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

“When will we get a report on your findings?”: reflections on researcher accountability from DRC

Christian Chiza Kashurha is a teaching assistant at the Department of History  of ISP-Idjwi and researcher at  GEC-SH, Bukavu, DRC. This piece is part of the new “Bukavu Series” blog posts by the GIC Network. Throughout the Global South, in countries such as the Democratic Republic of the Congo, research projects of researchers in the North are increasingly carried […]

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Book Review: The Business of Changing the World, by Raj Kumar

I found reading The Business of Changing the World rather disturbing – a bit like being taken hostage by a cult and submitted to polite but persistent brainwashing for several days (I’m a slow reader). The cult in question is what Anand Giridharadas calls ‘MarketWorld’ – an effusive, evangelical belief in the power of markets, […]

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Links I Liked

Declining child mortality: historically, almost everywhere, about 1/2 died before their 15th birthday. The global average today is 1/10 of that – one child in 20, Still far too many, obviously, but a striking change. The creeping criminalisation of humanitarian aid: now it’s happening in Europe & US. V worrying trend. The spoof twitter ‘God’ […]

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Audio Summary (10m) of FP2P posts, week beginning 10th June

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In ‘Winner Takes All’, Anand Giridharadas takes down philanthropy’s ‘MarketWorld’: Book Review

If you’ve ever been irked by the combination of arrogance, platitude, complacency and dismissiveness that often characterizes the private sector-aid complex (philanthropists, management consultants, foundations, impact investors and their groupies across the aid business), then this is the book for you. In Winner Takes All, Anand Giridharadas hangs out at their motivational talks and high […]

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Maps in Court: how the Waorani are upholding their rights in Ecuador

Aliya Ryan is an anthropologist working with Digital Democracy on their Ecuador programme to support the Waorani and Siekopai territory mapping projects.  Last month the Waorani hit the headlines due to a landmark win against the Ecuadorian Government. Sixteen Waorani communities contested the supposed consultation that the government carried out in 2012 before putting millions […]

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How can Daniel Kahneman help organizations get better at Strategic Planning?

Oxfam is embarking on another round of strategic planning – a protracted process of research, debate and negotiation that sometimes make me wonder whether ‘INGO’ should really stand for ‘Interminable Navel-Gazing Ordeal’. Why the negativity? Partly because I worry that much of what is painfully agreed then sits on a virtual shelf until the next […]

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Links I Liked

Academic Writing Genres [ht @AcademicsSay] First draft: Horror Abstract: Action thriller Hypothesis section: Fantasy Results section: Tragedy Limitations section: True crime Implications section: Satire Grant application: Science fiction Calling all activists (of whatever kind). Oxfam’s (new, improved) free online course ‘Make Change Happen‘ has begun another 8 week run. Feedback says people like the content, […]

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Audio summary (10m) of FP2P posts, week beginning 3rd June

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Naila Kabeer on Why Randomized Controlled Trials need to include Human Agency

Guest post and 20m interview with Naila Kabeer on her new paper There’s a buzz abroad in the development community around a new way to tackle extreme poverty. BRAC’s Targeting the Ultra Poor (TUP) programme combines asset transfers (usually livestock), cash stipends and intensive mentoring to women and families in extreme poverty in order to […]

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How should INGOs respond to growing nationalism in the UK?

Guest post from Matthew Spencer, (@Spencerthink) Oxfam’s Director of Campaigns, Policy & Influencing Kirsty McNeill, my counterpart from Save the Children UK, asked me this question last year and it’s been troubling me ever since. I had a vague answer, but wasn’t entirely convinced. We have no mandate to take sides on Brexit, but I […]

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Feminism under siege: Maria Al Abdeh on the work of Women Now for Development in Syria, and the impact of Jo Cox

This is the first post of a new mini series on ‘Being a feminist in difficult places’. Recently I spent time with Maria Al Abdeh, Executive Director of Women Now for Development (WND), a Syrian feminist organization. She was in London to help launch the UK branch of Global Fund for Women, which helps fund […]

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