Natural disasters

Grenfell Tower is a Hurricane Katrina moment, revealing the shameful state of Britain

Duncan Green - June 20, 2017

My colleague Max Lawson sends out a weekly round-up of things he’s read, and adds some views. Here he is on the meaning and horror of the Grenfell Tower fire. At times an event can act like a flash of lightning, illuminating simmering issues that can otherwise feel abstract.  The recent horrific fire in the Grenfell Tower Block in West London has done this in the UK, not …

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Is Climate Change to blame for the East African Drought?

Duncan Green - May 16, 2017

An honest attempt to engage with the evidence may seem almost quaint in these angry, post-truth times, but I was impressed by a recent Oxfam media briefing by Tracy Carty on the thorny topic of whether climate change is to blame for the current East African drought. It’s an excellent example of the balancing act advocacy organizations have to perform on attribution: start making sweeping …

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Drought in Africa – How the system to fund humanitarian aid is still hardwired to fail

Duncan Green - April 13, 2017

Guest post from Debbie Hillier, Oxfam Humanitarian Policy Adviser Nearly 11 million people across Ethiopia, Somalia and Kenya are facing alarming levels of food insecurity. In Somalia, deaths as a result of drought have already been recorded, and as its next rains are forecast to be poor, famine is a real possibility. But why are we facing the threat of famine yet again in Somalia? …

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A new case must be made for aid. It rests on three legs.

Duncan Green - March 28, 2017

Guest post from aid guru Simon Maxwell Is the tide turning on aid? Famine in Africa has rekindled both media and public support.  By 20th March, the UK’s Disasters Emergency Committee had raised £24m from the public in only six days for its East Africa Crisis appeal. Red Nose Day on 24th March provided another opportunity to demonstrate support. And on aid more generally, the …

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How do we shift social norms on climate change?

Duncan Green - March 22, 2017

Spent an enjoyable hour discussing strategy with exfamer Kate Norgrove, who now runs the Purpose Climate Lab (see here for the kind of thing they do). Kate wanted to discuss their theory of change (what else?). Purpose has identified what it sees as a gap: while lots of organizations are working on climate change in ways that are oppositional or focussing on laws and policies, …

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Ten Signs of an impending Global Land Rights Revolution

Duncan Green - March 16, 2017

Exfamer Chris Jochnick, who now runs Landesa, the land rights NGO, sets out his stall ahead of a big World Bank event next week. The development community has experienced various “revolutions” over the years – from microfinance to women’s rights, from the green revolution to sustainable development.  Each of these awakenings has improved our understanding of the challenges we face; each has transformed the development …

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A masterclass on cash transfers and how to use High Level Panels to influence Policy

Duncan Green - March 10, 2017

One of the things I do in my day-a-week role at LSE is bring in guest lecturers from different aid and development organizations to add a whiff of real life to the student diet of theory and academia. One of the best is Owen Barder, who recently delivered a mesmerizing talk on cash transfers and the theory of change used by his organization, the Center …

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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 role for local actors in system change? Fighting climate change in the UK

Duncan Green - November 29, 2016

Ruth Mayne, Oxfam’s senior researcher on the effectiveness of influencing, reflects on some personal influencing she was involved with before (re)joining Oxfam. In the development world we often emphasise the importance of strengthening community action but is it really possible for local, rather than national and international, actors to contribute to system change? And if so, why and how does this happen, and under what …

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Climate Change: Meeting sea level rise by raising the land

Duncan Green - November 8, 2016

  As the COP 22 meeting on climate change gets under way in Marrakech, Joseph Hanlon, Manoj Roy and David Hulme introduce their new book on climate change and Bangladesh Community groups in coastal Bangladesh have shown that the land can be raised to match sea level rise. Their success has been hard fought, initially contested by aid agencies, engineers and the police. But they …

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