Tag: INGOs

You can’t take a supertanker white-water rafting: what future for International NGOs?

This post also appears on the ‘Practice for Change’ blog I try to avoid those endless bouts of INGO navel gazing, but don’t always succeed. Which is lucky, because recently, I had a really interesting session on ‘the future of INGOs’ at La Trobe University’s Institute for Human Security and Social Change in Melbourne. I […]

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The future of DFID, partnerships, aid and INGOs, c/o Alex Evans

Alex Evans always gives good bullet point. A former SPAD (special adviser) to DFID, turned academic/consultant at the Center for International Cooperation, last week he gave some NGOs a whirlwind tour of his big picture thinking on development, based on a recent submission (with Owen Barder) to the UK parliament’s International Development Committee. Here are […]

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How should INGOs prepare for the coming disruption? Reading the aid/development horizon scans (so that you don’t have to)

Gosh, INGOs do find themselves fascinating. Into my inbox plop regular exercises in deep navel-gazing –both excessively self-regarding and probably necessary. They follow a pretty standard formula: Everything is changing. Mobile phones! Rise of China! Everything is speeding up. Instant feedback! Fickle consumers! Shrinking product cycles! You, in contrast are excruciatingly slow, bureaucratic and out […]

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‘Bricifying’ international NGOs is hard work: the challenges facing Oxfam India

I spent last week trying to understand an intriguing experiment. About five years ago, Oxfam GB’s ‘white men in shorts’ left India, alongwith all the other Oxfam affiliates, and a new, completely Indian-run Oxfam India took over. All part of ‘Bricification’ within the Oxfam family (there’s an Oxfam Brazil in the pipeline too). So what’s […]

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What can we learn from a really annoying paper on NGOs and development?

I’ve got a paper I want you to read, particularly if you work for an NGO or other lobbying outfit. Not because it’s good – far from it – but because reading it and (if you work for an NGO) observing your rising tide of irritation will really help you understand how those working in […]

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How can INGOs improve their work in fragile and conflict states?

There’s nothing like the impending threat of giving a talk to make you mug up on an issue, usually the morning before. Today’s exercise in skating on thin ice (the secret? Keep moving. Fast as possible) was a recent talk to some Indiana University students studying the developmental role of the state while enjoying our […]

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When does accountability work have an impact? The importance of Implementation Gaps

I’ve been reading the set of papers Oxfam recently published on local governance and community action (see previous blog) and was struck by how central the issue of ‘implementation gaps’ is in our work. An implementation gap arises when a set of institutions (often via decentralization), policies or budgets (or all three) exists on paper that should […]

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Wrapping up the great Nairobi guesthouse pool debate

Wow. Hit a nerve there. I’m both gratified and slightly appalled by the level of interest generated by Wednesday’s post on the development-critical issue of whether Oxfam should keep the pool at its Nairobi guesthouse shut. For those people without the time or inclination to trawl through over 60 comments, here’s a summary. First the […]

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Thick problems, thin solutions and the future of NGOs

Normally I avoid discussions about the future of NGOs like the plague – they either involve a bunch of academics with only the vaguest idea of what we actually do all day, or a lot of senior managers emitting sonorous pronouncements on how we need to be more agile in a multi-polar world and use […]

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Why do global campaigns succeed or fail?

Campaigning for International Justice is a new report by Exfamer Brendan Cox (left), who went off to work for Gordon Brown and recently became Director of Policy and Advocacy at Save the Children (incestuous, nous?). It covers two big areas: a retrospective ‘Learning Lessons’ study of eight global campaigns between 1991-2011, and a ‘Where Next’ […]

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How can research funders work better with international NGOs like Oxfam?

I spoke recently to a meeting of the UK Collaborative on Development Sciences. It’s a great initiative, bringing together 13 UK funders and stakeholders with an interest in international development research, but is ‘collaborative’ really a noun? Anyway, the topic was how research funders (mainly state funded) can link up more effectively with large INGOs […]

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