Topic: NGOs

Science Girl; Starbucks and tax; NYC carbon; adaptation in America: videos I liked

Some Friday video light relief (well, light-ish) on climate change (with an eye on dismal dialogues in Doha) and tax evasion. First the totally adorable Science Girl on climate change, clean energy + a surprise upside – wildfires melt Barbie & Ken before your very eyes Next up, a sweet and funny Starbucks tax sting – […]

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Robert Chambers on the Fifth Power (the power to empower)

Some thoughts from Robert Chambers, from whose wonderful new book I recently posted several excerpts. People tease me for being pentaphiliac.  They notice that I love fives of a thing.  Well, it’s true.  If there are six, I boil them down to five.  If there are only four I rack my brains to find a fifth.   […]

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Lant Pritchett v the Randomistas on the nature of evidence – is a wonkwar brewing?

Last week I had a lot conversations about evidence. First, one of the periodic retreats of Oxfam senior managers reviewed our work on livelihoods, humanitarian partnership and gender rights. The talk combined some quantitative work (for example the findings of our new ‘effectiveness reviews’), case studies, and the accumulated wisdom of our big cheeses. But […]

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Commodities of War: What the people without guns say about life, death and fear in the DR Congo

I was supposed to be in the Democratic Republic of Congo this week, with today being devoted to visiting the Kanyaruchina camp (right) for ‘internally displaced people’ (IDPs) near Goma. Instead, the trip’s been cancelled, I am still in London and Kanyaruchina has been abandoned, as some 30,000 people have fled (again). The reason is the […]

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Remember when Oxfam took on Winston Churchill, apartheid, the Labour government, Big Pharma and the pesticides industry?

As Oxfam celebrates its 70th anniversary, head of advocacy Max Lawson discovers its radical roots, and urges it not to lose its edge January 1942. The second World War was at its height.  The Axis Powers had occupied almost all of Europe. In Greece, people were dying of starvation at a rate of 2000 a […]

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India’s Middle Class debate continued: should NGOs be looking in the mirror? Guest post from Bipasha Majumder

On my recent trip to India, I discovered some talented bloggers – here’s Bipasha Majumder, Oxfam India’s Communications Officer in Mumbai, writing in a purely personal capacity on the Great Middle Class Debate. She also writes a personal blog. I have had discussions and I have had heated discussions.  Sometimes I have just let the […]

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India’s new middle classes – friends of progress or apolitical mall-rats?

One of the topics that kept coming up during my recent trip with Oxfam India was the role of the rising middle classes. We had a great debate with Aseem Prakash from Jindal University, who is in the middle of a paper on this (I’ll link when it’s published). According to Aseem, different definitions yield numbers […]

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What have we learned from 5 years of research on African power and politics?

The Africa Power and Politics Programme (APPP) is winding down as its five year funding from DFID comes to an end, and I’ve been wading through the 120 page synthesis report as well as the strictly-for-wimps Policy Brief. Both are entitled ‘Development as a collective action problem: Addressing the real challenges of African governance’. Like […]

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India’s fight for the right to education

Still processing my recent visit to see Oxfam India’s work – posts continue next week with the great debate on India’s middle classes. Education is fine example of the strengths and weaknesses of judicial activism in India. The Right to Education (RTE) Act was passed in 2009, arising out of constitutional amendment in 1999 that redefined […]

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What would a global campaign on production and industrial policy look like?

Regular readers will know that I am a big fan (as well as friend) of Cambridge economist Ha-Joon Chang (right), whose most recentbook,23 Things They Don’t Tell You About Capitalism should be at the top of any policy wonk’s reading list. Last Saturday, he gave a brilliant keynote at the annual conference of the UK Development […]

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‘Bricifying’ international NGOs is hard work: the challenges facing Oxfam India

I spent last week trying to understand an intriguing experiment. About five years ago, Oxfam GB’s ‘white men in shorts’ left India, alongwith all the other Oxfam affiliates, and a new, completely Indian-run Oxfam India took over. All part of ‘Bricification’ within the Oxfam family (there’s an Oxfam Brazil in the pipeline too). So what’s […]

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From superstorm Sandy to climate solidarity: How extreme weather can unlock climate action

From a battered New York, Oxfam climate change policy adviser Tim Gore (right) considers the wider impact of major ‘weather events’ on the climate change debate I live in New York, half a block outside Evacuation Zone A on the East side of Manhattan. My partner and I, like many others, had our quick-run bags […]

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