Duncan Green

This is a conversational blog written and maintained by Duncan Green, strategic adviser for Oxfam GB and author of ‘From Poverty to Power’. This personal reflection is not intended as a comprehensive statement of Oxfam's agreed policies.

What do we know about ‘online gig work’ in developing countries?

Duncan Green - April 25, 2017

What do we know about ‘online gig work’ in developing countries? Until recently, all I’d read about was the bizarre world of gold farming – gamers in East Asia (even prisoners in Chinese labour camps) playing to accumulate credits they could then sell on to lazy Western players. A new report from the Oxford Internet Institute filled me in on where the phenomenon has got …

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How could a ‘life cycle analysis’ help aid organizations engage better with the public?

Duncan Green - April 24, 2017

Following on the post (and great comments) about whether Oxfam should get serious on changing social norms, I’ve been thinking about a ‘life cycle analysis’ approach to INGOs’ engagement with the public. The starting point is that at different ages, people have different assets and constraints (eg disposable time, cash, openness to new ideas). Obviously, one shouldn’t generalize – not all 20, 40 or 80 …

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Improving collaboration between practitioners and academics: what to do? (with a little help from Einstein)

Duncan Green - April 21, 2017

Previous posts in this 3 part series explored the obstacles to INGO-academic collaboration, and the lessons of systems thinking. This final post suggests some ways forward (with some sarcastic asides from Einstein) Based on all of the above, a number of ideas emerge for consideration by academics, INGOs and funders of research. Suggestions for academics Comments on the blogposts that formed the basis for this …

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What does Systems Thinking tell us about how INGOs and Academics can work together better?

Duncan Green - April 20, 2017

Yesterday, I wrote about the obstacles to NGO-academic collaboration. In this second of three posts on the interface between practitioners and researchers, I look at the implications of systems thinking. Some of the problems that arise in the academic–INGO interface stem from overly linear approaches to what is in effect an ideas and knowledge ecosystem. In such contexts, systems thinking can help identify bottlenecks and suggest possible …

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What are the obstacles to collaboration between NGOs and Academics?

Duncan Green - April 19, 2017

I wrote a chapter on the NGO-Academia Interface for the recent IDS publication, The Social Realities of Knowledge for Development, summarized here by James Georgalakis. It’s too long for a blog, but pulls together where I’ve got to on this thorny topic, so over the next few days, I will divvy it up into some bite-sized chunks for FP2P readers. First, why collaboration between NGOs …

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Links I Liked

Duncan Green - April 18, 2017

I’m running a two week summer school on How Change Happens in Cape Town in July. Sign up here. Newspapers should have had the headline “Number of people in extreme poverty fell by 137,000 since yesterday.” Every day for the last 25 years [h/t Max Roser] New Oxfam report. From 2009-2015, the 50 biggest US companies received over $423 billion in tax breaks; Over that …

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Drought in Africa – How the system to fund humanitarian aid is still hardwired to fail

Duncan Green - April 13, 2017

Guest post from Debbie Hillier, Oxfam Humanitarian Policy Adviser Nearly 11 million people across Ethiopia, Somalia and Kenya are facing alarming levels of food insecurity. In Somalia, deaths as a result of drought have already been recorded, and as its next rains are forecast to be poor, famine is a real possibility. But why are we facing the threat of famine yet again in Somalia? …

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Tortoise v Hare: Is China challenging the US for global leadership? Great Economist piece

Duncan Green - April 12, 2017

Back from Australia and I’ve been catching up on my Economist backlog. The 1st April edition exemplified the things the magazine does really well (I don’t include its naff geek-humour April 1st leader supporting a tax on efficiency). There were the customary great infographics – here’s the map showing the extent to which countries export/import air pollution through their trade in goods (i.e. importing dirty …

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Need your advice: is it worth doing a new edition of From Poverty to Power?

Duncan Green - April 11, 2017

Through previous exercises in consultation, I’ve developed a great respect for the wisdom of the FP2P hivemind, so thought I would ask your advice about whether to update From Poverty to Power (the book). For those who haven’t read it, the book is a bit of a compendium on development, with sections on power and politics; poverty and wealth; human security and the international system. …

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Links I Liked

Duncan Green - April 10, 2017

Back from a busy two weeks in Aus and NZ, including this interview with Lisa Cornish of DevEx, recorded under the eucalyptus trees of Canberra. For writers of long emails everywhere. Please don’t. In which Zadie Smith advocates for Doing Development Differently h/t Prof David Hudson Chuffed that the Economist ran my letter on inequality. Shame they cut all mention of Oxfam though. Maybe the …

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