May 2011

The biggest Oxfam campaign ever launches tomorrow (but it's a secret)

admin - May 31, 2011

OK it’s imminent: fasten seat belts for the impending wonk, campaign, celeb and media fest around Oxfam’s campaign launch tomorrow. Biggest thing ever; simultaneous launches in 45 countries; bigger (at least in ambition) than Make Poverty History or Make Trade Fair, yadda yadda yadda. But due to the arcane rules of press work, I can’t tell you anything before the embargo (midnight tonight), not even its rather …

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Inspiring action on shit (getting rid of it) – guest post from Robert Chambers

admin - May 30, 2011

Robert Chambers is a participatory development guru with a nice line in modesty. The one line bio he sent for this post reads ‘Robert Chambers is a research associate at the Institute of Development Studies, Sussex, currently working on Community-Led Total Sanitation’. Well OK, but he’s also author of books that have changed the way we see development, such as Whose Reality Counts? and Revolutions …

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Stuff Ex-pat Aid Workers Like; soap operas as change agents; gender traps; are crowdsourcing and cash transfers overrated?; wonderful waves: links I liked

admin - May 27, 2011

Varying degrees of off-message links for the weekend: The Stuff Expat Aid Workers Like blog is like having a beer with a jaundiced aid worker after a crap day. It’s all cynicism and self-loathing (and some ferocious cartoons), with the commitment (one hopes) taken for granted. Highlights include a post on ‘facipulation’ (facilitation + manipulation), the dangers of dancing and ‘Knowing better about DSK‘. If …

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Random highlights of a week in Tanzania (workshop dancing, hyenas v goats, cricket attack – that kind of thing)

admin - May 26, 2011

Any trip contains numerous golden moments that don’t fit into a neat blogpost. Here are some of them: The way a training session with activists regularly breaks into singing, dancing and general hilarity. If only all Oxfam meetings were like this. A vote on export bans: the government reintroduced a ban on exports of maize and rice the night before our session with 40 ‘farmer …

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Do men and women see hunger differently?

admin - May 25, 2011

The new campaign that Oxfam is launching next week will have a big focus on gender – almost every issue in development looks very different depending on whether you are a man or a women. I saw that in graphic form last week in Tanzania, during a training session for 40 ‘farmer animators’ – local activists who are helping to galvanize their communities in Shinyanga, …

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What would it take for Tanzanian farmers' kids to stay on the land? Some views from women farmers

admin - May 24, 2011

Bumba village in Tanzania’s deprived Shinyanga region is green, but not green enough, considering we are just at the end of what was supposed to be the rainy season. The maize is already withering on many of the small farms. But Thelezia Salula’s fields are looking pretty good – neatly planted rice paddy bending under the weight of the grains, just two weeks away from …

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What use are models of change? An experiment in Tanzania

admin - May 23, 2011

I spent last week in Tanzania, but had to wait til I returned to internet-land before blogging on it. So this is Tanzania week on the blog.   First up, models of change (MoC). As you may have noticed, I’ve been thinking a lot about these recently. That usually involves exhausting intellectual gymnastics in seminars or dozing off over impenetrable academic papers, but now I …

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Multilateral monkeys and typewriters; beautiful DFID; tips for South Sudan; dodgy data; (less) boring conferences; bad aid; India's amazing Tiffin Wallahs: links I liked

admin - May 20, 2011

Alex Evans praises a tough, well written report on food security and biofuels, co-authored by a bunch of international agencies. Blimey. Congrats to DFID for winning the latest beauty parade of international aid agencies, but why are these exercises always run by researchers in the North – when do we get a league table of donors anonymously drawn up by the recipients? What should South …

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Why sub-Saharan Africa needs Universal School Meals. Guest post from Swati Narayan

admin - May 19, 2011

128 million children are enrolled in primary schools across Sub-Saharan Africa. But few of them get anything to eat while they’re in school. Many go to school hungry each morning without any breakfast. 13 year old Sylvester is one of them. He lives in Kibera, the largest slum in Kenya’s capital Nairobi, where children are amongst the least healthy in the country. But Sylvester is …

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New and harder evidence on climate change, hunger and food prices

admin - May 18, 2011

New research published in Science magazine  shows climate change is already hitting food production, but the journos reporting it seem to have got themselves in a tangle. The Guardian reported it as saying that prices would be pushed up by ‘as much as 20%’, while the Economist put the figure at about 5%. It pains me to say it, but the Guardian got it wrong. The origin of the …

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