Tag: INGOs

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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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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Big demographic tides are sweeping the world: how should aid organizations respond?

Recently I spent half day BS’ing (breeze-shooting, obviously) about future trends and challenges for international organizations like Oxfam. Confession: we’re supposed to hate these, but often they’re really fun. A table on demographic shifts got me particularly excited. Great human tides are sloshing around the globe, populations are moving geographically, and their age make-up is […]

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A rant about gender (and other) consultants and how we can avoid them

Guest rant from CARE International’s Elizabeth Cowan Ask a group of international development people about external consultants and the conversation that ensues resembles group therapy. Everyone has a story of pain and frustration, of feeling cheated, misunderstood and unsatisfied. Sometimes we cry. There was the external evaluator we paid $60,000 to tell us our project […]

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Six things INGOs need to fix to be fit for the future. Mark Goldring’s outgoing reflections

Guest post by my former boss Mark Goldring, first published in the March edition of Governance and Leadership Magazine. Mark was chief executive of Oxfam GB from 2013 until January 2019. This article is based on a talk given to Civil Society Media’s NGO Insight Conference in November 2018. My last year as chief executive of […]

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Will aid help or undermine Mindanao’s new start? Scott Guggenheim is worried.

Community Development guru Scott Guggenheim emailed some provocative thoughts on my piece last week on Mindanao, with much wider relevance to the localization debate, so I asked him to turn it into a blog.   I like your piece but I’m a bit longer in the tooth than you and so slightly less optimistic. You […]

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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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What is different about how INGOs do Adaptive Management/Doing Development Differently?

Earlier this week I chaired a fascinating discussion on the findings of a new paper on an adaptive management (AM) experiment by Christian Aid Ireland (CAI). The paper really adds to our knowledge of AM/Doing Development Differently: It looks at the work of an INGO, when most formally identified AM practice and research involves big […]

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Whither Large International Non-Governmental Organisations? Smart new paper.

I’m glad to see Penny Lawrence, an Oxfam big cheese for 12 years before she resigned so publicly last February, has been busy reflecting and talking to other leaders (and me) about how large lumbering INGOs need to change. She has put together a useful paper on the topic (a source of endless fascination to INGOs, […]

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What did I learn from 2 days of intense discussions on empowerment and accountability in messy places?

I wish I was one of those people who can sit zen-like through a two day conference, smiling and constructive throughout. Instead I fear I come across as slightly unhinged – fidgety; big mood swings as I get excited, irritated or bored in rapid succession. The most recent example of my failings was a two […]

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Some whacky ideas for a future Oxfam – draft paper for your comments

Milton Friedman once said “Only a crisis – actual or perceived – produces real change. When that crisis occurs, the actions that are taken depend on the ideas that are lying around. That, I believe, is our basic function: to develop alternatives to existing policies, to keep them alive and available until the politically impossible […]

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How are INGOs Doing Development Differently? 5 of them have just taken a look.

Hats off to World Vision for pulling together some analysis on where large international NGOs (INGOs) have got to on ‘Doing Development Differently’ (see the 2014 manifesto if you’re not up to speed on DDD). Up to now, NGOs have been rather quiet in a discussion dominated by government aid agencies, academics and thinktanks. World […]

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