10 Killer Facts on Democracy and Elections

July 12, 2013
Ok this is a bit weird, but I want to turn an infographic into a blogpost. The ODI, which just seems to get better and better, has just put out a 10 killer facts on elections and democracy infographic by Alina Rocha Menocal, and it’s great. Here’s a summary: Most countries today are formal democracies. An astonishing political transformation has taken

What to read (and watch) on Egypt

July 11, 2013
I’m turning into a big fan of crowdsourcing. This set of top analyses, infographics and videos was suggested by a mix of Oxfam Egyptologists and a call for suggestions on twitter. Given how polarized the coup v revolution debate is right now, I won’t attach names to particular pieces, but thanks to all the Oxfamistas, plus Laurence Chandy, Kate Cooper,

Could crowdsourcing fund activists as well as goats and hairdressers?

July 10, 2013
I’ve often wondered if Oxfam or other large INGOs could include the option of sponsoring an activist, either as something to accompany the goats, toilets, chickens etc that people now routinely buy each other for Christmas, or instead of sponsoring a child. I had vague ideas about people signing up to sponsor an activist in Egypt or South Africa, and

What is ‘leverage’ (NGO-speak version) and why does it matter?

July 9, 2013
Last week I attended the twice yearly gathering of Oxfam GB’s big cheeses – the regional directors, Oxford bosses and a smattering of more exotic cheeses from other Oxfam affiliates (Australia and US this time). We started off with a tour of the regions –  what’s on their minds? 3 common themes emerged: political upheaval (disenchantment with elected governments,  protest,

Can impact diaries help us analyse our impact when working in complex environments?

July 8, 2013
One of the problems about working in a complex system is that not only do you never know what is going to happen, but you aren’t sure what developments, information, feedback etc will turn out (with hindsight) to be important. In these results-obsessed times, what does that mean for monitoring and evaluation? One answer is to keep what I call

The Monty Python guide to aid and development. Part Two – Economics

July 5, 2013
So another Friday comes round, we all need a break, so following the triumph of last week’s Monty Python guide to the politics of development, let’s move on to economics…… Redistribution is trickier than we thought [via Andrea Franco] Wellbeing v growth (the Yorkshire version) Banks and corporate social responsibility and keep the suggestions coming – there may yet be

Women’s Leadership Groups in Pakistan – some good news and inspiration

July 4, 2013
I normally try and keep Oxfam trumpet-blowing to a minimum on this blog, but am happy to make an exception for this piece from Jacky Repila (right) on a new report on our Raising Her Voice programme in Pakistan, a country that ranks 134th out of 135 countries on the Global Gender Gap Index (only Yemen is worse). When Veeru

Oil spills, prisons and the madness of GDP

July 3, 2013
“Average national income is a notoriously imperfect measure of the average person’s well-being. The 2010 BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico – with clean-up and damage costs of $90 billion – added about $300 to the average American’s “income.” But it added nothing to our well-being. The world’s most expensive prison system, costing almost $40 billion per year,

Pretty good so far, what’s next? Jim Kim’s first year at the World Bank

July 2, 2013
By Nicolas Mombrial, head of the Oxfam International’s Washington office A year ago today, the World Bank got a new chief. In all its 66 years, the bank head has always been an American, and Jim Yong Kim was president Obama’s pick. We’ll never know if Jim Kim was the best person for the job, we said at the time,

Take a pause: what do the Uttrakhand floods tell us about India’s development model?

July 1, 2013
Vanita Suneja, Oxfam India’s Economic Justice Lead, looks at the underlying causes of the devastating floods in Uttrakhand The recent flash floods in Uttrakhand have already claimed around 1000 lives and more than 3000 people are still missing.   One of the worst calamities caused by an extreme weather event in the form of cloud burst and high intensity rains in