Topic: NGOs

What can we learn from eight successful campaigns on budget transparency and accountability?

Over the last couple of years, the International Budget Partnership has published a set of fascinating case studies of campaigns on issues of government accountability, budget transparency and access to information. I finally sat down and read them all recently (the summer lull is a wonderful thing). What conclusions do they draw (see end of […]

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What can aid agencies learn from McDonalds?

This is a guest post by Kate Wareing (right), Strategy Development Director for Oxfam and a partner at the ICSF Too many of the people reading this blog will have experienced the familiar trajectory of a development project: prove the need, find the funding, define your outputs, deliver against your targets and either find more […]

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Global Humanitarian Assistance 2012 – what are the emerging trends?

Ed Cairns (right), Oxfam’s senior policy adviser on humanitarian advocacy, reviews the new 2012 Global Humanitarian Assistance (GHA) report, released yesterday  Like all landmark reports, the GHA’s greatest value is not really in what it says about the year under review. It’s what it reveals about the longer-term trends facing the humanitarian world. This is […]

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How can INGOs improve their work in fragile and conflict states?

There’s nothing like the impending threat of giving a talk to make you mug up on an issue, usually the morning before. Today’s exercise in skating on thin ice (the secret? Keep moving. Fast as possible) was a recent talk to some Indiana University students studying the developmental role of the state while enjoying our […]

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Is there a global crackdown on civil society organization and if so, how should we respond?

I’ve got a nasty feeling that we could be heading towards a strategic train wreck on the role of civil society in development. Let me explain. Increasingly (and not just among NGOs), development is understood in terms of politics, power, and struggles to redistribute the latter. That has produced a shift in resources towards advocacy […]

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Family Planning Summit: dilemmas of UK exceptionalism, private v public and population control

Are we now in a period of global British exceptionalism in aid and development, and if so, what are the implications for the work of British-based NGOs and their allies? That question has been niggling away at me during the run-up to the big UK government + Gates Foundation ‘Family Planning Summit’ tomorrow. Why exceptionalism? […]

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How can an NGO campaign against rape in armed conflict? An inspiring case study from Colombia

I recently ran a fascinating workshop with colleagues at Intermón Oxfam (Oxfam’s Spanish affiliate) at which the different country programmes brought examples of change processes at work. One that particularly struck me was about our work in Colombia on sexual violence and conflict. Here’s the write up, jointly authored with Intermon’s Alejandro Matos. The campaign […]

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Where are development’s venture capitalists?

Where are development’s venture capitalists? Research increasingly shows that on everything from how to stimulate economic growth to how to improve the quality of public services, there are multiple pathways to success. What’s more, what works in one place and time may fail in another. Rather than a search for a non-existent universal ‘best practice’, […]

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What difference does accountability make? Six real life examples from Tanzania (and a great job opportunity)

One of my favourite Oxfam projects is Chukua Hatua (CH) in Tanzania, which is using an evolutionary/venture capitalist theory of change to promote accountability in a couple of regions of the country. CH is now looking for a new coordinator, because the wonderful Jane Lonsdale is moving on – if you fancy taking over, check […]

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Who reads this blog and what do they think of it? Results of reader survey

The indefatigable Sian Jones has crunched the numbers on the impressive 352 responses to last month’s readers’ survey, so I now have a much clearer picture of who reads this blog (or at least that subset of them able and willing to reply to annoying online questionnaires). Here’s the results (and Sian’s powerpoint summary): First […]

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How should our influencing strategy vary with the kind of state we're working in?

Despite the deeply unimpressive response to my last attempt (on top killer facts – not too late to chip in), I’m willing to give you another chance to provide us with unpaid consultancy crowdsource some useful ideas. This time it is helping us think through how an INGO’s influencing strategy at national level (whether through advocacy, […]

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When does accountability work have an impact? The importance of Implementation Gaps

I’ve been reading the set of papers Oxfam recently published on local governance and community action (see previous blog) and was struck by how central the issue of ‘implementation gaps’ is in our work. An implementation gap arises when a set of institutions (often via decentralization), policies or budgets (or all three) exists on paper that should […]

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