Jobs for wonks: three new openings at Oxfam

I’m taking time out from blogging today partly because my computer’s on the blink, but also because I promised to plug some new jobs in Oxfam that I thought would particularly interest the kinds of weirdoes intellectuals and deep thinkers who read this blog: First up, our MEL pin-up Karl Hughes is off to the […]

Read More »

Arab Spring v Muslim Tigers: what’s the connection between human development and revolution?

Just before the Arab Spring kicked off in early 2011, I was happily linking to some really interesting work by Dani Rodrik (one of my development heroes) on ‘muslim tigers’, pointing out that in terms of human development, the top 10 performers since 1970 were not the usual suspects (East Asia, Nordics) but Muslim countries […]

Read More »

What do 6,000 people on the receiving end of aid think of the system? Important new book

Just finished Time to Listen: Hearing People on the Receiving End of International Aid, by Mary B. Anderson, Dayna Brown and Isabella Jean. It’s published by CDA Collaborative Learning Projects, a non-profit based in Cambridge, Massachusetts.  The book reminds me of the World Bank’s great Voices of the Poor study, only this time it’s ‘Voices […]

Read More »

Has Zimbabwe’s land reform actually been a success? A new book says yes.

I’ve never been to Zimbabwe, so tend to get my messages from the news coverage. On land issues, that means a picture of a predatory state driving white farmers off the land and handing it out to cronies and bogus war veterans, who fail to produce anything much in the way of crops. Zimbabwe Takes […]

Read More »

From pinstripes to poverty: a refugee banker’s first 100 days at Oxfam

Oxfam is always keen to employ unusual suspects, none more so than Will Martindale, a banker turned “do gooder” (right, and no, that isn’t his Oxfam desk). Here he reflects on his first 100 days working among the (supposed) angels. Banking. Most hate it. Few understand it. And I miss it. I miss the pace, the […]

Read More »

Evidence and results wonkwar final salvo (for now): Eyben and Roche respond to Whitty and Dercon + your chance to vote

In this final post (Chris Whitty and Stefan Dercon have opted not to write a second installment), Rosalind Eyben and Chris Roche reply to their critics. And now is your chance to vote (right) – but only if you’ve read all three posts, please. The comments on this have been brilliant, and I may well […]

Read More »

Launch of ‘If’ – new megacampaign to tackle global hunger: how does it compare with ‘Make Poverty History’?

Sorry for a second post in one day, but the launch of If is a biggie Ah the perils of age – am I becoming one of those annoying old guys who greets every new idea (however excellent) with a weary sigh and ‘we already did/discussed all that back in the 19XXs’? I ask because […]

Read More »

The evidence debate continues: Chris Whitty and Stefan Dercon respond from DFID

Yesterday Chris Roche and Rosalind Eyben set out their concerns over the results agenda. Today Chris Whitty (left), DFID’s Director of Research and Evidence and Chief Scientific Adviser and Stefan Dercon (right), its Chief Economist, respond. It is common ground that “No-one really believes that it is feasible for external development assistance to consist purely of […]

Read More »

The political implications of evidence-based approaches (aka start of this week’s wonkwar on the results agenda)

The political implications of evidence-based approaches The debate on evidence and results continues to rage. Rosalind Eyben and Chris Roche, two of the organiser’s of next April’s Big Push Forward conference on the Politics of  Evidence, kick off a discussion. Tomorrow Chris Whitty, DFID’s Director of Research and Evidence and Chief Scientific Adviser, and Stefan […]

Read More »

Should we (and everyone in Davos) worry about extreme wealth? New Oxfam briefing

Good to see Oxfam highlighting inequality in its media briefing ahead of this week’s annual gathering of power & plutocrats in Davos. Because inequality is about the relationship between different social groups, it is inherently more political and more controversial than poverty. As our head of campaigns Ben Phillips, who packs a mean sound bite, […]

Read More »

Why don’t people in power do the right thing – supply, demand or collective action problem? And what do we do about it?

My last few days have been dominated by conversations around ‘convening and brokering’, including an exchange between assorted ODI wonks and a bunch of NGOs on the findings of the Africa Power and Politics Programme, and a ‘webinar’ (ugh), with our Latin American staff on the nature of ‘leverage’ (a closely associated development fuzzword). Yesterday I […]

Read More »

‘Convening and Brokering’ in practice: sorting out Tajikistan’s water problem

In the corridors of Oxfam and beyond, ‘convening and brokering’ has become a new development fuzzword. I talked about it in my recent review of the Africa Power and Politics Programme, and APPP promptly got back to me and suggested a discussion on how convening and brokering is the same/different to the APPP’s proposals that aid […]

Read More »