Topic: Politics

How Change Happens within Government: A Masterclass from a Whitehall Veteran

I chaired a panel at LSE recently that included DFID lifer Phil Mason, who ran its Anti-Corruption Unit (reviewed here) after it was set up in 2000 by Clare Short. Phil had a big challenge – he had to persuade other Whitehall departments to get behind the idea, when they often had very different priorities. […]

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What values should guide Britain’s role in the world, post-Brexit?

Oxfam today publishes (with UK think tank, the Foreign Policy Centre) a collection of essays from parliamentarians and policy experts called ‘Finding Britain’s role in a changing world: building a values based foreign policy’. Here are a few highlights from the conclusion, snappily written by Adam Hug, Abigael Baldoumas, Katy Chakrabortty and Danny Sriskandarajah: ‘The […]

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Could Amartya Sen and Martha Nussbaum help us have a more grown-up conversation about aid?

This post got a lot of help from Severine Deneulin – thanks! I get a bit frustrated with the conversation on aid – too often, we seem to be expected to pick one of two equally unappealing camps: ‘all aid is bad’ v ‘all aid is good’. People tend to land on a single issue […]

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Research Methodology Klaxon: Lessons from two years of doing ‘Governance Diaries’ in scary places

The first outputs are now appearing from ‘Governance Diaries’, a really fascinating new research method that emerged from an initial conversation in a bar in Yangon 4 years ago. If you’re even slightly interested in research, please take a look at this first paper on the emerging methodology, by Miguel Loureiro, Anuradha Joshi, Katrina Barnes […]

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6 ways Southern Civil Society Organizations interact with marginalized groups; 4 ways they deal with closing civic space

Some interesting research on the realities of CSOs in the Global South and their interaction with the aid sector is coming out of the Netherlands (see last week’s post for more on this theme). Check out this new paper by the ‘Civil Society Research Collective’ – Margit van Wessel, Suparana Katyaini, Yogesh Mishra, Farhat Naz, […]

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Eleven Recommendations for Working on Empowerment and Accountability in messy/dangerous places

The Action for Empowerment and Accountability (A4EA) programme, which I’ve been sporadically involved with, is now digesting the findings of its first 3 years of research, and has identified some important ‘recurring themes’ across its 5 focus countries (Egypt, Mozambique, Myanmar, Nigeria and Pakistan). The result? Eleven Recommendations for Working on Empowerment and Accountability in […]

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Why is the Far-Right so hostile to Gender? How does it understand Masculinity?

Guest post by Nick Galasso of Oxfam America The resurgence of far-right populism, from Brazil to Europe to India and the US, presents a challenge to NGOs unforeseen even a few years ago. The common thread of ethno-nationalism, coupled with calls to revive traditional gender roles and values, is making it harder to protect refugees […]

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How to Decolonize Academia. Interview with Prof. Akosua Adomako Ampofo

I recently sat down with Akosua Adomako Ampofo, President of the African Studies Association of Africa to discuss her life, decolonization (including my own) and the research system. It’s 40 minutes, really interesting, and follows nicely from yesterday’s much-talked about post by Teni Tayo, but here’s some highlights for the non podcast community. Personal Background: […]

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What Place for Human Rights in the Growing Movement against Inequality?

Guest post by Allison Corkery and Ignacio Saiz of the Center for Economic and Social Rights Last month, to coincide with the annual Davos meeting, tens of thousands of people took to the streets as part of the Global Protest to #FightInequality. What are the implications for human rights advocates? Leading human rights figures are increasingly acknowledging the threat […]

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An uncomfortable conversation about the gulf between CSOs and the ultra-marginalized. Can it be bridged?

Spent an enjoyable day last week in The Hague (see yesterday’s post). No I wasn’t on trial, I was opening a conference on ‘Pushing the Boundaries in Advocacy for Inclusion’ (my slides here). The good thing about opening an event is that you can then relax and listen and learn. And as this was a […]

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Six Ways Conflict is Changing, by David Milliband

IRC boss David Milliband gave a speech to the ‘West Point Class of 1983’ recently (i.e. US military leaders). The full speech has lots of the protocol stuff required of such set pieces, but also includes his take on ‘six dimensions of change in conflict where we work today’, which I thought were pretty interesting. […]

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Will the real megatrend please stand up? Insights from a scan of scans

Filippo Artuso and Irene Guijt introduce their new Oxfam discussion paper When it comes to global futures, we have information of what could be, yet are largely in the dark about what will be. To shed some light, we compared 22 recent scans of powerful global trends – or megatrends. This helps give us some […]

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