September 2012

Migration, Sir Duncan, instant spouses and inflight Barry Manilow: final impressions of the Philippines

admin - September 28, 2012

As always after an intense ‘immersion’ in our programme work, I left the Philippines with my head buzzing. Here are some impressions, memories and ideas that don’t fit into a more structured blogpost: Migration: One in 9 Filipinos are outside the country, constituting a major export sector (the government deliberately trains more nurses than the country needs, to encourage outmigration). On the way in from …

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Meetings with Remarkable Women: Lan Mercado's journey from megaphone to microphone

admin - September 27, 2012

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 …

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In the Philippines: does Oxfam's livelihoods work go beyond trad income generation?

admin - September 25, 2012

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 …

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Western failures; the case for small farmers; Mexican miracles; DFID consultancy row (and plebgate); global food waste scandal: links I liked

admin - September 24, 2012

Important institutions saying stuff I agree with (always a warm feeling): ‘Amidst their fragile recovery, an unreformed (and unrepentant) financial sector and macroeconomic policies that are timid at best, and counterproductive at worst, the developing countries will find it difficult to sustain their own growth dynamic, let alone that of the global economy.’ UNCTAD’s 2012 Trade and Development Report is unimpressed on financial reform and …

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A world of friendship networks revealed – great interactive infographic

admin - September 21, 2012

After a few days in the migrationtastic Philippines (more on the visit next week) this post seems particularly apposite. The world’s friendship networks revealed, or at least that chunk of them that are on Facebook (large and growing – 910 million and counting). This exercise in big data crunching is fascinating: click on the country and it tells you how many FB links its citizens …

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Why don't Africa's politicians invest more in small farmers? The political economy of ag policy.

admin - September 20, 2012

Interesting if rather impenetrable new(ish) paper from the Future Agricultures consortium on the political economy of Africanagricultural policy. It seeks to answer an important question – why hasn’t the spread of democracy produced more investment in the smallholder farmers that form the majority of the electorate in many countries? Here’s the summary: “Theories of policy neglect of, or discrimination against, agriculture in Africa include urban bias …

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We hate jargon; grain giants respond; evidence v ideology at the Bank; community paralegals; Africa, Brazil and flying geese; top site on human development: Links I liked

admin - September 18, 2012

Just arrived in the Philippines for a week’s visit, heading off to Mindanao tomorrow morning if tonight’s  torrential monsoon downpour allows it. Back in Manila on Friday for a round table debate on active citizens and fragile states. In the meantime, here are a few things I’ve been reading: Development jargon we hate, (in the field, capacity building, local) and chance to vote for better alternatives …

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The Hunger Grains: new research shows EU biofuel policies drive food prices and land grabs

admin - September 17, 2012

Oxfam economic policy adviser Ruth Kelly (right) unveils her new paper, published today, on a really simple, bad policy that rich countries can fix – biofuels. The past five years have seen two record spikes in the price of food; and prices are rising again, with corn and soy hitting record highs in summer 2012. There is intense disagreement about what causes food price spikes …

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Prices that bounce – Naomi Hossain on the human face of the food crisis

admin - September 14, 2012

Oxfam and IDS are starting work on Life in a Time of Food Price Volatility, a 4 year project combining qualitative and quantitative methods to track the human impact in communities in 10 countries, building on the methodology behind our 2011 report, Living on a Spike. Richard King at Oxfam and Naomi Hossain at IDS are running the project. Here, Naomi (right) reports back on …

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