This is a conversational blog written and maintained by Duncan Green, strategic adviser for Oxfam GB, author of ‘How Change Happens’ and Professor in Practice at the London School of Economics. This personal reflection is not intended as a comprehensive statement of the agreed policies of either Oxfam or the LSE.
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Latest Posts

What’s New in the Private Education Pandora’s Box? A look at developments in the Global South

Guest post from Prachi Srivastava, Associate Professor, University of Western Ontario.   The Economist’s new special report ‘Private education’ (print edition, 13 April 2019) is causing a stir. We’ve been here before. Nearly four years ago, The Economist did a cover story (‘The $1-a-week school’) and briefing (‘Learning unleashed’) on low-fee private schooling (print edition, 1 August 2015) […]

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Audio Summary of FP2P posts w/b 15th April (and a fab redesign for the blog)

Highlight of the week for me was the crisp new design for the blog, thanks to Amy Moran and web designer Ben Newton. Amy sets out the benefits of the new look as: We’ve simplified posts so they’re easier to read. Larger text, no side bar and a centred layout. The homepage now features images, […]

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INGOs and aid’s Middle Income Country trap – what are the options?

Oxfam country directors face an unenviable task – juggling the daily management bureaucracy of the aid sector with the need to keep their eyes on the prize and think about strategy. Luckily, they are also some of the smartest, most politically savvy people in the organization. Here is a 16 minute segment of Philippines country […]

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Is a progressive Islamic revolution happening in the Philippines? Impressions from Mindanao

First instalment from my recent visit to the Philippines: Something fascinating and strikingly promising is going on the Philippines island of Mindanao. It has very little to do with the grisly headlines of extra-judicial killings and President Duterte’s bloody ‘war on drugs’. It looks like a progressive Islamic revolution is in progress, combining elements of […]

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Are INGO advocacy and campaigning up to today’s challenges?

This post by Oxfam researcher Ruth Mayne was originally published by the UK network of development NGOs, BOND We know from successful campaigns in the past, such as the anti-slavery movement of the 19th century, that it is possible to achieve intentional systemic change, and that civil society can play a pivotal role.  But are […]

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Links I Liked

Thanks FT for this chart of toppling despots after the ouster of Sudan’s president Omar al-Bashir. In the Arab Spring 2.0 (Sudan and Algeria, so far), the military jump in to forestall a revolution, toppling dictators when popular pressure becomes overwhelming. But what comes next? Recent precedents (Egypt, Thailand) are hardly encouraging. Cross country comparisons […]

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Audio summary (5m) of FP2P posts for w/b 8th April, and a quick hello vlog from the Philippines

and here’s me burbling on in the Philippines

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Combating corruption through community

David Riveros García makes a strong case for placing communities at the centre of anti-corruption work, based on the experience of organisations and movements in Paraguay. David is the founder and Executive Director of reAcción, an NGO that promotes civic participation and transparency in the education sector. Growing is often its own trap. For social initiatives, increased […]

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The new head of the UK’s aid watchdog wants your advice on its workplan – can you help?

Guest post by Dr Tamsyn Barton, ICAI Chief Commissioner Imagine this: you are in charge of scrutinising all UK aid spending by the government. Of giving public and Parliament assurance about how a perennially controversial £14.5bn budget is spent. You want to ensure your findings are taken seriously by government departments and people with the […]

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A New Scramble for Africa?

Not a single one of my LSE students reads the Economist. That may be down to the selection bias of people wanting to take my course on activism, but I think they’re missing out. If, like me, you’re liberal on social issues, sceptical on economic laissez faire, and just plain confused on politics, then at […]

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Vikalp Sangam: a search for alternatives in India…and globally

Pallav Das and Ashish Kothari explain the need for alternative visions to the dominant model of economic development in India, and beyond. Pallav and Ashish are two of the founders of Kalpavriksh, a 40-year Indian NGO focusing on environment and development issues. Contemporary India is going through a perplexingly critical time in its economic development, as it seems that […]

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Links I Liked

Does rising GDP lead to greater happiness? Not really, according to the latest World Happiness Report, as summarized in The Economist. ‘Of the 125 countries for which good data exist, 43 have seen GDP per person and happiness move in opposite directions (in red on graphic).’ economist.com/graphic-detail… There are 7 universal moral rules: love your […]

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