What did I learn from Wednesday’s arguments over aid, academia and ‘the literature’?

As they say on twitter, Mind. Blown. Wednesday’s rant about way aid and academia generated a fantastic discussion. Including some great putdowns. My favourite, which made me laugh out loud, came from Ryan Briggs: ‘Just to be clear, you’re arguing that academics are insular and generalize too much from shoddy evidence, and the evidence for…

By Duncan Green November 9, 2018 9

What is civil society for? Reflection from one of Tanzania’s leading CSO thinkers

A recent civil society and government jamboree in Tanzania prompted some interesting reflections from Aidan Eyakuze, Executive Director of Twaweza. Who needs civil society organizations (CSOs)? If government does its job well, responding to citizens’ needs, delivering good quality services, safe communities and a booming economy, then what is the purpose of the diverse range of…

By Duncan Green November 1, 2018 3

Who wants to be a Volunteer? Book Review

An estimated 10 million people will head from North to South this year as volunteers, seeking a mix of adventure, altruism and self improvement. Volunteering is big (a $2bn industry), but is it beautiful? Learning Service: The Essential Guide to Volunteering Abroad, a 350 page tome aimed at informing and guiding would-be volunteers, left me…

By Duncan Green October 31, 2018 20

One of my favourite stories of change: how an indigenous group won the rights to 1m hectares of land – and a new interview with an NGO person who supported them at the time

If you repeat the same story often enough, at some point you start to wonder if you’ve really just made it up, or at least embellished it beyond recognition. One such story, which I often tell at the start of a How Change Happens presentation, is about the Chiquitano Indians of Bolivia and their successful…

By Duncan Green October 26, 2018 2

11 Tips for Better Blogging

I’ve run several blogging workshops in recent weeks, with seasoned campaigners at Global Witness, Oxfam Novib’s youth wing, and academic bloggers at the Institute for Social Studies in The Hague. All three sessions followed a similar format, developed for a Unicef session I ran last year – a half hour intro from me, and then…

By Duncan Green October 24, 2018 4

How Aid has helped Pakistan’s Women’s Movement achieve Political Breakthroughs

Guest post from Ayesha Khan of the Collective for Social Science Research in Karachi Do aid dollars help or hinder the women’s movement? In Pakistan, there are advocates of both points of view. I believe that my recent research as part of the Action for Empowerment and Accountability (A4EA) programme has gathered enough evidence to…

By Duncan Green October 16, 2018 4