Tag: NGOs

Forget swimming pools and bra hunts, it’s time for the Great Intern Debate

It’s been a while. The issues that get a buzz going on this blog are often the internal-to-Oxfam debates, which  get Oxfamistas worked up while seeming to provoke a prurient curiosity in everyone else. Think swimming pools or bra hunts. There had been a bit of a lull on this front until I wandered unintentionally […]

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How do we work out the returns to campaigning? Nice example from the Philippines

Like any campaigning organization, Oxfam has limited funds, and so needs to know whether its investment has paid off. The push from everyone and their dog to pursue a ‘results agenda’ and ‘value for money’ has added further momentum to that effort. That’s fine if you’re doing something that’s easy to measure, (say vaccinating kids, […]

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How to get a job in development – an FP2P guide

There’s nothing like a lecture tour to bring home just how many bright young people are desperate to work in development, and how hard we make it for them (is this a deliberate form of institutional Darwinism, in which only the most determined survive?)  So I’ve gone back over a few previous bits of advice […]

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India’s Middle Class debate continued: should NGOs be looking in the mirror? Guest post from Bipasha Majumder

On my recent trip to India, I discovered some talented bloggers – here’s Bipasha Majumder, Oxfam India’s Communications Officer in Mumbai, writing in a purely personal capacity on the Great Middle Class Debate. She also writes a personal blog. I have had discussions and I have had heated discussions.  Sometimes I have just let the […]

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Can you help promote 'From Poverty to Power'? This won't take long…..

OK, out of consideration for your sensitivities, I’m going to try and condense all the humiliating, grovelling self promotional authorial thing into a single post (OK, I’m lying, but the other promo will be less blatant). The second edition of From Poverty to Power is published on the 23rd October, and as you doubtless know, […]

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When we (rigorously) measure effectiveness, what do we find? Initial results from an Oxfam experiment.

Guest post from ace evaluator Dr Karl Hughes (right, in the field. Literally.) Just over a year ago now, I wrote a blog featured on FP2P – Can we demonstrate effectiveness without bankrupting our NGO and/or becoming a randomista? – about Oxfam’s attempt to up its game in understanding and demonstrating its effectiveness.  Here, I […]

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Top tips for more effective advocacy

As I whizzed round the Philippines recently, the many conversations about advocacy brought together several past conversations and hobby horses. So here, laid before an indifferent world, (and because everyone loves lists) are my 7 top (and very random) tips for how to sharpen up your advocacy work. Technical Fixes: What’s your Home Page?: Everyone in […]

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Is Oxfam finally growing up? Report back from the frontline (sort of)

This may sound unlikely, but I’ve just spent three days at an internal Oxfam meeting and I’m really enthused. The occasion was the first ever gathering of our ‘country directors’ following a big (and painful) internal overhaul, akin to swallowing a giraffe (in the memorable words of one director), which has seen all the different […]

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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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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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How to write Killer Facts and Graphics – what are your best examples?

Time for a spot of crowd sourcing. We’ve had research guidelines on our intranet for ages, covering everything from survey design to writing for impact. Now we’re updating them and, more importantly, making some of them public on Oxfam’s Policy and Practice website. I’ve been lumbered with revising the ‘Killer Fact’ two pager, so naturally […]

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So the world is a complex system – what should aid agencies do differently?

Had a fascinating chat with Jean Boulton (right) this week. Jean is a physicist-by-training (a real one, unlike me – I jumped ship after my first degree). These days she is a management consultant and social scientist who has been working to bring ideas of complexity theory into organisations for many years. More recently she […]

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