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

Audio summary (6m) of FP2P posts for wb 18th March

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How Latin American is my Theory of Change?

A recent email exchange with Asa Cusack of the LSE’s Latin America and Caribbean Centre (plus the Latin American tone of this week’s posts – Mexican, Argentine and Venezuelan guests in one week must be some kind of record) triggered a bout of nostalgia about my early days travelling in and writing about Latin America (roughly […]

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Why are we failing on gender? 3 bad excuses and 6 good ideas

March is women’s history month and Fabiola Esposito shares her reflections on the aid sector’s slow progress on women’s empowerment. Last week I went to a networking event for women working in international development about ‘women’s empowerment’ (WE) in Syria. During the Q&A one of the attendees asked an astonishing, but revealing, question: “Why do […]

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The hump counter attack! Jose Manuel Roche sets me straight on the global transition (or lack of it)

Quite a few people disagreed with aspects of my recent post shifts in the global distribution of income. José Manuel Roche, Head of Research for Save the Children UK, felt moved to respond. I enjoyed Duncan’s recent blog about the shift from a two hump to a one hump world. Who wouldn’t? So I’d like throw […]

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Is Mexico undergoing a transformation? Ricardo Fuentes on AMLO’s first 100 days.

In September, I interviewed my friend and Oxfam Mexico boss Ricardo Fuentes about the incoming president and his promises of a ‘4th transformation’ of the country. 100 days into the presidency of Andres Manuel López Obrador, I asked Ricardo to update us: A hundred days into the administration of Mexican President Andres Manuel López Obrador […]

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Links I Liked

Everyday Sexism Bingo, ht Matthew Sherrington  Two posts on decolonising academia: African and Development Studies: Excellent from Laura Mann. And How Diverse is your Reading List? (Probably not very…) by Tin Hinane El Kadi ‘The Elders, a group of independent global leaders, is calling on the international community to agree on a rigorous governance framework […]

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Audio Summary (6m) of FP2P posts for 10 days up to 15th March

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5 Emerging Lessons from new research into Empowerment and Accountability in Messy Places

A second instalment on the recent conversation with DFID’s Social Development Advisers (see here for first instalment). John Gaventa summarized the emerging lessons from the DFID-funded Action for Empowerment and Accountability research programme, which he coordinates. A4EA is trying to work out whether the stuff we know about E&A in more stable places is different […]

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6 ways to rethink aid for real, complex human beings

Last week I went along to the annual conference of DFID’s Social Development Advisers (SDAs – DFID has lots of acronyms). As well as giving them an initial picture of what the ‘Action for Empowerment and Accountability’ research programme is finding out about DFID’s adaptive management programmes, they asked me for a pre-dinner rant about […]

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Podcast: Aidan Eyakuze (Twaweza) on the crackdown on civic space in East Africa

Earlier this week I grabbed a few minutes with Aidan Eyakuze, one of East Africa’s most prominent civil society leaders. The topic (what else?) was the crackdown on civic space under way in Tanzania, where Aidan runs Twaweza, a brilliant NGO that works across the region. Tanzania’s previously liberal and vigorous environment for activism is […]

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Book Review:  Getting to Zero – A Doctor and a Diplomat on the Ebola Frontline

Guest post by Melissa Parker (left) and Johanna Hanefeld  This excellent book provides a fascinating account of the 2014-2016 Ebola outbreak in Sierra Leone. It is co-authored by Sinead Walsh, who was Irish Ambassador to Sierra Leone at the time of the outbreak and, Oliver Johnson, a medical doctor, who was based at Connaught Hospital in […]

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Links I Liked

The cartoon that Winnie Byanyima keeps on her office wall The reductive seduction of other people’s problems. Great essay on the pitfalls of northern voluntourism: ‘don’t go because you’ve fallen in love with solvability. Go because you’ve fallen in love with complexity.’ ‘The average woman is willing to give up 19 percent of the maximum […]

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