Shouting or cooperating? What’s the best way to use indexes to get better local government?

Went to an enjoyable panel at ODI last week, with the wonderful subtitle ‘Shouting at the system won’t make it work!’. It presented new research on how to improve the accountability of local government in Tanzania. Here’s the paper presented by two of the authors, Anna Mdee and Patricia Tshomba, the first of a series. […]

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Digested read: 3 new papers on measuring women’s empowerment; gender and ISIS; women’s rights in the Middle East and North Africa

Just sampled a couple of hundred pages of Oxfam’s prodigious output on gender issues. 3 new papers, to be precise, all of them ground-breaking in different ways. A ‘How To’ Guide to Measuring Women’s Empowerment; a Gender and Conflict Analysis in ISIS-affected communities in Iraq, and Gender Justice, Conflict and Fragility in the Middle East […]

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What is really going on within ‘shrinking civil society space’ and how should international actors respond?

Good conversation (Chatham House Rule) last week on the global crackdown on civil society organizations (CSOs) and what to do about it. I was expecting a fairly standard ‘it’s all terrible; international NGOs must take action, speak truth to power etc’ discussion, but it was actually much more interesting and nuanced than that. While it […]

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On hype, Impact Investing and the Valley of Death

How do we build bridges across the Valley of Death? That’s the arresting image in a recent Oxfam paper on ‘impact investing’. The valley of death (see diagram) is the gap that firms face as they move from small start ups to Big Biz. In the start-up stage they raise cash wherever they can find […]

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Links I Liked

Best T shirts ever When people talk about ‘systems change‘ they mean 3 different things. Useful unpacking from Dan Vexler She teaches karate to boys and can extract the DNA from bananas. How to be a 5-Year-Old Feminist, aka Eva rocks (but why won’t Channel 4 let us embed it from youtube?) Being in power […]

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Ditching the Masterplan. How can Urban Development become ‘Politically smart, locally led’?

Guest post from Harry Jones and Bishnu Adhikari, both of Palladium on what urban aid and development can learn from the Doing Development Differently movement The international development community has come some way in grappling with complex problems, but urban development has lagged behind. Urban programmes systematically underperform according to their own results frameworks and […]

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Loneliness, Love, Anger and Activism

Spent a morning at the Ashridge Business School Masters in Sustainability and Responsibility last week. The School is extraordinary – a Hogwarts-esque stately home full of statues and vaulted ceilings, formerly Henry VIII’s crib, set in a country park dotted with croquet lawns and mighty oaks. The conversation was also pretty good – 15 Masters […]

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Can Oxfam do the Doughnut? A conversation with Kate Raworth

Kate Raworth came in last week to present her new book, Doughnut Economics (see my earlier review here or Simon Maxwell’s thoughtful summary/critique) and discuss its implications for Oxfam. After writing the initial DE paper while still at Oxfam back in 2012, Kate left to turn it into a book, so there was a definite air […]

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Grenfell Tower is a Hurricane Katrina moment, revealing the shameful state of Britain

My colleague Max Lawson sends out a weekly round-up of things he’s read, and adds some views. Here he is on the meaning and horror of the Grenfell Tower fire. At times an event can act like a flash of lightning, illuminating simmering issues that can otherwise feel abstract.  The recent horrific fire in the Grenfell Tower Block […]

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Links I Liked

We’ve resurrected FP2P on Facebook! Please like the page, circulate, comment etc and tell us if it’s not working Did the world just hit peak booze? By volume, but not by alcohol content (people going off beer), so maybe just peak bladder Reasons to be Cheerful. Percentage of women in national parliaments 1990 vs 2016 […]

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Sex, serendipity and surprises – launching the State of the World’s Fathers

It’s Father’s Day on Sunday, apparently (my kids ignore it completely), so here’s Oxfam’s gender guru, Nikki van der Gaag, reflecting on an impressive bit of advocacy Sharing the housework means better sex.  Now that I have your attention, let me explain. This was just one of the findings in the first ever State of […]

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What can Activists do in a Political Downturn?

The recent discussions with the International Budget Partnership also got me thinking about the options facing activists in political downturns. IBP sees these as potentially multiple: the crackdown on civil society in increasing numbers of countries is closing the space for budget activism, and there may also be a kind of ‘peak transparency’, where the […]

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