Topic: NGOs

Whither Large International Non-Governmental Organisations? Smart new paper.

I’m glad to see Penny Lawrence, an Oxfam big cheese for 12 years before she resigned so publicly last February, has been busy reflecting and talking to other leaders (and me) about how large lumbering INGOs need to change. She has put together a useful paper on the topic (a source of endless fascination to INGOs, […]

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Which Devspeak horror words topped the poll + some v interesting comment threads

It was only intended as a bit of Friday fun, but last week’s post on which devspeak words you would most like to ban generated such interesting comments that it warrants a follow up. First up, the people have spoken. After 500 votes, ‘beneficiaries’ and ‘the field’ are the clear joint winners in the hall […]

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Which awful Devspeak words would you most like to ban? Your chance to vote on the Terrible Ten

Ann Huddock of Counterpart got in touch recently to discuss the idea of a post on how much she hates the word ‘empowerment’ (she’s banned it in Counterpart comms). In the end, we decided that the word had already got enough criticism, but I put out a tweet asking people to nominate other devspeak words […]

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Peace has a PR Problem: How would you fix it?

Today is the UN International Day of Peace. You probably won’t have heard of it. Harriet Lamb, CEO of International Alert, explains why that matters. Our dictionaries mirror what’s happening in society. And the words we use shape how we see events and how we act. So it’s a sad reflection that dictionaries are full of […]

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Are fuel riots the food riots of the 21st century?

Ploughing through the papers for this week’s big IDS conference of the ‘Action for Accountability and Empowerment’ research consortium (of which Oxfam is a member), a new IDS paper on energy protests jumped out at me. Here’s the brilliant Naomi Hossain summarizing it in an IDS blog: ‘Modern life depends on fuel, even while tackling climate […]

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Here’s what we know about closing civic space – what other research would you suggest?

I head off to the Institute of Development Studies today to take stock on our joint ‘Action for Empowerment and Accountability’ research programme. One of the main discussions will be on a research agenda on ‘closing civic space’, so this blog sets out what we know of the research to date, and asks you for […]

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Someone just called their new book How Change Happens – here’s my totally impartial review

Finding out that someone’s called their new book ‘How Change Happens’, and that it’s about social movements, is disturbing – a bit like finding out that someone who looks just like you has assumed your identity and is chatting to your mates. But the new book by Leslie R Crutchfield ‘How Change Happens: Why some […]

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How can Civil Society respond to government crackdowns around the world? New Oxfam paper (and hello to Oxfam GB’s new boss)

Oxfam GB announced yesterday that Danny Sriskandarajah (right) will be its new boss. V exciting, and not just because he’s a mate. He comes to us from Civicus, the global alliance of civil society organizations. Here he is writing on this blog last year on the role of INGOs, if any, in defending civil society space. […]

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Nostalgia, fragility, age and management consultants: 4 Scandinavian conversations

A couple of weeks ago, I spent a day in Sigtuna, a lovely lakeside town just outside Stockholm, doing my usual blue sky/future of aid thing with big cheeses from the 5 Scandinavian protestant church agencies of the ACT Alliance. The ensuing conversations were full of lightbulb moments, including these four: Nostalgia as a political […]

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Tanzania is about to outlaw fact checking: here’s why that’s a problem

Guest post from Aidan Eyakuze, Twaweza’s Executive Director Experts say it took just four minutes from beginning to end. First, some sensors failed. Then the pilots lost control of the plane, it stalled, went into freefall and smashed onto the surface of the Atlantic Ocean at a force 35 times greater than that of normal […]

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What matters more in a disaster response – evidence or judgement? Lessons from the Nepal earthquake  

This guest post from Ajoy Datta was first published on the On Think Tanks blog. Ajoy also works for OTT Imagine you’re a mid-level policymaker in a government agency or a manager in an NGO. A major incident has just occurred. You have to drop everything you’re doing and shift all your attention into understanding […]

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Make Change Happen: a new online Oxfam course for activists. Please check it out.

MOOCs, for those of you who still don’t recognize the acronym (tsk), are Massive Open Online Courses. Oxfam’s getting into the MOOC business with ‘Make Change Happen’ – a training course for activists. You can register any time, and the course starts 15th October. I’ve contributed my usual spiel on power and systems, and will […]

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