NGOs

Complexity v Simplicity: the challenge for Campaigners and Reformers

Duncan Green - September 14, 2017

Had a few thought-provoking conversations on this last week. I increasingly see most problems (social, political, economic) as complex, i.e. arising from multiple causes in interconnected systems, often highly dependent on the specific context and history of any given place/population. My campaigner friends generally hate such talk, because their gut feeling is that it makes taking action to change the world much more difficult. We …

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Book Review: How to Resist: Turn Protest to Power, by Matthew Bolton

Duncan Green - September 5, 2017

Full disclosure: Matt Bolton works for Citizens UK, an organization of which I am a big fan, and who my son works for, but if you’re OK with that level of bias, read on. Citizens UK is a fascinating community organization, with a reputation far beyond its relatively small size (currently about 30 full time staff). For a fuller description see its Wikipedia entry.Here’s my …

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Looks like the NGOs are stepping up on ‘Doing Development Differently’. Good.

Duncan Green - August 4, 2017

For several years I’ve been filling the ‘token NGO’ slot at a series of meetings about ‘doing development differently’ (DDD) and/or ‘thinking and working politically’ – networks largely dominated by official aid donors, academics, thinktanks and management consultants (good overview of all the different initiatives here). Periodically, a range of NGOs appear on the scene, and according to ODI and Care are doing plenty on …

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Where do South Africa’s activists go from here? A Cape Town conversation

Duncan Green - August 1, 2017

My last morning in Cape Town last week was spent deep in discussion with three fine organizations – two local, one global. The global one was the International Budget Partnership, who I’ve blogged about quite a lot recently. The local ones were very different and both brilliant: the Social Justice Coalition and the Development Action Group. SJC favours a largely outside track, famously organizing local …

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Aidspeak: some of your best/worst responses to my call for examples

Duncan Green - July 28, 2017

Well you took a few hours to get started in response to Tuesday’s post, but then the floodgates opened and an avalanche of bullshit crashed over me via blog comments and tweets (and yes, mixed metaphors were discussed). Cheers guys. Within the aid business, a few patterns appear: Management obfuscation which sheds almost no light on what is actually being discussed This from ‘NGO worker …

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What do you do, when you don’t know what to do? Careers advice for the confused.

Duncan Green - July 27, 2017

A colleague was recently waxing eloquent about George Monbiot’s advice to aspiring journalists (he gets so many enquiries that he’s written it up). It’s nicely written, as you’d expect, and basically urges young would-be Georges to follow their stars rather than money or security. Don’t go and do something you hate (eg write press releases for some pointless PR firm or fluff pieces for a …

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Research into Use: how can Climate Change Researchers have more Impact?

Duncan Green - July 26, 2017

Following on the recent kerfuffle about ‘research impact’ (see original and follow up posts), I spent some time chatting to climate researchers in Cape Town about ‘research into use’ (RiU, basically the same thing). The researchers are part of ASSAR, a consortium (of which Oxfam is a member) working across Africa and India with a big focus (30% of its project weighting) on RiU. Feel …

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The Unvarnished Project Cycle

Duncan Green - July 21, 2017

This is genius from Lisa McNally – feel free to suggest further improvements                     And I guess this is the exec sum, although it’s actually a very optimistic version, in that ‘what happened’ ends up roughly in the same place as the planned version, in the top right quadrant (there’s three others available…..) Anyway, they’re both brilliant. …

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Can a new Index measure whether governments are serious about reducing inequality?

Duncan Green - July 18, 2017

Oxfam’s inequality ubergeek, Deborah Hardoon, needs your help with an ambitious new index As a researcher working on inequality, there are plenty of data and statistics for me to analyse, model and generate ‘killer stats’ from. Of course, there are many data gaps, plus lots of debate on which measures are the best to use (hint, not the one proposed for SDG10). But for the …

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