Topic: NGOs

Strikes, Spookytown, and a traumatic exit from feudalism: Women on Farms in South Africa

Managed to squeeze at least one day away from offices and lecture theatres in South Africa last week. In this case a road trip with Women on Farms, an Oxfam partner led by the charismatic Colette Solomon (right), IDS PhD turned grassroots activist. In the Western Cape, scenic is an understatement: lush vineyards festooned with […]

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Brazil v South Africa: what can the BRICS tell us about overcoming inequality?

The blog’s inequality week here in South Africa continues with some thoughts on inequality and the BRICS. An edited version of this post appeared earlier this week on the FT’s Beyond BRICS blog The acronym may have been cooked up in far-off New York, but the BRICS grouping of countries is starting to generate some […]

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How to build local government accountability in South Africa? A conversation with partners

This is what a good day visiting an Oxfam programme looks like. I skim the interwebs (and this blog) to put together some thoughts on a given issue from our experience or what others are writing (‘the literature’). Then sit down with local Oxfamistas and partner organizations (who are usually closer to the grassroots than […]

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What if we allocated aid $ based on how much damage something does, and whether we know how to fix it?

I usually criticize development wonks who come up with yet another ‘if I ruled the world’ plan for reforming everything without thinking through the issues of politics, power and incentives that will determine which (if any) of their grand schemes gets adopted. But it’s been a hard week, and today I’m taking time out from […]

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Attack? Equivocate? Engage? How Big Food responds to a tough new campaign

Chris Jochnick, director of Oxfam America’s Private Sector Department (twitter: @cjochnick), reflects on the different corporate responses to our ‘Behind the Brands’ campaign launch Companies have had decades to hone their engagement strategies with activists, but still struggle to find the right approach.  Initial reactions to Oxfam’s Behind the Brand campaign offer an interesting case in […]

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What I’m up to – podcasts, videos, speaking in UK, South Africa, US

We interrupt this blog for a brief commercial….. Been doing a lot of multimedia ranting recently, and have FP2P promo tours coming up in South Africa and the US, as well as UK. Here’s what I know is out there. First up, I was subjected to a viva-like experience by Owen Barder, being grilled for […]

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Are you a Progressive? If so, what’s your footprint?

I get irritated sometimes when a nameless Oxfam colleague (and no, there aren’t any prizes for guessing) asks ‘yes, but are you/they left wing?’, to which I of course, respond ‘depends what you mean by ‘left wing’’ (I think he finds me pretty annoying too). So in an effort to improve on this rather un-nuanced […]

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Beyond Horsegate: comparing the supply chains of the big 10 food companies

Erinch Sahan (right), a private sector policy advisor at Oxfam GB, introduces Behind the Brands, a big new report and company scorecard, launched today. So we didn’t know we were eating horses. What else don’t we know about the supply chains delivering our food? 18 months ago, Oxfam posed this question to the Big 10: […]

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So What do I take Away from The Great Evidence Debate? Final thoughts (for now)

The trouble with hosting a massive argument, as this blog recently did on the results agenda (the most-read debate ever on this blog) is that I then have to make sense of it all, if only for my own peace of mind. So I’ve spent a happy few hours digesting 10 pages of original posts and […]

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Theory’s fine, but what about practice? Oxfam’s MEL chief on the evidence agenda

Two Oxfam responses to the evidence debate. First Jennie Richmond, (right) our results czarina (aka Head of Programme Performance and Accountability) wonders what it all means in for the daily grind of NGO MEL (monitoring, evaluation and learning). Tomorrow I attempt to wrap up. The results wonkwar of last week was compelling intellectual ping-pong. The […]

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Why do some (better) alternatives to GDP get picked up, while others sink without trace? Useful new study on political economy of indicators.

Took me a while to overcome my reluctance to read a document subtitled ‘Deliverable 1.1’ on the front page (yuk), but I’m glad I did so. The paper ‘Review report on Beyond GDP indicators: categorisation, intentions and impacts’ (cracking title too…..) is published by BRAINPOoL – ‘Bringing Alternative Indicators into Policy’ (is that the sound […]

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‘Technology Justice’ – what does it mean for how NGOs think about new and old tech in development? And would you like a job working on it?

I had an interesting exchange with Practical Action’s policy director, Astrid Walker Bourne (right) recently, about one of my (many) hobby horses – technology and its absence from the NGO agenda. Practical Action is trying to fill the gap with a work programme on ‘technology justice’, but a failed recruitment has got her thinking about […]

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