advocacy

Local thinktanks are natural allies in ‘Doing Development Differently’ so why not support them better?

Duncan Green - October 3, 2017

Just been reading a rather good paper by Guy Lodge and Will Paxton making the case for supporting  thinktanks in developing countries. They’ve been doing just that for several years, building on their experience in the UK at IPPR and No. 10 Downing Street respectively, hence the paper. They both now work at Kivu International. The starting point is that thinktanks are natural allies in …

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Are grassroots faith organizations better at advocacy/making change happen?

Duncan Green - September 28, 2017

As part of thinking about how power operates in fragile/conflict states (for the LSE’s new Centre for Public Authority in International Development, CPAID), I’m doing a bit more reading around the role of different kinds of ‘non state actors’. One of the most influential in many fragile/conflict settings are faith organizations, so I finally got round to reading ‘Bridging the Gap: The role of local …

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Complexity v Simplicity: the challenge for Campaigners and Reformers

Duncan Green - September 14, 2017

Had a few thought-provoking conversations on this last week. I increasingly see most problems (social, political, economic) as complex, i.e. arising from multiple causes in interconnected systems, often highly dependent on the specific context and history of any given place/population. My campaigner friends generally hate such talk, because their gut feeling is that it makes taking action to change the world much more difficult. We …

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Can a new Index measure whether governments are serious about reducing inequality?

Duncan Green - July 18, 2017

Oxfam’s inequality ubergeek, Deborah Hardoon, needs your help with an ambitious new index As a researcher working on inequality, there are plenty of data and statistics for me to analyse, model and generate ‘killer stats’ from. Of course, there are many data gaps, plus lots of debate on which measures are the best to use (hint, not the one proposed for SDG10). But for the …

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Which aspects of How Change Happens resonate with campaigners?

Duncan Green - July 12, 2017

Writing, and then promoting, How Change Happens has often left me feeling a bit remote from ‘the field’, with a nagging anxiety that what I am saying no longer has much connection with what people are doing on (or at least closer to) the ground. So it was great to get online with some of Oxfam’s best and brightest campaigners and advocates around the world …

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If academics are serious about research impact, they need to learn from advocates

Duncan Green - July 4, 2017

As someone who works for both Oxfam and the LSE, I often get roped in to discuss how research can have more impact on ‘practitioners’ and policy. This is a big deal in academia – the UK government runs a periodic ‘research excellence framework’ (REF) exercise, which allocates funds for university research on the basis both of their academic quality and their impact. Impact accounted …

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Sex, serendipity and surprises – launching the State of the World’s Fathers

Duncan Green - June 16, 2017

It’s Father’s Day on Sunday, apparently (my kids ignore it completely), so here’s Oxfam’s gender guru, Nikki van der Gaag, reflecting on an impressive bit of advocacy Sharing the housework means better sex.  Now that I have your attention, let me explain. This was just one of the findings in the first ever State of the World’s Fathers report, published in 2015. It collected research …

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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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The imaginary advocate, the benefits of Command and Control, and why I’m just channelling Hayek

Duncan Green - June 2, 2017

Continuing the download from the recent LSE-ODI workshop on ‘new experimentalism’ was this thought-provoking description by David Kennedy of the ‘imaginary advocate’, the assumed individual behind How Change Happens and, by extension, a lot of NGO advocacy. Might be a very interesting addition to the endless awaydays, strategic planning processes etc to ask people to try and spell out the imaginary subjects of their own …

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The case against optimism: A Harvard Law Prof critiques How Change Happens

Duncan Green - June 1, 2017

Last week I had the ‘on the psychotherapist’s couch’ experience of having the assumptions behind How Change Happens put under the microscope by two very big brains – Harvard’s David Kennedy and LSE’s Stephen Humphreys. This was part of a joint LSE/ODI seminar on ‘new experimentalism’ (which seems to be the legal studies equivalent of Adaptive Management).  I thought their critiques were brilliant (and lyrical …

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