Tag: NGOs

Is the blogging bubble about to burst?

I’ve been worrying about the viability of blogging recently. Partly it’s finding myself squeezing this kind of thing in before breakfast and wondering if I really ought to get a life (although I’ve always thought work-life balance was over-rated – depends on the work, depends on the life….). But it was also the raised eyebrows […]

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How can you do influencing work in one party states?

Fascinating conversation during a recent visit to East Africa about how we work in Rwanda and Ethiopia, both arguably effective but authoritarian states, with little time for ‘people on the streets’- style campaigning. Does that mean it is impossible to influence the state’s policies and practices? Definitely not, but you need to do things differently, […]

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The death of Doha? But the WTO lives on.

This piece of mine appeared on the Guardian development page yesterday (plus here, I include a few afterthoughts at the end) “The Doha round of global trade talks, launched by the World Trade Organisation (WTO) in November 2001 amid a surge of solidarity after the 9/11 attacks, is experiencing the long slide into irrelevance that […]

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How has campaigning changed since slavery was abolished?

Recently I discussed ‘public action and influencing change’ with a small group of NGO types at an aid conference in Edinburgh. We started off by reviewing the factors behind the victory of the abolitionists back in the early 19th Century, and what had changed (or stayed the same) since then. Same: many of the tactics […]

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Hedge Funds for Development? An evening with Ark

I spoke earlier this week at an annual retreat of a very different kind of charity – ARK. Set up by a bunch of hedge fund managers (it prefers the term ‘alternative investment industry’) in 2002, ARK raises a pile of money from glitzy gala dinners (see pic), and uses it to do what it […]

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Why Google Reader saves you time and expands your mind, with some links I liked on Africa, Climate Change and Aid

Back from holiday and in about an hour, I’ve just skimmed 250 pieces from the last three weeks of writing from my 15 favourite writers and bloggers, everyone from Paul Krugman and Martin Wolf to Texas in Africa and Political Climate. I didn’t have to go searching for them – they were all waiting for […]

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Is BRAC the first international NGO from the South?

Thinking Big, Going Global is a new IDS working paper on what is arguably the first fully fledged international NGO from the South. Since 2002, BRAC, a Bangladeshi NGO, has gone global, expanding its programme of ‘microfinance plus’ (education, health, enterprise support, etc) to Afghanistan, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Southern Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda, and Pakistan, formally […]

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This is why I work for Oxfam

Yolette Etienne, the Oxfam GB country director in Haiti, in an extraordinary interview with Jon Snow of Channel 4 News, matter of factly discusses burying her mother in her garden before rejoining the relief effort. For regular updates (audio, video, text), links etc from the relief effort, go to this website set up by some tech […]

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Which governments are best/worst at ending hunger?

League tables are a powerful weapon in the armoury of NGO advocacy. Politicians in the country that ends up in the top slot feel like they are getting some fleeting recognition for their efforts, while those at the bottom are annoyed and hopefully prodded into action. Newspapers love them too as they reduce a complex […]

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Why demanding 'political will' is lazy and unproductive

I find myself getting increasingly exasperated by the term ‘political will’. Let me explain. The standard NGO shtick, whether on development, environment or pretty much anything else, is a three parter a) description of the problem b) clever proposal for solving the problem c) call for leaders to show ‘political will’ in adopting the proposed […]

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Sensibilist or Swivel Eyed? Weighing the arguments for greater radicalism in NGO advocacy

At what point does an advocacy NGO cease being ‘ahead of the curve’, ‘visionary’ etc (choose your own cliché) and instead become simply bonkers, a prophet ranting in a wilderness uninhabited by anyone with a smidgeon of decision-making power? This subject kept cropping up at an Oxfam internal discussion the other day. Unfortunately, I framed […]

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How do you get a job in a development NGO (starting with one in my team)?

I’m prompted to post this partly because there’s a job coming up in my team at Oxfam. We’re looking for a research methods adviser to build the skills of our staff around the world who commission and/or conduct smart research to inform Oxfam’s programmes and advocacy. If you’re interested, read more here, and you need […]

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