how change happens

What can today’s activists learn from the history of campaigning?

Duncan Green - November 26, 2015

Spent an afternoon recently discussing the lessons of UK history with an eclectic mix of historians and modern day campaigners. Organized by Friends of the Earth’s Big Ideas project and the History and Policy network, it was the second instalment in a really interesting process (see here for my post on an earlier session). This time around, H&P had commissioned a set of short case …

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Here’s my attempt at a takeaway message on How Change Happens – what do you think?

Duncan Green - November 24, 2015

Reminder – if you are one of the truly alarming number of people who have downloaded the 160 page draft of How Change Happens, the deadline for comments is just two weeks away – 10th December. Background to the book here. One of the main messages already emerging from feedback is that I need to ‘throw readers a bone’ in the final chapter, in the …

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A big win for climate change campaigners in the Philippines – how did they do it?

Duncan Green - November 11, 2015

Some great news from the Philippines. The Philippines Survival Fund, which I blogged about a couple of years ago, is finally open for business – local governments and community organizations will now be apply to apply for funds up to 1 billion pesos (US$21m) a year, for projects that help communities adapt to climate change. The first lesson is the need for stamina – even …

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What are the key principles behind a theory of change approach? Top new ODI paper.

Duncan Green - September 17, 2015

Craig Valters of ODI is consistently incisive on Theories of Change, cutting through the flannel surrounding one of the aid business’ favourite new(ish) fuzzwords to identify what is genuinely significant. His new, crisply written paper is a must read for anyone interested in how change happens, doing development differently, or the results agenda. Some excerpts: ‘The development industry is unbalanced in a number of ways. …

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What are the drivers of change behind women’s empowerment at national level? The case of Colombia

Duncan Green - September 10, 2015

Just read a new case study of women’s empowerment in Colombia, part of ODI’s Development Progress series (summary here, full paper here). What’s useful is the level of analysis – a focus on the national rather than global or a project case study enables them to consider the various drivers of change at work. Some excerpts: Signs of Progress: Colombia is home to the longest …

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What happens when historians and campaigners spend a day together discussing how change happens?

Duncan Green - June 9, 2015

Part of the feedback on last month’s post calling for a ‘lessons of history’ programme was, inevitably, that someone is already doing it. So last week I headed off to Kings College, London for a mind expanding conference on ‘Why Change Happens: What we Can Learn from the Past’. The organizers were the History and Policy network and Friends of the Earth, as part of …

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14 ways for aid agencies to better promote active citizenship

Duncan Green - January 21, 2015

As you may have noticed, I’ve been writing a series of 10 case studies of Oxfam’s work in promoting ‘active citizenship’, plus a synthesis paper. They cover everything from global campaigns to promoting women’s leadership to labour rights. They are now all finished and up on the website. Phew. Here’s the accompanying blog which summarizes the findings of the exercise (with links to all the …

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9 Ways to get northern constituencies involved in changing the world: useful typology

Duncan Green - October 10, 2014

Like everyone else, if Buzzfeed is any guide, I love a good list. I’m also increasingly obsessed with theories of change. So imagine my joy when I read Exfamer May Miller-Dawkins’ paper ‘9 Ways to Change the World’, which offers not one, but two lists. The paper is an attempt to come up with a typology of the ways organizations try to engage northern constituencies on …

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Reformers v lobbyists: where have we got to on tackling corporate tax dodging?

Duncan Green - May 9, 2014

The rhythm of NGO advocacy and campaigning sometimes makes it particularly hard to work on complicated issues, involving drawn-out negotiations where bad guys have more resources and staying power than we do. Campaigns on trade, climate change, debt relief etc often follow a similar trajectory – a big NGO splash as a new issue breaks, then activists realize they need to go back to school …

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