Topic: NGOs

$15bn is spent every year on training, with disappointing results. Why the aid industry needs to rethink ‘capacity building’.

The most read posts from 2017, in reverse order. Number 3 is a guest post from Lisa Denney of ODI. Check out the original if you want to read the comments. Every year a quarter of international aid – approximately US$15 billion globally – is spent on capacity development. That is, on sending technical assistants to work in ministries or civil […]

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

I’m on holiday for the first week of 2018, trying to see the Northern Lights in Norway. In the meantime, here are the most-read posts from 2017, in reverse order starting with number 5. Here’s the original if you want to read the comments Well you took a few hours to get started in response […]

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I want to convince you about the importance of universal healthcare – should I talk about numbers or people’s lives?

Tuesday was Universal Health Coverage Day. Anna Marriott, Oxfam’s Public Services Policy Manager reflects on the global campaign for decent healthcare If you operate outside of the global health bubble, you could be forgiven for not noticing that the 12th December was Universal Health Coverage day. A day that marks the anniversary of a 2012 […]

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How are INGOs Doing Development Differently? 5 of them have just taken a look.

Hats off to World Vision for pulling together some analysis on where large international NGOs (INGOs) have got to on ‘Doing Development Differently’ (see the 2014 manifesto if you’re not up to speed on DDD). Up to now, NGOs have been rather quiet in a discussion dominated by government aid agencies, academics and thinktanks. World […]

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After 6 years and 100+ impact evaluations: what have we learned?

Longer projects don’t generate better results; women’s economic empowerment doesn’t seem to shift power imbalances in the home. Just two intriguing findings from new ‘metanalyses’ of Oxfam’s work on the ground. Head of Programme Quality, impact evaluation champion and all-round ubergeek Claire Hutchings explains. On this blog in 2011 we first shared our approach to […]

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Why the disconnect between Aid and Buddhism in Myanmar?

Back from Myanmar today, and still processing an intense week of conversations. Here’s a first instalment. A week in, I was struck by the gulf between the aid bubble and the deep religiosity of people throughout the country. So I dashed off this vlog on a weekend visit to the spectacular Shwedagon Pagoda, in the […]

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How Data Analytics can Unlock the Knowledge in Development Organisations

Guest blog by Itai Mutemeri (@tyclimateguy) is Head of Analytics at London based Senca Research In September 2017, I headed up to the Oxfam head office in Oxford to present our research paper: Big Data Opportunities for Oxfam – Text Analytics. Like all good research titles, it’s a mouthful.  The paper explored the potential application […]

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Vote now for the best/worst charity ads of 2017

Every year, the ‘rusty radiator’ site runs a poll on the year’s best/worst aid agency ads. Let’s start with the good ones. My favourite has to be War Child’s batman video – very moving The others are a smart Save the Children US take on children and Christmas gifts, a very knowing Below the Line film […]

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Looking at Adaptive Management in Myanmar – a quick video

I’m in Myanmar for a few days, taking a look at Pyoe Pin, a fascinating project often held up as a good example of Adaptive Management. Blogs to follow, but here’s a video preview

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How Oxfam and Save changed US aid on local ownership: nice case study in influencing

I do love it when NGOs are taken by surprise in a good way – getting results in unexpected ways, rather than grinding through the plan. A neat example came up at Oxfam’s recent Evidence for Influencing conference. Here’s what happened. Oxfam America and Save the Children wanted to persuade USAID to do more on […]

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Winning Ugly and Learning from the Bad Guys: Discussing How Change Happens with the Greens

Had an HCH session with some extremely smart wonks at the Green Alliance last week. I gave my standard talk, focussing on a ‘Power and Systems Approach’. This argues that for activism to be more in line with messy, emergent realities, activists need to change their way of working to give greater weight to: Curiosity […]

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Kevin Watkins on the power of stigma and shame as a driver of change

Kevin Watkins, a fellow Prof in Practice at the LSE, came along to talk to my students last week (review by Masters student Haisley Wert here). Kevin is a bit of a research and campaigning legend in the aid biz – the brains behind a lot of epic Oxfam campaigns on trade and debt in […]

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