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 …Continue reading
Some of the old lags have reacted to all the hype around TWP/DDD with ‘any aid worker worth their salt knows that all ready – what’s new’?’ An outstanding new paper from Jaime Faustino and David Booth takes up that challenge in one particular context – advocating reforms in the Philippines – that has much wider implications. Jaime works for The Asia Foundation in the …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
Transform or be Haunted by Ghosts: How can the Philippines ‘build back better’ after Typhoon Haiyan?
From the middle of the response to Typhoon Haiyan, Lan Mercado, our Deputy Regional Director in Asia (and passionate campaigner and Filipina) reflects on what lies ahead. She was the one who asked me to pick your brains on disasters as opportunities – thanks for the responses. The massive impact of Typhoon Haiyan claimed thousands of lives and destroyed physical assets, but it also felled …Continue reading
Sticking with yesterday’s theme of how our humanitarian work is evolving, one of our more extraordinary Oxfamistas in the Philippines (Lan Mercado, profiled here) has asked a few of us to help her team think through the longer term implications of Supertyphoon Haiyan for our work. I have no idea how she manages to find headspace to think about that in the middle of the …Continue reading
Twice a year Oxfam’s Regional Directors gather with its UK-based big cheeses to swap notes (they let me join them, for some reason). It’s an opportunity to allow the collective mind to catch up with all those accumulating individual impressions of how the world and our work is changing. Last week’s ‘deep dive’ was about humanitarian work: two days of conversations, questions and data dotted …Continue reading
Like any campaigning organization, Oxfam has limited funds, and so needs to know whether its investment has paid off. The push from everyone and their dog to pursue a ‘results agenda’ and ‘value for money’ has added further momentum to that effort. That’s fine if you’re doing something that’s easy to measure, (say vaccinating kids, or cash transfers), and where attributing an effect to a particular …Continue reading
A while back, I wrote about some amazing Oxfam women I met in East Africa. Here’s another, this time from the Philippines. Lan (real name Lilian, but Filipinos never use real names) is one of those quiet but effective (and very determined, and maybe not so quiet….) women that abound in development work. She was formerly our country director in the Philippines, but has now …Continue reading
For me, one of the most fruitful aspects of ‘field trips’ such as last week’s visit to see Oxfam’s work in the Philippines is the exchange it sets up in my head between the academic literature and debates I’ve been ploughing through in the UK, and the reality of our work on the ground. A good trip confirms, improves or adds to your thinking, and …Continue reading
Last week I visited Oxfam’s Philippines programme. Such trips follow a pretty standard format – our national staff and relevant partners whisk me through a series of site visits and conversations with farmers, civil society organizations, local government officials and anyone else who’ll talk to you. For a few days, I’m engrossed, wrestling on multiple levels, first to understand the intricacies of the projects, and …Continue reading