Invasion of the tuk tuks; soft handshakes; barred by the eco-KKK; shoe-tossing and an unlikely place for a charter city: final impressions of Central America

Things that have changed since I roamed Central America as a ‘Sandalista’ in the 1980s: – Even though the civil wars are long gone, the homicide rates are some of the highest in the world, razor wire is everywhere, and the security brief for Oxfam staff makes it sound like a war zone. – Cellphones, obviously. A […]

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Guatemala v Honduras: comparing prospects for change

[This post is published in Spanish on the 3500 milliones blog] From Honduras, I went to Guatemala for a couple of days. Didn’t have time to get out into the countryside, which is a real shame since rural Guate has to be one of the most amazing places to visit in Latin America. But a […]

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Is blood and sacrifice enough? The Honduran peasant movement's model of change

[This post is published in Spanish on the 3500 milliones blog] I spent three days last week trying to understand the peasant (campesino) movement in Honduras. It was the perfect field trip in many ways, split between a flying visit to the Bajo Aguan region up on the lush Northern coast, site of the most […]

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What can NGOs do in a political downturn? Ideas from Central America

I spent last week in Central America, where in the 1980s, I got my political education in South and particularly Central America, hopping as a journo and writer between revolutionary Sandinistas in Nicaragua and guerrilla fighters in El Salvador.  So this week’s posts will mainly be a download and reflection on that visit. First, I […]

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World Water Day in pics; tobacco as development issue; history of $1 a day; India acts on overpriced drugs; BAe in Tanzania; Zinisha: Links I liked

Lovely collection of readers photos on the Guardian site to commemorate world water day. Lots more on the day here and from Oxfam’s West Africa essential services guy here. Another hitherto ‘northern’ issue that development agencies are going to have to start taking seriously – tobacco. ‘Tobacco use killed almost 6 million people last year […]

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He can rap, he can dance, but should Jim Yong Kim be the next President of the World Bank?

I’m in Boston and should really be going off to teach a weekend course on How Change Happens at Brandeis University, but I can’t drag myself away from watching Jim Yong Kim on youtube. Kim, a Korean American health expert and currently president of the prestigious Dartmouth College, is Washington’s nomination for the next head […]

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Campaigners can still learn from the Abolition of Slavery: guest post by Max Lawson

Max Lawson, Oxfam’s head of advocacy, reflects on what today’s campaigners on the Robin Hood Tax (or pretty much anything else) can learn from the anti-slavery movement A global industry, dominated by the UK, providing a third of our GDP. An industry that purchases politicians, and is deeply rooted in the establishment. An industry, formerly revered, […]

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What should a European Voice on Development actually say?

Had a slightly frustrating session (but they’re often the most productive) at ODI recently on the next-but-one (2013) European Report on Development, which will be on the post-2015 debate, aka what comes after the MDGs (ODI’s doing lots on this). My frustration sprang from the contrast between the avowed mission of the ERD – to […]

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What have we learned from trying to help poor farmers use markets better?

After some pretty rarified policy wonkery on agriculture and development last week, Erinch Sahan, an Oxfam private sector adviser, summarizes what we have learned from our work in the field  (for once, the right expression). And no, there doesn’t appear to be much obvious overlap with the topics covered in the earlier posts, but I […]

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What to do about Syria? How about declaring its oil and arms contracts illegitimate? Neat idea from CGD

What to do about Syria? The inventive wonks at CGD think they have a neat answer: “The main financial and legal centres of the world should declare that any contracts signed after today by a regime which has been designated illegitimate will be regarded as odious, and will not be enforceable in their jurisdictions.” CGD’s […]

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Avoid economists; SA's condom boom; will Holland chop aid this week?; scientists v policy makers v pastoralists on climate change; throwing rocks at Kony 2012 in Uganda: links I liked

Lawrence Haddad (an economist, btw) reckons the next World Bank pres should not be an economist and Urban Dictionary defines ‘economist’  in a pretty unfriendly way – if you are one, probably best not to click…… “National surveys show the proportion of young South African men aged 16-24 who reported using a condom at their last […]

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Agricultural policy, poverty and the role of the state: the OECD responds

Today Jonathan Brooks author of the OECD’s new book on agricultural policy and poverty reduction, responds to my rather critical review. (For footie fans, the photo behind him is taken in a Brazilian bar, and celebrates the lobbing of the English goalkeeper David Seaman by Ronaldinho in the 2002 World Cup) Duncan, Thanks for this […]

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