Is Advocacy becoming too professional? A conversation with World Vision and Save the Children

Duncan Green - October 12, 2016

I was guest ranter at an illuminating recent discussion on advocacy with Save the Children and World Vision. They were reviewing the lessons of their ‘global campaigning on the MDG framework’ on maternal and child health (MCH) (here’s a powerpoint summary of their findings global-campaigning-within-the-mdg-framework-sci-wvi). Some of the conclusions were painfully familiar (quotes from the briefing for the meeting): ‘There is little evidence that global institutions’ …

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How can Academics and NGOs work together? Some smart new ideas

Duncan Green - August 16, 2016

Just finished ‘Interaction’, a thought-provoking report on ‘How can academics and the third sector work together to influence policy and practice’. Written by Mark Shucksmith for the Carnegie UK Trust, the report has some good research and new suggestions on a hoary old topic. First up, a striking stat that underlines the imbalance in size and resources between academia and the third sector (voluntary organizations, …

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Where are the gaps in the way we campaign?

Duncan Green - August 11, 2016

The summer is a time for relaxed chats in my Brixton office. This week it was with a seasoned NGO campaigner who’s been on a break, and wondering about re-entry into the UK/global development and environment campaign scene at the research-y end. Where are the gaps and potential niches that a bright, reflective, experienced campaigner-turned-researcher could help to fill? Here’s a few that came up, inevitably …

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Great new 110 page guide to humanitarian campaigning

Duncan Green - July 6, 2016

Just been browsing through a brilliant new Oxfam guide to humanitarian campaigning. A treasure trove of 110 pages crammed full of wisdom, experience and 32 case studies on everything from addressing tribal conflicts in Pakistan to gender responsive work with Syrian refugees to influencing Australia’s humanitarian policy. And no sign of an executive summary. Sigh. To be fair, it would be very hard to summarize, …

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How Change Happens: a conversation with 25 top campaigners from around the world

Duncan Green - May 18, 2016

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 …

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If you think knowledge is expensive, try ignorance. Smart new job in Oxfam’s research team

Duncan Green - March 22, 2016

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 …

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Which bits of advice do developing country decision makers actually listen to? Great new research

Duncan Green - May 12, 2015

Another interesting feedback loop in the aid system: a new report, The Marketplace of Ideas for Policy Change summarizes a survey of 6,750 policymakers and practitioners in 126 low- and middle-income countries to find out which of the innumerable bits of advice and analysis churned out by aid agencies, international organizations and NGOs actually influence their work. What’s most alarming is how original this is …

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What makes it possible to do joined-up programmes and advocacy? And what prevents it?

Duncan Green - May 1, 2015

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 …

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How can grassroots aid programmes influence the wider system?

Duncan Green - April 30, 2015

In the first of two posts on how aid agencies can use their grassroots work to exert wider influence, Erinch Sahan discusses his work with livelihoods programmes (jobs, incomes etc). Tomorrow, I’ll discuss the conditions for such ‘joined-up influencing’ to work. “Give someone a fish and you feed them for a day; teach someone to fish and you feed them for a lifetime.” Sounds comfortingly …

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If annoying, talking down to or ‘othering’ people is a terrible way to influence them, why do we keep doing it? (research edition)

Duncan Green - February 12, 2015

I’ve been thinking about how we criticize/critique people, groups and ideas recently. It started with a conversation with my pal Chris Roche who first expressed surprise at the snarky tone of my post on a paper on NGOs (What can we learn from a really annoying paper on NGOs and development?) and then pronounced himself a bit irritated by some of the ‘Doing Development Differently’ …

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