Topic: NGOs

Are aid cuts inevitable and if so, what should aid campaigners do about it?

While I was snowed in in a holiday cottage last week (quite fun actually, especially when you’ve packed your West Wing box set just in case), the 2011 OECD aid numbers came out (see table). The numbers show total aid falling in real terms for the first time since 1997. What was also striking was […]

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If change requires both cooperation and conflict, can we really do both?

I’ve been thinking about my recent trip to Honduras, how change happens, and the discussions there (and with some other country teams since then) about what I am calling the ‘cooperation-conflict cycle’ (see pic). The default mode in Oxfam and most large NGOs is generally uncomfortable with conflict, but research by John Gaventa and others […]

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Forget microcredit: microsavings work much better

Update: Jeff Ashe responds in the comments section to some excellent comments from readers Microcredit has been getting a bad press recently – criticised for eye-watering interest rates, high indebtedness levels, and excessive hype in terms of its development impact. Oxfam America reckons it has a much better alternative – helping poor people to save first […]

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NGOs and blogging on development: Why do we find it so hard?

I went to a fascinating ‘bloggers breakfast’ in Washington last week, hosted by Lawrence MacDonald of CGD and Oxfam’s Paul O’Brien. A bunch of development bloggers from the Center for Global Development, Oxfam America and a few others chewed over a mixture of blogging dilemmas and CGD’s muffins and fruit. V pleasant way to start […]

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Robin Hood Tax update: more campaign success on the Financial Transactions Tax

The RHT campaign continues to show the remarkable ‘how change happens’ potential of a response to shocks (in this case, financial crash + austerity = governments desperate for new sources of revenue + impending collapse of aid flows from many donors + massive public antipathy towards the banking sector = perfect time to campaign for […]

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Is blood and sacrifice enough? The Honduran peasant movement's model of change

[This post is published in Spanish on the 3500 milliones blog] I spent three days last week trying to understand the peasant (campesino) movement in Honduras. It was the perfect field trip in many ways, split between a flying visit to the Bajo Aguan region up on the lush Northern coast, site of the most […]

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What can NGOs do in a political downturn? Ideas from Central America

I spent last week in Central America, where in the 1980s, I got my political education in South and particularly Central America, hopping as a journo and writer between revolutionary Sandinistas in Nicaragua and guerrilla fighters in El Salvador.  So this week’s posts will mainly be a download and reflection on that visit. First, I […]

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Campaigners can still learn from the Abolition of Slavery: guest post by Max Lawson

Max Lawson, Oxfam’s head of advocacy, reflects on what today’s campaigners on the Robin Hood Tax (or pretty much anything else) can learn from the anti-slavery movement A global industry, dominated by the UK, providing a third of our GDP. An industry that purchases politicians, and is deeply rooted in the establishment. An industry, formerly revered, […]

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What have we learned from trying to help poor farmers use markets better?

After some pretty rarified policy wonkery on agriculture and development last week, Erinch Sahan, an Oxfam private sector adviser, summarizes what we have learned from our work in the field  (for once, the right expression). And no, there doesn’t appear to be much obvious overlap with the topics covered in the earlier posts, but I […]

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How can we get better results from working with consultants?

OK this is a bit internal, but I thought it was interesting. We had a great 3 day session in Oxford last week with our rapidly expanding Global Research Team (see right – the prominent fella in the front is Martin Walsh, who’s our Global Research Adviser and your best point of contact if you […]

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The only interesting question on Kony 2012 – why did it get 60 million hits?

Like everyone else, I watched it, albeit skimming, and was fascinated and appalled. Fascinated (and yes, envious) at the skill of the storytelling. Appalled by just about everything else – the use of his son, the cheesy self righteousness of the tone, the depiction of Africa, the profound ignorance and lack of interest in why […]

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International Women's Day – what to celebrate, what to condemn?

It’s international women’s day today and the media and blogosphere are bouncing with ‘glass half full’ and ‘glass half empty’ discussions of the state of women’s rights. So let’s look at both halves of the glass (for a more pop version, this Independent on Sunday curtain-raiser is hard to beat, and I loved my friend Claire Melamed’s […]

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