Topic: General

Why is Coca-Cola championing land rights at the UN?

I usually try and minimize Oxfam’s excessive tendency for trumpet-blowing, but this one from Oxfam America’s private sector czar, Chris Jochnick (@cjochnick), looks worth it – some real progress in working on land rights with the epitome of consumer capitalism This week at the UN Committee on World Food Security (CFS), Coca Cola publicly declared that […]

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Feminists in Development Organizations: important new book for anyone (including not-particularly-feminists) trying to influence their institution

At first glance, a book called called ‘Feminists in Development Organizations’ looks like a bit of aid biz navel gazing. But if you are working in a large bureaucracy and want it to do more on just about any big issue (women’s rights, but also environmentalism, disabled rights, tertiary education, urban livelihoods), this book is […]

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The return of ‘Links I liked’ – do you want a weekly round up?

I gave up doing ‘links I liked’ roundups when I went on twitter, thinking that they had become redundant. But a few people have suggested reinstating them, either because (shockingly) they haven’t yet joined the twitterati, or because they miss things in the twitterstream. So here are some of the best of last week’s tweeted […]

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Reformers v lobbyists: where have we got to on tackling corporate tax dodging?

The rhythm of NGO advocacy and campaigning sometimes makes it particularly hard to work on complicated issues, involving drawn-out negotiations where bad guys have more resources and staying power than we do. Campaigns on trade, climate change, debt relief etc often follow a similar trajectory – a big NGO splash as a new issue breaks, […]

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Top new African Progress Report focusses on farms, fisheries and finance

The Africa Progress Panel (a group of the great and good, chaired by Kofi Annan) launches its 2014 Africa Progress Report today. It’s an excellent, and very nicely written (heartfelt thanks) overview of some key areas: agriculture, fisheries and finance. Some highlights: ‘For more than a decade, Africa’s economies have been doing well, according to […]

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Can complex systems thinking provide useful tools for aid workers? Draft paper on some DFID pilot experiments, for your comments

Ben Ramalingam, who wrote last year’s big book on complexity and aid (Aid on the Edge of Chaos) has been doing some interesting work with DFID and wants comment on his draft paper (with Miguel Laric and John Primrose) summarizing the project. The draft is here BestPracticetoBestFitWorkingPaper_DraftforComments_May2014 (just comment on this post, and the authors will […]

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What’s at stake in the South African and Malawi elections this month?

Max Lawson, Oxfam’s Head of Advocacy and Public Policy, reflects on impending elections in South Africa and Malawi Malawi and South Africa’s election cycle is identical.  Both had their first democratic multi-party elections 20 years ago this month.  Who can forget the incredible photos of black people queuing from before dawn across South Africa to […]

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For tax dodging: ‘pounded by stone mallet, grounded by large stone’. A nice day out in Singapore

As you have probably guessed by now, I’ve been in Singapore this week. What you won’t know is that this is my first time here since 1969 (my dad was in the navy, which exited the island around then, along with the rest of Britain’s colonial baggage – Singapore promptly took off and has never […]

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Into the Unknown: Explorations in Development Practice: lovely (and short) new book from Robert Chambers

Robert Chambers is who I want to be when I grow up, an object lesson in how to grow old (dis)gracefully. Funny, passionate, always willing to admit doubt and failure, and endlessly curious – he never pulls that weary ‘oh, we tried that in the 1970s and it didn’t work’ routine beloved of other development […]

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How can Governments and Donors support Africa’s Women Farmers?

I got into a bit of hot water recently for a recent post taking down a dodgy stat on women’s land ownership, so it’s nice to be able to post on some really good numbers on gender and agriculture. Levelling the Field: Improving Opportunities for Women Farmers in Africa, is an important and innovative new report (exec […]

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Understanding the nature of power: the force field that shapes development

I wrote this post for ODI’s Development Progress blog. It went up last week, closing a series of posts on the theme of Political Voice. Women’s empowerment is one of the greatest areas of progress in the last century, so what better theme for a post on ‘voice’ than gender rights? Globally, the gradual empowerment […]

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Why are Africans getting ripped off on remittances?

Whatever your views of migration, a consensus ought to be possible on one thing: if migrants do send money home, as much as possible of the hard-earned dollars that they send should actually get there, to be spent on putting feeding the kids, putting them through school or even having a bit of fun (that’s […]

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