Topic: NGOs

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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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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