How does an INGO like Oxfam help Africa get a good deal from its Natural Resources?

I recently caught up with Gilbert Makore, Oxfam’s Extractive Industries Adviser in East Africa recently. You can listen to the 25m podcast for more nuance, but here are some extracts: The East African moment: ‘The region sits at a very exciting point – it’s one of the emerging oil and gas producers in the world, […]

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PEKKA, an inspiring example of feminist activism from Indonesia

Thanks to Jonathan Fox for politely prodding me until I read his Accountability Research Centre’s great case study of PEKKA, an amazing Indonesian women’s organization, co-published with Just Associates. Some extracts: ‘PEKKA’s work began in 2001, emerging from the Komnas Perempuan (Widows’ Project), which set out to document the lives of widows in the conflict-ridden […]

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Take-up and Doubt: where have we got to on Thinking and Working Politically?

Spent a day this week at a Washington workshop on ‘From Thinking Politically to Working Politically’, organized by Abt Associates, whose Graham Teskey is one of the TWP gurus. What struck me most was the combination of the spreading acceptance of TWP approaches within the aid sector, and serious questions being asked about important aspects […]

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Book Review: The Business of Changing the World, by Raj Kumar

I found reading The Business of Changing the World rather disturbing – a bit like being taken hostage by a cult and submitted to polite but persistent brainwashing for several days (I’m a slow reader). The cult in question is what Anand Giridharadas calls ‘MarketWorld’ – an effusive, evangelical belief in the power of markets, […]

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Links I Liked

Declining child mortality: historically, almost everywhere, about 1/2 died before their 15th birthday. The global average today is 1/10 of that – one child in 20, Still far too many, obviously, but a striking change. The creeping criminalisation of humanitarian aid: now it’s happening in Europe & US. V worrying trend. The spoof twitter ‘God’ […]

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Audio Summary (10m) of FP2P posts, week beginning 10th June

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In ‘Winner Takes All’, Anand Giridharadas takes down philanthropy’s ‘MarketWorld’: Book Review

If you’ve ever been irked by the combination of arrogance, platitude, complacency and dismissiveness that often characterizes the private sector-aid complex (philanthropists, management consultants, foundations, impact investors and their groupies across the aid business), then this is the book for you. In Winner Takes All, Anand Giridharadas hangs out at their motivational talks and high […]

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How can Daniel Kahneman help organizations get better at Strategic Planning?

Oxfam is embarking on another round of strategic planning – a protracted process of research, debate and negotiation that sometimes make me wonder whether ‘INGO’ should really stand for ‘Interminable Navel-Gazing Ordeal’. Why the negativity? Partly because I worry that much of what is painfully agreed then sits on a virtual shelf until the next […]

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Links I Liked

Academic Writing Genres [ht @AcademicsSay] First draft: Horror Abstract: Action thriller Hypothesis section: Fantasy Results section: Tragedy Limitations section: True crime Implications section: Satire Grant application: Science fiction Calling all activists (of whatever kind). Oxfam’s (new, improved) free online course ‘Make Change Happen‘ has begun another 8 week run. Feedback says people like the content, […]

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Audio summary (10m) of FP2P posts, week beginning 3rd June

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Naila Kabeer on Why Randomized Controlled Trials need to include Human Agency

Guest post and 20m interview with Naila Kabeer on her new paper There’s a buzz abroad in the development community around a new way to tackle extreme poverty. BRAC’s Targeting the Ultra Poor (TUP) programme combines asset transfers (usually livestock), cash stipends and intensive mentoring to women and families in extreme poverty in order to […]

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How should INGOs respond to growing nationalism in the UK?

Guest post from Matthew Spencer, (@Spencerthink) Oxfam’s Director of Campaigns, Policy & Influencing Kirsty McNeill, my counterpart from Save the Children UK, asked me this question last year and it’s been troubling me ever since. I had a vague answer, but wasn’t entirely convinced. We have no mandate to take sides on Brexit, but I […]

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