Tag: NGOs

How can campaigners tap corporate largesse without undermining their credibility? Unlocking millions for advocacy

It’s great to be accidentally topical. In the week that Save the Children had to fend off allegations of letting corporate funding influence its campaigns, here’s Oxfam America’s Chris Jochnick (@cjochnick) suggesting a way to accept money (in this case from extractive industries) while staying demonstrably independent Oxfam was recently approached by a major mining […]

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If high staff turnover is unavoidable, how should we redesign aid work to cope?

One of the implicit assumptions that often underlies programme design is that the people who initially come up with an idea and turn it into a project or programme then stick around and implement it. The reality is often very different – high levels of staff turnover are almost universal in both NGOs and aid […]

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Why NGOs label technology as nasty or nice

This post appeared last week on the Science and Development website SciDev There’s real substance behind activists’ polarised views of new technology, says Oxfam adviser Duncan Green. NGOs and activists often seem to hold contradictory views about science and technology, dividing the world up into ‘nice’ and ‘nasty’ technologies. Anything to do with mobile phones, crowdsourcing, […]

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Is the pressure to keep overheads low and avoid failure holding charities back? Watch this TED talk and tell me what you think

Following all the hoohaa about charity boss salaries, including my own small peanutgate contribution, several people sent me links to this intriguing TED talk by Dan Pallotta, which I found partly convincing, but also rather uncomfortable viewing. I’d be really interested in your reactions:

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Why are NGOs and Academics collaborating more?

August is a good month for getting people to step back and take stock – those who are not on holiday have fewer meetings, and so are more relaxed and available for shooting the breeze. And so I found myself at the London International Development Centre this week in one of those periodic soul searchings […]

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Campaigning on Hot v Cold Issues – what’s the difference?

I recently began an interesting conversation with our new campaigns and policy czar, Ben Phillips, who then asked me to pick the FP2P collective brain-hive for further ideas. Here goes. The issue is ‘cold’ v ‘hot’ campaigning. Over the next couple of years, we will be doing a lot of campaigning on climate change and […]

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Campaigning and Complexity: how do we campaign on a problem when we don’t know the solution?

Had a thought-provoking discussion on ‘influencing’ with Exfamer (ex Oxfam Australia turned consultant) James Ensor a few days ago. The starting point was an apparent tension between the reading I’ve been doing on complex systems, and Oxfam’s traditional model of campaigning. In my first days at Oxfam, I was told that the recipe for a […]

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Be the Toolkit: Discussing complex systems with Oxfam’s next generation of leaders

Over the next few months, I’ll be getting stuck into a big Oxfam project on how we understand and work on issues of power and change. As befits its focus on ‘how change happens’, this is already evolving in unexpected directions, such as a stress on how we support Oxfamistas to work in ‘complex systems’ […]

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Is it just me, or is it getting harder to read books on development?

I just spent four hours reading a book. Well, a third of a book – I’m a slow reader. It’s the galleys for ‘Aid on the Edge of Chaos’, by Ben Ramalingam, due out this October. I’ll review it when it’s published, but reading it made me think about books in general, and how hard […]

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What are the secrets of some recent campaign successes?

 This guest post comes from Hannah Stoddart, Oxfam’s Head of Economic Justice Policy  It feels like Oxfam campaigners have been celebrating a lot recently. First – after nearly 10 years of hard slog as part of the Control Arms coalition – we got an Arms Trade Treaty. Then just a few weeks later two of […]

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Learning the Lessons: Why is change NOT happening in the response to hunger crises?

I know I go on all the time about ‘how change happens’, but often in development the important question is ‘why doesn’t change happen?’, and we need to get better at answering it. On Tuesday Oxfam published Learning the Lessons, an analysis of the response to the 2012 Sahel food crisis, which affected some 18m […]

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Theory’s fine, but what about practice? Oxfam’s MEL chief on the evidence agenda

Two Oxfam responses to the evidence debate. First Jennie Richmond, (right) our results czarina (aka Head of Programme Performance and Accountability) wonders what it all means in for the daily grind of NGO MEL (monitoring, evaluation and learning). Tomorrow I attempt to wrap up. The results wonkwar of last week was compelling intellectual ping-pong. The […]

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