One of the things I do in my day-a-week role at LSE is bring in guest lecturers from different aid and development organizations to add a whiff of real life to the student diet of theory and academia. One of the best is Owen Barder, who recently delivered a mesmerizing talk on cash transfers and the theory of change used by his organization, the Center …Continue reading
Since the Asian Tsunami of 2004, providing cash to people in an emergency has become increasingly mainstream. But (babies, bath water) there is more to food response than ‘just give them the money.’ On World Food Day, Oxfam Social Protection Adviser Larissa Pelham sets out the case: The King asked The Queen, and The Queen asked The Dairymaid: “Could we have some butter for The …Continue reading
Guest book review from Anita Makri, an editor and writer going freelance after 5+ years with SciDev.Net. (@anita_makri) I’m sure that to readers of this blog the Ebola epidemic that devastated West Africa a couple of years ago needs no introduction (just in case, here’s a nice summary by the Guardian’s health editor). So I’ll cut to the chase, and to a narrative that at …Continue reading
Every now and then an email stops me in my tracks, reminding me that Oxfam is stuffed full of bright, motivated, altruistic people. Here’s one I got a few weeks ago from Debbie Hillier, one of our Humanitarian Policy Advisers, in response to my request for thoughts on the state of the aid business. Her views are fleshed out in ‘A Preventable Crisis’, a new …Continue reading
Here’s this week’s vlog – still trying to sort out a better camera and sound, sorry! Spent a fascinating morning recently, discussing the state of humanitarian response with a bunch of fairly senior people from inside ‘the system’ – UN, donors, INGOs etc. It was Chatham House Rule, so that’s as much as I can tell you about the event, but the good news is …Continue reading
Thought all the big development-related summits were scheduled for 2015? Think again. Ed Cairns, Oxfam’s senior policy adviser on humanitarian advocacy, introduces its new report/shot across the bows of the World Humanitarian Summit, 2016. Humanitarians tend to be practical people, and so when they learn lessons it’s usually from what has failed or succeeded in real crises. Take MSF’s challenge to the world’s ‘inefficient and slow …Continue reading
1/4 of the world’s people already subject to large annual wealth tax to tackle poverty. Has anyone told Piketty?
A few years ago, I sat next to a young muslim guy from Birmingham on a plane, and he told me how frustrated he was with the way his community’s annual act of alms-giving, known as Zakat, was managed – no accountability, no real checks on where it goes or what it achieves. I’ve wondered about that ever since, so yesterday I went online to …Continue reading
I know I go on all the time about ‘how change happens’, but often in development the important question is ‘why doesn’t change happen?’, and we need to get better at answering it. On Tuesday Oxfam published Learning the Lessons, an analysis of the response to the 2012 Sahel food crisis, which affected some 18m people across 9 countries. It’s a serious piece of work, …Continue reading
A high level collection of EC and member states officials, UN big cheeses and West African leaders are meeting in Brussels today to discuss the unfolding crisis in the Sahel, where a disaster is looming. Some communities already find themselves in crisis, others see disaster on the horizon as an early lean season approaches and the annual ‘hunger gap’ lengthens. Overall, 18.4 million people are vulnerable …Continue reading
Responding to emergencies: is the centre of gravity shifting away from the UN towards national goverments?
Ed Cairns, Oxfam’s Senior Policy Adviser on this kind of thing, explores the shifting sands of humanitarian aid policy After a flurry of reviews and new policies on all aspects of aid, the UK put out its new humanitarian policy, Saving Lives, Preventing Suffering and Building Resilience, a couple of weeks ago. Not every word is new – it owes a lot to the review DFID …Continue reading