Topic: NGOs

How can media inspire accountability and political participation? Findings from massive BBC programme.

A recurring pattern: I get invited to join a conversation with a bunch of specialists on a particular issue (eg market systems). Cue panic and some quick skim-reading of background papers, driven by the familiar fear of finally being exposed as a total fraud (some of us spend all our lives waiting for the tap […]

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What does the rise of Digital Development mean for NGOs?

  Matt Haikin, an ICT for Development (ICT4D) practitioner, summarizes a new paper on digital development in East Africa reports, and the challenges for Oxfam and other international NGOs I’d been living in Nairobi for a couple of months, meeting all the interesting ‘tech for good’ types I could find (and there are a LOT […]

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How are different governments performing as global citizens? Time for a new index!

Apologies. I get given stuff at meetings, it goes into the reading pile, and often takes months to resurface. So I have just read (and liked) a Country Global Citizenship Report Card handed to me in New York in December. It’s put together by the Global Citizens Initiative, run by Ron Israel. Time to assuage […]

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Being bold: what Oxfam’s campaign on Yemen can teach us all about change

In recent years, one of the things that has made me really proud to work for Oxfam has been its stand on Yemen. Here, Maya Mailer (@mayamailer) distils the lessons from our campaign. How do you convince people to care about a place no one has heard of? When we first started our campaign on […]

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How Change Happens (or doesn’t) in the Humanitarian System

I’ve been in Stockholm this week at the invitation of ALNAP, the Active Learning Network for Accountability and Performance in Humanitarian Action, which has been holding its annual meeting on the banks of a frozen Swedish river. I was asked to comment on the background paper for the meeting, Changing Humanitarian Action?, by ALNAP’s Paul […]

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A philanthropist using systems thinking to build peace

Steve Killelea is an intriguing man, an Aussie software millionaire who, in the words of his bio ‘decided to dedicate most of his time and fortune to sustainable development and peace’.  Think a more weather-beaten Bill Gates. He also (full disclosure) bought me a very nice lunch last week. In pursuit of this aim he […]

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What determines whether/how an organization can learn? Interesting discussion at DFID.

I was invited along to DFID last week for a discussion on how organizations learn. There was an impressive turnout of senior civil serpents – the issue has clearly got their attention. Which is great because I came away with the impression that they (and Oxfam for that matter) have a long way to go […]

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Watching Oxfam morph into an interdependent networked system

While I’ve been ivory towering on the book for the last couple of years, Oxfam has been going through a wrenching internal reform (wait, don’t click – this gets interesting, honest!). Known as Oxfam 2020, 18 different Oxfam affiliates are slowly and painfully sorting out a single operating system and pushing power down to countries […]

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Handy NGO Guide to Social Network Analysis

Social Network Analysis has been cropping up a bit in my mental in-tray. First there was my Christmas reading – Social Physics, by Alex Pentland. Then came yesterday’s post from some networkers within Oxfam. So here are some additional thoughts, based on a great guide to SNA by the International Rescue Committee. Complexity and Systems Thinking […]

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What makes Networks tick? Learning from (a lot of) experience

  When are networks the right response to a development challenge (as opposed to a monumental talking shop – more hot air than action)? Oxfamers Andrew Wells-Dang, Stéphanie de Chassy, Benoit Trudel, Jan Bouwman and Jacky Repila discuss: Working with and as a part of networks is an inescapable part of today’s interconnected world – […]

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Local governance and resilience – what lasts after the project ends?

Jane Lonsdale reflects on the lessons from an ‘effectiveness review’ of a Myanmar project 18 months after it ended. For the nerds among you, an accompanying post on the nuts and bolts of the effectiveness review has just gone up on the ‘real geek’ blog We have just finished a review of Oxfam’s work in […]

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5 Straws to Clutch/Reasons to be Cheerful on US presidential inauguration day

Someone asked me to try and write something positive today, so here goes. As President Obama told his daughters, the only thing that’s the end of the world is the end of the world. This ain’t it. So (channelling Ian Dury), here are some reasons to be cheerful: The US is deeply federal: to a […]

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