Financing for whose development? How official Development Finance Institutions support tax havens

November 4, 2014
This guest post comes from Mathieu Vervynckt, Policy & Research Analyst with the European Network on Debt and Development (Eurodad) The Third UN Conference on Financing for Development(FfD), set to take place in Addis Ababa next year, will be a crucial opportunity to discuss two of the hottest topics in development finance today: the use of scarce public resources to

Let’s all eat cake: The terrible inefficiency of inequality

November 3, 2014
Alex Cobham, of the Center for Global Development (@alexcobham), welcomes Oxfam’s new inequality campaign, argues for making inequality a core part of the post-2015 framework, and comes over all French Revolution on wealth registers and cake (the eating of). International acceptance of stark economic inequalities reflects a grand political failure. A failure that locks in the wasting of human potential for

Why campaigning on fossil fuels is not just Greenpeace’s job, and how the development community needs to get it right

October 31, 2014
Guest post from Hannah Stoddart, currently managing Oxfam’s advocacy and influencing in Rwanda (but normally Head of Policy, Food and Climate Justice at Oxfam GB) Last week Oxfam launched its first ever report condemning the fossil fuel industry as the main barrier to action on climate change. Oxfam joins a growing movement that recognises that tackling the power of the

Even it Up: Big global campaign on inequality launched today

October 30, 2014
Today Oxfam launches Even It Up, its big new inequality campaign. For me, the most striking killer fact from the launch report: ‘The number of billionaires has doubled since the financial crisis, as inequality spirals out of control. In the same period, at least a million mothers have died in childbirth due to a lack of basic health services.’ Although

What if we scrapped The Project – are there better ways to fund development?

October 29, 2014
Yesterday I gave some general feedback on last week’s Doing Development Differently conference. Today I want to talk about projects, or rather The Project. Joel Hellman of the World Bank gave the following definition: What is a project? –          Time bound (1-5 years) –          A Legal Agreement –          A cluster of contracts – employment, implementing partners, consultants, evaluation. All of

Doing Development Differently: Report back from two mind-blowing days at Harvard

October 28, 2014
Spent an intense two days at Harvard last week, taking part in a ‘Doing Development Differently’ (DDD) seminar, hosted by Matt Andrews, who runs Harvard’s ‘Building State Capability’ programme and ODI. About 40 participants, a mixture of multilaterals and donors (big World Bank contingent), consultants and project design and implementation people, and a couple of (more or less) tame NGO people

An authorial moment

October 24, 2014
This has never happened to me before (sadly), so I thought it was worth recording. And anyway, I’m a suffering author right now, so please indulge me. She was sitting 3 rows in front of me on the bus from Oxford down to London. Dangly earrings. Cool leather jacket. Handbag probably fashionable (I wouldn’t know). She opens it and takes

Participatory Evaluation, or how to find out what really happened in your project

October 23, 2014
Trust IDS to hide its light under a bushel of off-putting jargon. It took me a while to get round to reading ‘Using Participatory Process Evaluation to Understand the Dynamics of Change in a Nutrition Education Programme’, by Andrea Cornwall, but I’m glad I did – it’s brilliant. Some highlights: [What’s special about participatory process evaluation?] ‘Conventional impact assessment works on

Let’s Talk About Sex: why sexual satisfaction & pleasure should be on the international development agenda

October 22, 2014
This guest post is by Chloe Safier (@chloelenas), Regional Gender Lead for Oxfam in Southern Africa, with thoughtful contributions from Marc Wegerif I was sitting at dinner with my Oxfam colleagues on a Sunday night, just before a country strategy meeting. Over grilled fish and cokes, I mentioned an article I’d seen recently in the Guardian that spoke to the need

How Soap Operas and cable TV promote women’s rights and family planning

October 21, 2014
Taking a break from the How Change Happens book this week to head off to Harvard for a Matt Andrews/ODI seminar on ‘Doing Development Differently’ + a day at Oxfam America on Friday. Will report back, I’m sure. Meanwhile, I’ve just finished the draft chapter on the power of social norms, and how they change (and can be changed). ODI

From transactional to transformational: thinking about the future of Social Accountability. Twaweza guest post.

October 17, 2014
Varja Lipovsek & Ben Taylor of Twaweza, one of my favourite accountability NGOs, read the tea leaves on the future of their field In the private rooms of the Royal Society in London, under the stern gaze of Isaac Newton, the World Bank, DFID, ODI and a handful of others gathered recently to discuss an evaluation of the Bank’s Governance

Is doing something about inequality a choice between bash the rich v tackling poverty? Some thoughts for Blog Action Day

October 16, 2014
Today is Blog Action Day, and we’re all supposed to blog about inequality. Ricardo Fuentes (Oxfam Head of Research) & his team are even marking the day by kicking off a new inequality-themed blog, Mind the Gap – check it out. I’ve already done my more general call to arms for BAD, so here’s something more in keeping with this blog’s usual