advocacy results in the Philippines. Room for Maneuver (book and research brief) examines four social policy reforms to try and draw lessons for advocacy work. They are 1. The successful passage of the Anti-Violence Against Women and their Children Act in 2004; 2. …Continue reading