Topic: NGOs

What distinguishes a nice technology from a nasty one?

Gave a short presentation to the Westminster Food and Nutrition Forum last week on the thorny topic of food security, innovation and safety. The speakers and audience were mainly on the science/policy interface, (a very different epistemic community from last week’s EU aid gabfest, but the powerpoints were just as bad). Most of the discussion […]

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What should Oxfam be doing on renewables? Your advice, please

Wisdom of crowds time. We’re doing some thinking on renewable energy and energy poverty (which affects about 1.5-2bn people), and thought we’d pick your brains. My colleague John Magrath has written this guest blog as an opener, and I’ll run a few posts on energy-related issues over the next few days. Over to John: As […]

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Top captions, winning wonkus, and a new and seriously embarrassing photo competition

It’s Friday, and in the interests of accountability, transparency, yadda yadda yadda it’s time to announce the winners of two previous competitions, and launch a third. First up, the winner of the photocaption competition is quite clearly Matt (see pic). But thanks also for “I never pictured Hugo Chavez and John Cleese hooking up” (Soren). […]

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Four big trends that advocacy NGOs need to watch

It’s obviously that strategic planning time of year again. Owen Barder recently posted his top tips for up and coming megatrends that should shape thinking in advocacy NGOs and last week I spent a self-indulgent morning doing my crystal ball thing with Traidcraft, an excellent UK NGO currently immersed in some long-term navel-gazing, (sorry I […]

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Me with the IMF at the Hanoi Hilton – please add photo caption

OK, the blog’s been pretty heavy going of late, so here’s some light relief, c/o the IMF, who have just sent me multiple copies of this pic from a conference back in March on the impact of the global economic crisis in low income countries (see my previous post, or the IMF page on the […]

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Why 21st Century Aid needs to be bigger AND better

The arguments on aid over the last few years seem to have fallen into three camps: 1. Aid is bad (Dambisa Moyo, Bill Easterly) 2. Aid is great (Jeff Sachs, various aid donors, and to some extent, Oxfam and other NGOs) 3. Hey, I’ve just had this great idea for making aid much better (CGD, […]

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Helping small farmers get a better deal in Colombia

I’m on a panel at the Harvard Kennedy School tomorrow, pulling together some of the lessons from on the ground success in development programming. I’ve already posted on some of the stories, but here’s an interesting one from Colombia, where small scale farmers find it hard to sell into urban areas at a decent price. […]

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Should emergency relief be used to build mosques and churches?

Should Oxfam’s emergency relief money be used to build mosques? That was the fascinating question that cropped up in a recent internal discussion on faith and development. And it’s not a purely academic one. In Aceh after the 2004 Boxing Day tsunami, Oxfam said no to one request.  But two years later, after the big Java […]

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The IMF pronounces on the Robin Hood Tax

Yesterday, I discussed the IMF’s fascinating new proposals for two international taxes on the financial sector  – a ‘financial stability contribution’ (FSC) and a ‘financial activities tax’ (FAT). But the leaked interim report to the G20 also discussed the financial transactions tax (FTT), better known as the Robin Hood Tax. What did it say? First […]

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What is the impact of aid on overall health spending?

Fungibility makes aid complicated. Where does the money go? The Lancet has put the cat among the aid pigeons with its recent piece on the arcane, but important issue of ‘aid fungibility’. This claims that for every $1 given in health aid, the recipient government shifts between 43 cents and $1.14 of their own spending […]

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How will the UK election change the development sector?

‘British elections’ and ‘exciting’ don’t usually make it into the same sentence, but the TV debates between the party leaders have changed all that. Tonight’s second debate will focus on foreign policy, so development may even get a mention. That would be good, because so far the media perception seems to be that so much […]

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Robin Hoodies and Robbing Oil Revenues: two fine new youtubes

Here’s the latest youtube treat from Richard Curtis for the Robin Hood Tax campaign (whose Facebook fan club just topped 150,000 people). OK, we oldies recognize Ben Kingsley, but test your yoof credentials by naming the rest of them…….. See here for more considered (if less enjoyable) posts on the subject.   Meanwhile Oxfam America’s animated short “Follow the Money” has […]

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