Conflict and Security

Being bold: what Oxfam’s campaign on Yemen can teach us all about change

Duncan Green - February 21, 2017

In recent years, one of the things that has made me really proud to work for Oxfam has been its stand on Yemen. Here, Maya Mailer (@mayamailer) distils the lessons from our campaign. How do you convince people to care about a place no one has heard of? When we first started our campaign on Yemen almost two years ago, it wasn’t simply a ‘forgotten …

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How Change Happens (or doesn’t) in the Humanitarian System

Duncan Green - February 15, 2017

I’ve been in Stockholm this week at the invitation of ALNAP, the Active Learning Network for Accountability and Performance in Humanitarian Action, which has been holding its annual meeting on the banks of a frozen Swedish river. I was asked to comment on the background paper for the meeting, Changing Humanitarian Action?, by ALNAP’s Paul Knox-Clarke.  I read the paper on the flight over (great …

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What does ‘Security’ mean? Great (and well-written) paper from IDS

Duncan Green - February 14, 2017

I have been known in the past to be a little snippy about the writing style of esteemed colleagues from the Institute of Development Studies. So in the interests of balance, I want to celebrate a beautifully written, lyrical paper by IDS’ Robin Luckham. Whose Security? Building Inclusive and Secure Societies in an Unequal and Insecure World (OK, they could have worked on the title) …

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A philanthropist using systems thinking to build peace

Duncan Green - February 10, 2017

Steve Killelea is an intriguing man, an Aussie software millionaire who, in the words of his bio ‘decided to dedicate most of his time and fortune to sustainable development and peace’.  Think a more weather-beaten Bill Gates. He also (full disclosure) bought me a very nice lunch last week. In pursuit of this aim he set up the Institute for Economics and Peace in 2007. …

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Why is Africa’s Civil Society under Siege?

Duncan Green - December 15, 2016

Oxfam’s Ross Clarke (Governance and Legal Adviser ) and Desire Assogbavi (Resident Representative & Head of Office, Oxfam International Liaison Office to the African Union) introduce a new analysis of the threats to African civil society After years on the margins of the mainstream development agenda, addressing civic space is finally getting the attention it deserves. If the number of policy initiatives, conferences and campaigns …

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Fragility v Conflict – can you help with a new 2×2 please?

Duncan Green - November 16, 2016

Struggling towards the finishing line on my paper on empowerment and accountability (E&A) in fragile and conflict- affected settings (FCAS) – thanks to everyone who commented on the first draft, by the way). It’s nearly there but I need your help with one particular section. I want to argue that lumping ‘fragile’ and ‘conflict’ together in one category is very unhelpful. In reality, many violent …

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How can the international community help put women at the heart of bringing peace to South Sudan?

Duncan Green - November 9, 2016

Oxfam’s Shaheen Chughtai reports back from a recent conversation at the UN Once in a while, the shroud of coded, diplomatic language that envelops discussions at the United Nations Security Council is ripped away by reality. On 25th October, it was the words of a women’s rights activist from conflict-ridden South Sudan, Rita Lopidia, which gripped the chamber. “I meet many South Sudanese women, and …

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Why systems thinking changes everything for activists and reformers

Duncan Green - November 4, 2016

This week, the Guardian ran a very nicely edited ‘long read’ extract from How Change Happens covering some of the book’s central arguments, under the title Radical Thinking Reveals the Secrets of Making Change Happen. Here it is: Political and economic earthquakes are often sudden and unforeseeable, despite the false pundits who pop up later to claim they predicted them all along – take the …

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Why aren’t ‘Diaries of the Poor’ a standard research tool?

Duncan Green - November 2, 2016

I’ve been having lots of buzzy conversations about diaries recently. Not my own (haven’t done that since I was a teenager), but diaries as a research method. The initial idea came from one of my all-time favourite bits of bottom-up research, the book Portfolios of the Poor. Here are the relevant paras from my review: ‘A financial fly-on-the-wall account of how poor people manage money. …

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Big new research programme on empowerment and accountability in fragile settings gets under way – can you help choose its name?

Duncan Green - October 28, 2016

Whatever happened to resting on your laurels?  The book’s just published, and I’m onto the next thing – a five year research consortium on empowerment and accountability in fragile and conflict settings (FCS). Spent 3 days recently with some sharp minds from an alphabet soup of project partners – IDS, ITAD, IDEAS, CSSR, PASGR and ARC, wading through a stack of initial analyses, including my …

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