Tag: INGOs

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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Can INGOs push back against closing civic space? Only if they change their approach.

Guest post from Dhananjayan Sriskandarajah, Secretary General of CIVICUS. He can be found on social media@civicussg  Civil society is facing a sustained, multi-faceted, global onslaught. According to the CIVICUS Monitor, fundamental civic freedoms are being severely restricted in an unprecedented number of countries. The operating environment for civil society organisations is becoming more hostile across the […]

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Looks like the NGOs are stepping up on ‘Doing Development Differently’. Good.

For several years I’ve been filling the ‘token NGO’ slot at a series of meetings about ‘doing development differently’ (DDD) and/or ‘thinking and working politically’ – networks largely dominated by official aid donors, academics, thinktanks and management consultants (good overview of all the different initiatives here). Periodically, a range of NGOs appear on the scene, […]

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Can Oxfam do the Doughnut? A conversation with Kate Raworth

Kate Raworth came in last week to present her new book, Doughnut Economics (see my earlier review here or Simon Maxwell’s thoughtful summary/critique) and discuss its implications for Oxfam. After writing the initial DE paper while still at Oxfam back in 2012, Kate left to turn it into a book, so there was a definite air […]

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Draft Paper on Adaptive Management in Oxfam – all comments welcome

With a few important exceptions, large international NGOs have been pretty absent from the global conversation about ‘Doing Development Differently’, but are they doing it anyway and just skipping the meetings? To find out, a group of LSE Masters Students analysed a bunch of case studies of Oxfam programmes claiming to pursue ‘adaptive management’ approaches. […]

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How could a ‘life cycle analysis’ help aid organizations engage better with the public?

Following on the post (and great comments) about whether Oxfam should get serious on changing social norms, I’ve been thinking about a ‘life cycle analysis’ approach to INGOs’ engagement with the public. The starting point is that at different ages, people have different assets and constraints (eg disposable time, cash, openness to new ideas). Obviously, […]

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Improving collaboration between practitioners and academics: what to do? (with a little help from Einstein)

Previous posts in this 3 part series explored the obstacles to INGO-academic collaboration, and the lessons of systems thinking. This final post suggests some ways forward (with some sarcastic asides from Einstein) Based on all of the above, a number of ideas emerge for consideration by academics, INGOs and funders of research. Suggestions for academics […]

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What does Systems Thinking tell us about how INGOs and Academics can work together better?

Yesterday, I wrote about the obstacles to NGO-academic collaboration. In this second of three posts on the interface between practitioners and researchers, I look at the implications of systems thinking. Some of the problems that arise in the academic–INGO interface stem from overly linear approaches to what is in effect an ideas and knowledge ecosystem. In such […]

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What are the obstacles to collaboration between NGOs and Academics?

I wrote a chapter on the NGO-Academia Interface for the recent IDS publication, The Social Realities of Knowledge for Development, summarized here by James Georgalakis. It’s too long for a blog, but pulls together where I’ve got to on this thorny topic, so over the next few days, I will divvy it up into some […]

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Watching Oxfam morph into an interdependent networked system

While I’ve been ivory towering on the book for the last couple of years, Oxfam has been going through a wrenching internal reform (wait, don’t click – this gets interesting, honest!). Known as Oxfam 2020, 18 different Oxfam affiliates are slowly and painfully sorting out a single operating system and pushing power down to countries […]

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