Inequality kills: the cold, wet fate of refugee rights in Lebanon

Oxfam’s Senior Humanitarian Policy Adviser, Anna Chernova uses her own experiences as a refugee to reflect on how Lebanon can tackle inequality and protect the rights of millions of Syrians. Back in 2015, I remember standing in a damp, soaked tent in Lebanon’s Bekaa valley, watching kids run around in the snow in slippers. Their…

By Duncan Green February 7, 2019 0

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…

By Duncan Green November 26, 2018 5

What can we learn from campaigns run by the world’s children and young people?

Save the Children’s Patrick Watt reports back from some INGO soul searching on ‘Engaging a New Generation’ There’s nothing new about children and youth being involved in movements for change, from the anti-apartheid cause in South Africa, to the earlier and more hopeful chapters of the Arab Spring. But what feels different now is that…

By Duncan Green November 14, 2018 5

What is civil society for? Reflection from one of Tanzania’s leading CSO thinkers

A recent civil society and government jamboree in Tanzania prompted some interesting reflections from Aidan Eyakuze, Executive Director of Twaweza. Who needs civil society organizations (CSOs)? If government does its job well, responding to citizens’ needs, delivering good quality services, safe communities and a booming economy, then what is the purpose of the diverse range of…

By Duncan Green November 1, 2018 3

One of my favourite stories of change: how an indigenous group won the rights to 1m hectares of land – and a new interview with an NGO person who supported them at the time

If you repeat the same story often enough, at some point you start to wonder if you’ve really just made it up, or at least embellished it beyond recognition. One such story, which I often tell at the start of a How Change Happens presentation, is about the Chiquitano Indians of Bolivia and their successful…

By Duncan Green October 26, 2018 2

Legal earthquakes and the struggle against Mining in Mexico

Second post from a great visit to Mexico last week to launch the Spanish language edition of How Change Happens. Few things get development folk fired up as much as mining. For many NGOs and grassroots organizations, not much has changed since the Conquistadores: mining is plunder. Given their long history in terms of pollution,…

By Duncan Green October 19, 2018 1

How Bring Back Our Girls went from hashtag to social movement, while rejecting funding from donors

Ayo Ojebode, of the University of Ibadan, Nigeria, introduces his new research on a fascinating social movement, part of the Action for Empowerment and Accountability research programme In a world where movements appear and fizzle out just as they are getting started, Nigeria’s Bring Back Our Girls (BBOG) movement is an exception. Meant to be…

By Duncan Green October 10, 2018 23

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…

By Duncan Green September 25, 2018 6