Tag: advocacy

Winning Ugly and Learning from the Bad Guys: Discussing How Change Happens with the Greens

Had an HCH session with some extremely smart wonks at the Green Alliance last week. I gave my standard talk, focussing on a ‘Power and Systems Approach’. This argues that for activism to be more in line with messy, emergent realities, activists need to change their way of working to give greater weight to: Curiosity […]

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What kind of evidence might persuade people to change their minds on refugees?

Oxfam Humanitarian Policy Adviser Ed Cairns reflects on using evidence to influence the treatment of refugees Who thinks that governments decide what to do on refugees after carefully considering the evidence? Not many, I suspect. So it was an interesting to be asked to talk about that at the  ‘Evidence for Influencing’ conference Duncan wrote […]

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Is it time to get personal on tax dodging?

The people who read this blog tend to be rationalists and progressive, so they won’t need much convincing that tax avoidance is a big (and lethal) deal. Oxfam calculates that just a third of the $100bn [approx. £78bn] tax that companies dodge in poor countries annually is enough to cover the bill for essential healthcare […]

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Local thinktanks are natural allies in ‘Doing Development Differently’ so why not support them better?

Just been reading a rather good paper by Guy Lodge and Will Paxton making the case for supporting  thinktanks in developing countries. They’ve been doing just that for several years, building on their experience in the UK at IPPR and No. 10 Downing Street respectively, hence the paper. They both now work at Kivu International. […]

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Are grassroots faith organizations better at advocacy/making change happen?

As part of thinking about how power operates in fragile/conflict states (for the LSE’s new Centre for Public Authority in International Development, CPAID), I’m doing a bit more reading around the role of different kinds of ‘non state actors’. One of the most influential in many fragile/conflict settings are faith organizations, so I finally got […]

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Complexity v Simplicity: the challenge for Campaigners and Reformers

Had a few thought-provoking conversations on this last week. I increasingly see most problems (social, political, economic) as complex, i.e. arising from multiple causes in interconnected systems, often highly dependent on the specific context and history of any given place/population. My campaigner friends generally hate such talk, because their gut feeling is that it makes […]

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Can a new Index measure whether governments are serious about reducing inequality?

Oxfam’s inequality ubergeek, Deborah Hardoon, needs your help with an ambitious new index As a researcher working on inequality, there are plenty of data and statistics for me to analyse, model and generate ‘killer stats’ from. Of course, there are many data gaps, plus lots of debate on which measures are the best to use […]

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Which aspects of How Change Happens resonate with campaigners?

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 […]

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

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 […]

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Sex, serendipity and surprises – launching the State of the World’s Fathers

It’s Father’s Day on Sunday, apparently (my kids ignore it completely), so here’s Oxfam’s gender guru, Nikki van der Gaag, reflecting on an impressive bit of advocacy Sharing the housework means better sex.  Now that I have your attention, let me explain. This was just one of the findings in the first ever State of […]

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What can Activists do in a Political Downturn?

The recent discussions with the International Budget Partnership also got me thinking about the options facing activists in political downturns. IBP sees these as potentially multiple: the crackdown on civil society in increasing numbers of countries is closing the space for budget activism, and there may also be a kind of ‘peak transparency’, where the […]

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The imaginary advocate, the benefits of Command and Control, and why I’m just channelling Hayek

Continuing the download from the recent LSE-ODI workshop on ‘new experimentalism’ was this thought-provoking description by David Kennedy of the ‘imaginary advocate’, the assumed individual behind How Change Happens and, by extension, a lot of NGO advocacy. Might be a very interesting addition to the endless awaydays, strategic planning processes etc to ask people to […]

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