Topic: Conflict and Security

How can an NGO campaign against rape in armed conflict? An inspiring case study from Colombia

I recently ran a fascinating workshop with colleagues at Intermón Oxfam (Oxfam’s Spanish affiliate) at which the different country programmes brought examples of change processes at work. One that particularly struck me was about our work in Colombia on sexual violence and conflict. Here’s the write up, jointly authored with Intermon’s Alejandro Matos. The campaign […]

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Urban Tipping Points – important new research on roots of violence

Cities are often violent places – a social, ethnic and religious tinderbox of people piled up together with competing needs for space, housing or cash. Mostly the tension is contained, but not always – when and why does it spill over into bloody mayhem? That’s the question at the heart of a fascinating research project […]

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Femicide, anger and struggle: stories of women's activism in Honduras

Guest post from John Ambler, right, Oxfam America’s ‘Vice President, Strategy’ (ooo, can I be one of those?) on his recent trip to Honduras I woke up early in the morning to the sound of gunshots.  Two, then three more.  I expected to hear sirens, but did not.  The police were taking their own sweet […]

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What's the connection between power, development and social media?

This post also appears on the World Bank’s People, Spaces, Deliberation governance blog, although sadly, without the neanderthal I recently gave a talk about ICT and Development at the annual Re:Campaign conference in Berlin, organized by Oxfam Germany. Anyone who knows me will realize that this is a bit odd – despite being a blogaholic, […]

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The Egyptian Revolution is in intensive care – can it be saved?

This guest post from Oxfam’s regional director for the Middle East, Olga Ghazaryan (right), was also published today on the Guardian website. Having lived through a number of revolutions in the Former Soviet Union and Eastern Europe I should have known that revolutions are notoriously hard to predict.  There is a messy chaos between the […]

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Hunger in the Sahel and international arms control: what's the link?

In a second post on the impending UN Arms Trade Treaty, Oxfam arms trade policy adviser Martin Butcher discusses the links between Libya’s arms race and hunger in the Sahel The growing food crisis provoked by drought in the Sahel is affecting millions of people. This crisis has been deepened by the conflict in Mali sparked […]

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The UN is (probably) going to agree a global Arms Trade Treaty: what's at stake?

Ed Cairns, Oxfam’s senior policy adviser on conflict, summarizes a new paper, Stay on Target, which lays out the case for governments to hold out for a top quality Arms Trade Treaty as negotiations enter a crucial phase In the age of austerity it may seem that governments can do nothing but make cuts. But they […]

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People power, transformation and existential crisis: the state of global civil society:

Civicus, a global network of civil society organizations, recently published a pilot ‘State of Civil Society’ report, which it hopes to repeat at regular intervals. Some excerpts: “2011 marked a critical juncture for civil society. Authoritarian regimes buckled under the weight of citizen pressure, and prevailing political and economic orders faced unprecedented opposition from people […]

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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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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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What outsiders can (and can’t) do about Syria

Update: Please support Oxfam’s Syria action This guest post, by Phil Bloomer, Oxfam GB’s director of campaigns and policy, is a bit unusual for this blog. No new research or (supposedly) clever ideas. Instead, he reflects on what outsiders can (and can’t) do about the terrible situation in Syria “This morning, as on every recent […]

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How will political and economic shocks drive social change? Please help me write a paper…..

Something almost unprecedented has occurred – I’ve finished an article early. Oxfam Peru is a redoubt of intellectuals and every year publishes an annual collection of essays on the state of Peru and development in general. This year they’ve asked me to focus on shocks and change, so I’ve donned my false beard and cardigan […]

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