Topic: how change happens

‘Anti-domestic violence little vaccine’: A Wuhan-based feminist activist campaign during COVID-19

Hongwei Bao argues that rather than seeing the pandemic as an obstacle to social movements, it can be a good opportunity to experiment with flexible and creative modes of social and political activism. This piece is a shortened version of a paper in the Interface Journal. From January to April, many Chinese cities including Wuhan […]

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From communal violence to lockdown hunger – Emergency responses by civil society networks in Delhi

We’ve had an amazing response to our launch of the project on ‘Emergent Agency in a Time of Covid‘, and are now processing all the contacts and info we’ve received. For those wanting examples of the kinds of experiences we are interested in, I’ll be posting some examples over the next few days. First up, […]

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How to Monitor and Evaluate an Adaptive Programme: 7 Takeaways

I generally try to avoid ‘inside baseball’ aid discussions that make sense mainly to practitioners, but this piece by Gloria Sikustahili, Julie Adkins, Japhet Makongo & Simon Milligan was so interesting and sensible, I made an exception. We’ve all been there. We’ve drowned in the weight of programme documentation; the need to capture everything, to […]

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The Hidden Life of Theories of Change

We’re getting down and aid-wonky for the next couple of days. First up, ToCs: I’ve gone through a personal hype cycle on Theories of Change – first getting excited and extolling their virtues, and then starting to have second thoughts as I saw them turn from a tool that encourages imagination and experimentation into a […]

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How to vlog – top examples and advice from some very tech savvy students

Final instalment from my amazing LSE students. Earlier posts ran some of their blogs, which were part of their assignment to write an influencing strategy on a topic of their choice. But I gave them the option of doing a video blog (vlog) instead, and several of them grabbed it, with some impressive results. Here […]

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Why are Illegal Drugs still a Cinderella Issue in Development? (Looking at you CGD!)

Why don’t more mainstream aid organizations work on the issue of illegal drugs like cannabis, coca or opium poppy? We’ve known for decades that the prevalent approach to these – prohibition – harms small-scale farmers that grow them, fuels violence, undermines the rule of law and contaminates politics (the UN estimates the illegal drugs trade […]

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How to reduce carbon emissions = 100 coal power stations with the world’s biggest nudge

In the latest instalment from my LSE activism students, Lachlan Hill took my course to help formulate the strategy for his Go25degrees campaign in Indonesia. This asks Air Con manufacturers – not governments – to take responsibility for their indirect emissions and make one simple change to their factory settings. One simple nudge to prevent […]

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In advocacy, which matters more – evidence or relationships? How has Covid changed the balance?

Sometimes I wish the earth was flat – then at least, we wouldn’t have time zones. Last week I blearily zoomed in for three 7am starts to discuss the strategy of the Myanmar-based Centre for Good Governance (full disclosure, I’m an adviser). Luckily, it was really interesting. CGG prides itself on its ability to adapt […]

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Launching a new Research and Action programme on ‘Emergent Agency in a Time of Covid’. Want to join us?

Mutual aid groups morphing into long term citizens’ organizations; women’s organizations forming to address the surge in domestic violence during lockdown; small producers switching to producing protective equipment for health and care workers. Across the world, people are responding to the pandemic at a local level by acting, organizing and learning. What kinds of patterns […]

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Why you should care about Sea Turtles

Next up from some of the best student posts from my LSE activism course is this piece by Mirna Medina-Silva Whenever I read about sea turtles, my mind hears “duuude!” … you know from Finding Nemo? Unfortunately, unlike Nemo, turtles may soon be lost forever to Nicaragua. In 2019, for the first time, you couldn’t […]

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Book Review: ‘Thinking and Working Politically in Development’

‘Thinking and Working Politically in Development’, by John Sidel and Jaime Faustino, is a new book on one of my favourite ‘Thinking and Working Politically’ programmes – Coalitions for Change (CfC) in the Philippines. It’s not the most user-friendly (no exec sum, no index), but at least it’s open access – download here. I’ve written […]

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London’s Toxic Tube and what to do about it

I thought I’d post some of the top blog posts from this year’s students in my LSE class on ‘Advocacy, Campaigning and Grassroots activism‘. Their individual assignment was to design a campaign strategy for a cause close to their hearts, and write a blog about it. Here’s Lucy Shearer presenting her campaign to clean up […]

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