Is ‘The Field’ an outdated and reactionary concept?

admin - January 10, 2014

Advance warning – this blog is going dark for a couple of days to allow the cyberelves to give it a makeover. Back on Wednesday. Ex Tales from the Hood blogger ‘J’ has an enjoyable tirade on the Why Dev blog against the use of the phrase ‘The Field’ in aidland – (as in ‘I’m going to the Field’): ‘There are few fixtures of the …

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Obesity, Diabetes, Cancer: welcome to a new generation of ‘development issues’

admin - January 9, 2014

I failed miserably to stop myself browsing my various feeds over the Christmas break (New Year’s resolution: ‘browse less, produce more’ – destined for failure). One theme that emerged was the rise of the ‘North in the South’ on health – what I call Cinderella Issues. Things like road traffic accidents, the illegal drug trade, smoking or alcohol that do huge (and growing) damage in …

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Do fragile states evolve like forests? Insights from complexity thinking

admin - January 7, 2014

Oxfam’s engagement with physics-trained complexity enthusiast Jean Boulton is starting to generate some really interesting ideas. Jean has been helping us think through our work in fragile states – the big challenge for a lot of aid organizations over the next few years. Just before Christmas, she came in to tell us where her thinking has got to on the different kinds of fragility. Drawing …

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HNY everyone, and here are the blog stats and most read posts for 2013

admin - January 6, 2014

Welcome back, HNY etc. Hope you had a good break (if you took one). Personally I’m glad it’s over – tried to ski, knackered my knee, and meanwhile back home, our cats got trapped in a room and pissed all over my son’s final year university notes. For some reason they took particular exception to the post structuralists – Derrida now even more unreadable than …

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The state of the world’s older people: A smart new index on a rising development priority

admin - December 19, 2013

I’ve been catching up on the backlog of books and papers that spread like an oil slick across my floor, and have come across a couple of gems (as well as some seasonal turkeys). Top of the heap is the Global AgeWatch Index 2013, (c/o the indefatigable Sylvia Beales). It’s a smart attempt by HelpAge International to get some proper attention for one of the …

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Bob Diamond v Dani Rodrik on Africa’s growth prospects

admin - December 18, 2013

Two diametrically opposed views of Africa appeared in my e-intray on the same day this week. The Financial Times reported that Bob Diamond, ex-boss of scandal-plagued Barclays Bank, had secured the preliminary support of several big institutional investors for Atlas Mara, his planned $250m cash shell, targeting the African banking sector. The FT gushed ‘Africa offers growth potential on a vast scale…. if there is …

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DfID gets a red light on aid for trade: how will it respond?

admin - December 17, 2013

Oxfam aid wonk Nicola McIvor explores a highly critical report on one of DfID’s flagship programmes The problem with being committed to independent evaluation and transparency is that you risk being beaten up in public when things go wrong. Oxfam is accustomed to having our own evaluations quoted against us, which is exactly what happened to DFID last week, when the UK’s aid watchdog, the …

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Poor countries are losing $1 trillion a year to illicit capital flows – 7 times the volume of aid

admin - December 16, 2013

I was surprised not to see more coverage of last week’s hard-hitting report from the Global Financial Integrity watchdog. Illicit Financial Flows from Developing Countries: 2002-2011 has a whole bunch of killer facts about the escalating haemorrhage of wealth from poor countries. Here are some highlights. My additions in square brackets/italics: “We estimate that illicit financial outflows from the developing world totalled a staggering US$946.7 …

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