Tag: advocacy

Making a difference in Indonesian cities – new research on NGO advocacy

Another fascinating study circulated by the Development Leadership Program.  As its title suggests, ‘How civil society organizations work politically to promote pro-poor policies in decentralized Indonesian cities’, published by the Asia Foundation, analyses CSOs’ impact in two cities in Central Java where policies were passed that expanded health insurance coverage for the poor: Semarang (pop. 1.5 […]

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The Policy Funnel – a way to sharpen up our advocacy?

We had an interesting blue sky session last week on the nature of campaigning, and looked at the ‘Policy Funnel’, an idea developed by Nick Mabey and Anita Neville at E3G. The funnel tries to capture the dynamics of public  policy formulation, whereby a generalised public concern turns into a debate, then particular policy proposals […]

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How do NGOs work with the private sector?

Earlier this week I spent an intense two days discussing Oxfam’s private sector strategy with our big cheeses, joined by a variety of real live capitalists, whose views ranged all the way from ‘Oxfam is irrelevant’ to people who closely resemble NGOs in suits. Far too much to process into anything coherent, but here are […]

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How can you do influencing work in one party states?

Fascinating conversation during a recent visit to East Africa about how we work in Rwanda and Ethiopia, both arguably effective but authoritarian states, with little time for ‘people on the streets’- style campaigning. Does that mean it is impossible to influence the state’s policies and practices? Definitely not, but you need to do things differently, […]

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Ford v Toyota – is it time to change the way we do research for development?

I took part in a conference on fragile states last week. Because it was held under Chatham House rules, I can’t say much about it, (except for the excellent on-the-record presentation by Tom Carothers of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, which I blogged on at the time), but it got me thinking about a […]

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Some things governments can do to support development even without spending more money

Before any general election, anyone involved in advocacy indulges in ‘what would my dream manifesto look like?’ fantasies. (And then usually goes off to lobby the political parties and be told why their ideas are silly). 2010 is no exception, with the impending (probably 6 May) UK general election followed by decisive moments this year on […]

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How to turn knowledge into policy (without losing your job)

Together with Martin Walsh, our team’s research methods adviser, I’ve been browsing through some of the literature on how to ensure our work has impact…… After a year in which Britain’s top drugs adviser, Professor David Nutt, was sacked by the Home Secretary (interior minister) for overstepping the line between providing advice and advocating specific […]

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Eight introductory powerpoints on development – please plunder

I recently gave a two week introduction to development (undergrad level) at the University of Notre Dame, consisting of eight 45 minute lectures – here are the powerpoints for anyone wanting to nick them. Each lecture includes a brief illustrative video clip of campaigns, social movements etc. Subjects covered are: Risk and Vulnerability; The Global […]

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Why demanding 'political will' is lazy and unproductive

I find myself getting increasingly exasperated by the term ‘political will’. Let me explain. The standard NGO shtick, whether on development, environment or pretty much anything else, is a three parter a) description of the problem b) clever proposal for solving the problem c) call for leaders to show ‘political will’ in adopting the proposed […]

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Sensibilist or Swivel Eyed? Weighing the arguments for greater radicalism in NGO advocacy

At what point does an advocacy NGO cease being ‘ahead of the curve’, ‘visionary’ etc (choose your own cliché) and instead become simply bonkers, a prophet ranting in a wilderness uninhabited by anyone with a smidgeon of decision-making power? This subject kept cropping up at an Oxfam internal discussion the other day. Unfortunately, I framed […]

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Seizing the Moment: A Successful Campaign on Domestic Violence in Malawi

Here’s an example of successful advocacy at national level, which is becoming an increasingly important part of Oxfam’s work. In 2005, Oxfam’s Malawi programme along with its partners mounted a campaign to eliminate gender based violence which led to the passing of the Prevention of Domestic Violence Bill in Parliament in April 2006.  How did it […]

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Can NGO advocacy influence states? Social Protection in Georgia

Here’s an example from Georgia of how well designed advocacy gets results: in this case helping 34,000 poor families gain access to state benefits and winning the introduction of an appeals procedure for those who feel unfairly excluded. It’s not glamorous, but it made a real difference, so bear with me. Like other post-Soviet Eastern […]

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