Creating a splash with Data Diving

Over a July weekend in London four charities and more than 80 data professionals took part in a “DataDive”, organized by DataKind UK. Ricardo, Richard and Simone from Oxfam’s Research Team (see pic of handsome hunks below) went along. Here’s what happened. If you came to London for a weekend during the best summer since […]

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A week at the Edinburgh festival: good theatre, bad music and great books

Last week Cathy and I spent our annual week at the Edinburgh festival. It provides a high intensity restoration of the mental flora (colonic irrigation of the soul?) before the autumn grind begins. We tend to avoid the ubiquitous stand-up comedy, even though the heckling sounds pretty amazing, and go for a more NGO-compatible diet […]

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On a speaking tour in Australia and New Zealand for next 3 weeks – here are the details

I’m off to Australia and New Zealand this weekend, to teach a 3 day session on ‘how change happens’ with the wonderful Chris Roche at Perth’s Murdoch University (I’m assured it’s nothing to do with Rupert). That will be followed by a powerpoint-tastic speaking tour through Melbourne, Canberra, Wellington and Auckland. Current list of public […]

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Now that’s what I call social protection: the Chile Solidario Programme

Another one of the fascinating case studies dug up by Sophie King for my recent UN paper on ‘The Role of the State in Empowering Poor and Excluded Groups and Individuals’. This one looks at how Chile manages its integrated social protection programme and is based on a paper by the excellent Stephanie Barrientos. Reading […]

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How to think in Systems? Great (and accessible, and short) book.

Thanks to whoever suggested I read ‘Thinking in Systems’, by Donella Meadows. It’s great – one of those short, easy reads that may induce a gestalt shift in the way you see the world. The topic is ‘systems theory’ – that phrase that wise-looking wonks bandy about in meetings, to intimidating effect. If you can’t […]

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How empowerment happens: devolving management to local people in Vietnam and Pakistan

Another one of the fascinating case studies dug up by Sophie King for my recent UN paper on ‘The Role of the State in Empowering Poor and Excluded Groups and Individuals’. This one looks at two examples of devolution that seem to work Devolving forest management to local people, Dak Lak, Vietnam This is from […]

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The End of Cheap Rice: Good News or Catastrophe?

Are high food prices here to stay, and if so are they a Good Thing (producers benefit) or a Bad Thing (consumers go hungry)? These are the questions explored by a thought-provoking and very even-handed new paper (only 5 pages) from the ODI on the ‘end of cheap rice’. From the Summary: “After more than […]

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The future of Agriculture: useful teaching resource/briefing on current debates

If you’re looking for a teaching resource on current debates on agriculture and development, take a look at ‘The Future of Agriculture’, a rather goodsynthesis of a two week online debate hosted by Oxfam last December. The paper, written by Maya Manzi and Gine Zwart, has a 10 page summary of the 23 posts and […]

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Why NGOs label technology as nasty or nice

This post appeared last week on the Science and Development website SciDev There’s real substance behind activists’ polarised views of new technology, says Oxfam adviser Duncan Green. NGOs and activists often seem to hold contradictory views about science and technology, dividing the world up into ‘nice’ and ‘nasty’ technologies. Anything to do with mobile phones, crowdsourcing, […]

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Is the pressure to keep overheads low and avoid failure holding charities back? Watch this TED talk and tell me what you think

Following all the hoohaa about charity boss salaries, including my own small peanutgate contribution, several people sent me links to this intriguing TED talk by Dan Pallotta, which I found partly convincing, but also rather uncomfortable viewing. I’d be really interested in your reactions:

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Why you should become a development blogger. And some thoughts on how to enjoy it.

I think it’s time for some new development bloggers. Lots of new voices to oxygenate a sphere that is starting to feel a little stale. Let’s see if I can persuade you to sign up (NGO types tend not to jump at the chance). First the benefits: A blog is like a cumulative, realtime download […]

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What’s the link between feminist movements and Violence Against Women?

There’s a fascinating, brilliant and I think, very significant, piece on the role of feminism in driving action on violence against women in the latest issue of Gender and Development (ungated versions on Oxfam policy and practice website, please note). Authors Laurel Weldon and Mala Htun have painstakingly constructed the mother of all databases, covering […]

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