Topic: NGOs

Education: an Ethiopian Success Story

By 7.30 a.m, the roadsides in rural Ethiopia are thronged with hundreds of kids rushing, exercise books in hand, to school. Conversations with farmers are dotted with references to the importance of education. Are they just saying what they think their NGO visitors want to hear? Not according to a new report from the Overseas Development […]

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How can Ethiopia’s coffee farmers get more from your $3 latte?

According to legend Kaldi (left), a 9th Century Ethiopian goatherd, discovered coffee when he saw his flock start leaping around after nibbling the bright red berries of a certain bush. He gave them a try, and the ensuing buzz prompted him to bring the berries to an Islamic holy man in a nearby monastery. The holy […]

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How butter leads to women’s emancipation: a self help group in Ethiopia

In societies where women are traditionally confined to the home and denied any voice, how can NGOs help bring them together? Ethiopia week on the blog continues with a visit to a women’s group supported by an Oxfam partner, Rift Valley Children and Women Development. On the way, Hussen Delecha, an ex-Save the Children staffer […]

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Ethiopia is Beautiful

And I’ve just got back from a fantastic five day field trip there, so I’m going to subject you to a week of posts on it. I go on two kinds of trips for Oxfam – laptop and notebook. Laptop trips are usually to conferences, with powerpoint, wifi, memory sticks, email and all the paraphernalia […]

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How has campaigning changed since slavery was abolished?

Recently I discussed ‘public action and influencing change’ with a small group of NGO types at an aid conference in Edinburgh. We started off by reviewing the factors behind the victory of the abolitionists back in the early 19th Century, and what had changed (or stayed the same) since then. Same: many of the tactics […]

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How Change Happens: Campaigning on Early Marriage in Yemen

Here’s another interesting example of how to do advocacy where you might not expect it, in this case on women’s rights in Islamic contexts. If you are born a woman in Yemen you have a 50% chance of living in absolute poverty, a 70% chance of being illiterate and an 80% chance of never holding […]

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How Change Happens: Improving the Education system in Niger

I’m always keen to pick up and explore examples of ‘how change happens’ in different situations (feel free to send suggestions). Here’s one from a conversation with Oxfam’s country director in Niger, Mbacke Niang, As one might expect in one of the world’s poorest countries, Niger has a dysfunctional, poorly managed and inaccessible primary education […]

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Last post from Manchester: social protection and how do we get to grips with politics and power?

More thoughts (increasingly incoherent as workshop fatigue sets in) from the Manchester conference. What are the big changes in thinking from ten years of research on chronic poverty in dozens of countries? First, social protection, which has mushroomed from fringe issue to magic bullet with extraordinary speed. If the SP advocates really have won the […]

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The Climate Campaign v Make Poverty History

Over on the Political Climate blog, Andrew Pendleton has been musing on the difference between the 2005 ‘make poverty history’ and ‘stop climate chaos’ campaigns. In his view the climate campaigners have failed to break out of the ‘green wedge’ of environmentalists, whereas MPH went mainstream. His explanation for the differences? MPH used one simple […]

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Hedge Funds for Development? An evening with Ark

I spoke earlier this week at an annual retreat of a very different kind of charity – ARK. Set up by a bunch of hedge fund managers (it prefers the term ‘alternative investment industry’) in 2002, ARK raises a pile of money from glitzy gala dinners (see pic), and uses it to do what it […]

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Channel 16: a new crowdsourcing initiative on disasters and conflict

This is exciting – a new crowdsourcing initiative on humanitarian emergencies that combines wikipedia, youtube and Ushahidi to dig deeper, be more user-generated and more linked to taking action than standard media coverage. It’s called Channel 16, and here’s the blurb: “Named after the broadcast frequency of an international distress signal, Channel 16 creates a […]

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Locked latrines, meat offsetting and development apps

I just spent an enthralling couple of days at a get together of Oxfam GB’s country directors (CDs). A combination of group discussions and speed-dating as I talked to as many as possible of the incredibly impressive people who are on Oxfam’s frontline, lobbying ministers and officials, consulting poor communities and doing (lots of) management stuff. […]

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