Topic: NGOs

How to use research for influence on climate change and Arab meltdown; why aid donors are losing the plot; green growth v degrowth; Darth Vader on youtube: links I liked

The Washington-based Center for Global Development is great at spotting opportunities for influence, not least by dusting off and recycling previous work in response to events – a key, and often under-used, way of getting research into policy (academics are often too caught up with their next project, and NGOs with their next campaign, to […]

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Holiday destinations for development wonks – any advances on Zanzibar?

For the last two weeks, despite any appearance of activity on this blog, I have been on a blissful holiday in Zanzibar. There, I’ve said it – NGO wonks take holidays, sometimes quite nice ones. Feels as if I’m breaking some kind of taboo, like admitting that we get paid. And climate change just adds […]

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On Al Jazeera's sofa with David Frost and Carl Lewis

Working for an NGO can be pretty routine sometimes – meetings, papers, teleconferences. And then the press office phones up and asks ‘would you mind going on Al Jazeera to discuss the food price crisis with Sir David Frost and Carl Lewis?’ Hell yeah. For those of you who are too young to remember, Carl […]

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Positive deviance: spotting the hidden innovations in development work

I just learned some new jargon – always a heady sensation. Positive deviance. Rolls off the tongue, doesn’t it? And it describes something really interesting and, I suspect, quite important. A colleague at Oxfam America, Roanne Edwards, filled me in – she has been to Mali to look at OA’s massive Saving for Change (SfC) […]

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What does the future hold for civil society organization?

I’ve been struggling to make sense of the changing landscape for civil society organizations, North and South, and could do with your help. Here are some initial thoughts, but please send in your own, plus useful references: One door opens, another shuts There are contradictory and ambiguous trends for civil society at national and global […]

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Are Grey Panthers the next big thing in campaigning?

It’s probably a sign of my advancing years, but I’ve been wondering whether NGOs are missing a trick by endlessly targeting young people to become their activists. Sure, they’re the leaders of tomorrow, but what about us wrinklies? This all came to a head when I went out for a beer with a friend of […]

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What does the end of North-South mean for the development sector?

I spoke last night at an event in the House of Commons. It was held at Portcullis House, an architectural monstrosity next to Big Ben which despite its name is a new bit, so no-one’s been executed there. Yet. The subject was a BS (blue skies) session on ‘Beyond the MDG Summit: What next for […]

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How to write the recommendations to a report on almost anything: introducing Friday Formulae

I really enjoyed (if that’s the right word…) the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment, but when it got to its recommendations, it struck me as incredibly formulaic. In that respect, it resembled an awful lot of the stuff I read (and, I fear, write) from thinktanks, international organizations and NGOs – fascinating diagnosis; shame about the cure. […]

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An evening with Bill and Melinda Gates and the decade of vaccines: is this the future of aid?

On Monday night I joined the besuited masses of the UK development scene to sit at the feet (OK, in a crammed 400 seat lecture theatre) of Bill and Melinda Gates as they promoted the ONE campaign’s ‘Living Proof’ project on effective aid. It was great to hear an optimistic message on aid and development […]

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What does ageing mean for development? Guest blog from someone who knows

Last week I blogged on the rapid pace of global ageing (even though I’ve just noticed that I can’t spell ‘ageing’), and asked for suggestions on what it might mean for development policy. Mark Gorman, HelpAge International’s Director of Strategic Development, obliges with this guest blog. “So what does ageing mean for development? Will low and middle income […]

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Is the aid industry's audit culture becoming a threat to accountability?

I’m a big fan of Rosalind Eyben, of IDS, so got her permission to cut and paste her note of a meeting she organized recently while I was wandering around Ethiopia. It brought together some 70 development practitioners and researchers worried about the current trend for funding organisations to support only those programmes designed to […]

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Is Obesity a Development Issue?

At a recent meeting of Oxfam’s country directors, I asked if they thought Oxfam should treat obesity as a development issue, just another form of ‘mal-nutrition’. The reaction was pretty negative. Innocent Nkata, from South Africa (left), summed it up by saying that whereas hunger was an issue of rights, obesity is a ‘question of […]

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