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Links I Liked

Duncan Green - July 17, 2017

Off to Cape Town this week, giving talks on Thursday lunchtime at the Isivivana Centre in Khayelitsha; Friday lunchtime at the GSDPP in Rondebosch and Friday evening at the Sustainability Institute in Stellenbosch. The Hamburg G20 riots: That feeling when you’re overthrowing capitalism but just can’t resist taking a selfie on your iPhone 7 (plus vanity beats security, every time – where’s your hood, dude?) …

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Which aspects of How Change Happens resonate with campaigners?

Duncan Green - July 12, 2017

Writing, and then promoting, How Change Happens has often left me feeling a bit remote from ‘the field’, with a nagging anxiety that what I am saying no longer has much connection with what people are doing on (or at least closer to) the ground. So it was great to get online with some of Oxfam’s best and brightest campaigners and advocates around the world …

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Are Academics really that bad at achieving/measuring Impact? Summary of last week’s punch-up

Duncan Green - July 11, 2017

Last week’s post about academics struggling to design their research for impact certainly got a reaction. Maybe not a twitter storm, but at least a bit of a squall. So it’s time to summarize the debate and reflect a bit. The post annoyed some people in the ‘research for impact’ community, because it was basically saying nothing much has changed. ‘The world has moved on’ …

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Links I Liked

Duncan Green - July 10, 2017

I’m in South Africa next week (19th-25th).  Cape Town, then a couple of days in Joburg. Only public event so far is on Friday 21st in Cape Town. Get in touch if you want to organize anything or simply meet up Oxfam stuff: 700 posters from the archive. Gold for students of charity history/changing use of images (both good and bad). Heads up, bookworms. Oxfam …

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$15bn is spent every year on training, with disappointing results. Why the aid industry needs to rethink ‘capacity building’.

Duncan Green - July 6, 2017

Guest post from Lisa Denney of ODI Every year a quarter of international aid – approximately US$15 billion globally – is spent on capacity development. That is, on sending technical assistants to work in ministries or civil society, running training programmes, conducting study tours or exchanges, or supplying resources and equipment to help organisations function better. This is often referred to as ‘teaching men to …

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Two days with the Radiographers of Power

Duncan Green - July 5, 2017

Spent another couple of days with the International Budget Partnership (IBP) last week. If budgets sound boring and bean-counter ish, consider this quote from Rudolf Goldscheid: “the budget is the skeleton of the state stripped of all misleading ideologies.” Follow the money, because the rest is spin. The IBP trains and supports civil society organizations (CSOs) in dozens of countries to become better radiographers of …

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If academics are serious about research impact, they need to learn from advocates

Duncan Green - July 4, 2017

As someone who works for both Oxfam and the LSE, I often get roped in to discuss how research can have more impact on ‘practitioners’ and policy. This is a big deal in academia – the UK government runs a periodic ‘research excellence framework’ (REF) exercise, which allocates funds for university research on the basis both of their academic quality and their impact. Impact accounted …

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Links I Liked

Duncan Green - July 3, 2017

Mount Stupid, the perfect first slide for most of my presentations….. RIP Michael Bond, creator of Paddington Bear, one of Britain’s best loved illegal migrants. Here’s a delightful 2014 analysis of his legal status Man with 176 children seeks government support. ‘I receive 10 calls every day from different wives who want attention…’ How can education systems be better? Round-up of new research papers/videos from …

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What is really going on within ‘shrinking civil society space’ and how should international actors respond?

Duncan Green - June 28, 2017

Good conversation (Chatham House Rule) last week on the global crackdown on civil society organizations (CSOs) and what to do about it. I was expecting a fairly standard ‘it’s all terrible; international NGOs must take action, speak truth to power etc’ discussion, but it was actually much more interesting and nuanced than that. While it is undoubtedly true, and horrible, that governments around the world …

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On hype, Impact Investing and the Valley of Death

Duncan Green - June 27, 2017

How do we build bridges across the Valley of Death? That’s the arresting image in a recent Oxfam paper on ‘impact investing’. The valley of death (see diagram) is the gap that firms face as they move from small start ups to Big Biz. In the start-up stage they raise cash wherever they can find it – family, friends, microfinance. Once they are big enough, …

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