Topic: how change happens

Book Review: Civic Activism Unleashed: New Hope or False Dawn for Democracy? by Richard Youngs

This book promised a lot, but only partially delivered. There’s enough substance there to warrant a read, though. The book’s starting point is an upsurge in ‘new activism’ around the world. Robert Putnam’s anomic world of lonely people ‘Bowling Alone’ is looking pretty silly right now. The new activism is very different from the professionalized […]

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How have societies rebuilt trust in their leaders? Your ideas please!

What can we learn from history about how to rebuild the trust between political leaders and citizens that seems to have evaporated in recent years? This was the topic of a recent exchange with Paddy Radcliffe. Paddy has launched a project to ‘build trustworthiness and trust in and between our public leaders, institutions and citizens’ in […]

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If top down control is unavoidable, can we still make aid more compatible with systems thinking?

Had a really interesting conversation last week with Oxfam Intermon and its friends in the Catalan aid system (in Spain, aid is regional with provinces and even cities like Barcelona pursuing active aid policies). I gave my usual rap about how complex systems require aid providers to adopt iterative, adaptive approaches to cope with uncertainty […]

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Return to Chiquitania: What’s changed in the 13 years since my first, mind-blowing visit?

Back in 2006, two encounters with grassroots change processes shaped a lot of what I have written ever since. The first was with the fishing communities of Tikamgarh – I went back to see them again in 2016 and made this video. The other was the Chiquitano indigenous group in Bolivia, a second inspiring story […]

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On Africa’s feminist frontlines, we need accessible care practices to sustain our movements

Jessica Horn is a feminist activist, writer and technical advisor on women’s rights. She is a co-founder of the African Feminist Forum and currently works as Director of Programmes for the African Women’s Development Fund.  Feminism is having its global moment – that heady feeling when a movement’s revolutionary demands are being heard by the […]

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“Waiting for the morning birds”: researcher trauma in dangerous places

Thamani Mwaka Précieux is a researcher with Land Rush at the Institut Supérieur de Développement Rural of Bukavu. This piece is part of the new “Bukavu Series” blog posts by the GIC Network.  Doing research in the DRC is a dangerous job, due to widespread insecurity in various parts of the country, and complicated by the presence […]

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Meet the artist changing gut reactions to the Philippines ‘war on drugs’

Jay Ramirez writes about Carlo Gabuco’s visceral, intimate and poignant depictions of Duterte’s ‘war on drugs’ in the Philippines. Some brilliant insights on the power of art that bring the concept of human rights “down to the gut.” In an art fair in Manila in March last year, one installation caught everybody’s eye. A blue […]

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What have we learned from a close look at 3 DFID Adaptive Management programmes?

Adaptive Management week part 3 (with some trepidation given the recent comments from Heather Marquette et al about the proliferation of flakey case studies in lieu of evidence)…. My paper with Angela Christie summarizing our 3 case studies of big DFID-funded Adaptive Management projects in Myanmar, Tanzania and Nigeria is now online. Every word in […]

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What we’re missing by not getting our TWP alphabet straight

TWP guru Heather Marquette does everyone a great service by explaining the important differences between all the acronyms. I am struck by how often people say ‘TWP/PDIA/adaptive management/PEA…whatever’. Kind of like when my great-aunt calls me by various relatives’ names first before getting mine right – ‘Sheila… Mary…Lily…Heather!’ – these things may share a common genesis, […]

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What does the evidence tell us about ‘thinking and working politically’ in development assistance?

We’re having an ‘Adaptive Management week’ on FP2P, because so much good material has been coming through recently. First up is a new paper by Niheer Dasandi, Edward Laws, Heather Marquette, and Mark Robinson that I read on the way to the TWP conference in Washington that I wrote about recently. It really got me thinking. […]

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#PowerShifts Resources: Collective Mapping

Maybe you’ve already read one of the recent #PowerShifts pieces on how the Waorani are using maps in court to uphold their land rights. Pretty powerful, right? For a while now, I’ve been increasingly curious about collective cartography as a concrete method and tool that can encourage participation, generate collaborative knowledge, and politicise change processes […]

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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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