Topic: Conflict and Security

I testified at the trial of one of Joseph Kony’s commanders. Here’s what the court didn’t understand.

Thanks to Holly Porter for suggesting this intriguing guest post from Kristof Titeca, of the University of Antwerp. Originally published in The Monkey Cage at The Washington Post on 17th January Otim (a pseudonym) is a former child soldier of the Lord’s Resistance Army, the Ugandan rebel movement led by Joseph Kony. On the battlefield, Otim […]

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Book Review: A Savage Order, by Rachel Kleinfeld

Rachel Kleinfeld is speaking in London tomorrow (Thursday 17th January) from 17.30-19.00. Book here In A Savage Order, Rachel Kleinfeld casts an unflinching eye on the many ways in which human beings physically hurt each other at a societal level. Not just war, but the much more ubiquitous everyday violence that springs from political and […]

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What do Witch Doctors actually do? I interviewed one to find out – their job description may surprise you

Guest post from Robin Oryem (@oryem_robin ), a researcher for LSE’s CPAID programme in Northern Uganda. As part of trying to understand how Public Authority operates in such messy places, Robin has been interviewing local witch doctors. One of the things that any Acholi person wants to avoid is to be associated with a witch doctor, […]

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How does Localization work on the ground? Podcast with Evans Onyiego and video of his work in Northern Kenya

On the margins of the localization discussion I covered yesterday, I grabbed a few minutes to interview Evans Onyiego. Evans runs a local Caritas office in Maralal, in Northern Kenya, where the Church is playing a big role in trying to rebuild trust between ethnic groups and communities whose traditional rivalries have been turbo-charged by the […]

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Localization in Aid – why isn’t it happening? What to do about it?

Spent two days this week discussing ‘Localization in Conflict Settings’. The subject is littered with aid jargon, but important – how does the humanitarian system ‘transfer power and resources’ to ‘local actors’ rather than outsiders insisting on running the whole thing (badly) themselves? It was organized by Saferworld and Save the Children Sweden to help […]

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Putting Positive Deviance into Practice: A brilliant UN Women initiative on domestic violence

Yesterday was the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, and the start of the annual 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence Campaign, so it seems like a good moment to post this.  As part of my scoping exercise on Positive Deviance, I’ve been having some great skype conversations. Monique Sternin put […]

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Aid’s fragile state problem – why is it so hard to even think about?

I’ve spotted a recurring problem with the way the aid sector talks about fragile and conflict-affected states (FCAS). FCAS are characterized by states that are either absent or predatory – in terms of development, governments and officials are as likely to be part of the problem as part of the solution. But the aid sector, […]

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Whither Large International Non-Governmental Organisations? Smart new paper.

I’m glad to see Penny Lawrence, an Oxfam big cheese for 12 years before she resigned so publicly last February, has been busy reflecting and talking to other leaders (and me) about how large lumbering INGOs need to change. She has put together a useful paper on the topic (a source of endless fascination to INGOs, […]

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Book Review: Peter Frase, Four Futures: Life After Capitalism

I’ve never been a big fan of scenario planning. When I’ve done it in the past, it’s usually involved a bunch of former oil and gas planners asking a group of people to identify big trends (which often boil down to what they’ve read in the FT/Economist that week) and then processing them into a […]

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Self Reliance, Hip Hop, Resistance and Weapons of the Weak: do we need to rethink Empowerment?

A 3 day conference at the Institute of Development Studies (IDS) inevitably makes you dig deep and question your assumptions, and last week’s gathering of the Action for Empowerment and Accountability research programme was no exception. This time, presentations from Myanmar and Mozambique set me off. In Myanmar the researchers had expected to find communities […]

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Peace has a PR Problem: How would you fix it?

Today is the UN International Day of Peace. You probably won’t have heard of it. Harriet Lamb, CEO of International Alert, explains why that matters. Our dictionaries mirror what’s happening in society. And the words we use shape how we see events and how we act. So it’s a sad reflection that dictionaries are full of […]

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Tanzania is about to outlaw fact checking: here’s why that’s a problem

Guest post from Aidan Eyakuze, Twaweza’s Executive Director Experts say it took just four minutes from beginning to end. First, some sensors failed. Then the pilots lost control of the plane, it stalled, went into freefall and smashed onto the surface of the Atlantic Ocean at a force 35 times greater than that of normal […]

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