Can greater transparency help people hold big corporations to account? Some new tools that may help

March 13, 2015
My former boss Phil Bloomer seems to be having fun in his new role running the Business & Human Rights Resource Centre. Here BHRRC researcher Eniko Horvath profiles 2 new interactive platforms on company virtues/vices and how they can help the struggle for corporate responsibility. In Mexico, the Federal Electricity Commission sued activist Bettina Cruz, for her peaceful advocacy on

Four years into the Syrian conflict, we must never lose sight of the civilians behind the ‘story’

March 12, 2015
As the conflict in Syria enters its fifth year, Oxfam’s Head of Humanitarian Policy and Campaigns, Maya Mailer, reflects on a recent trip to Lebanon and Jordan, where she spoke with Syrian refugees, and asks whether we have become immune to the suffering of Syrians. If you type ‘Syria’ into Google News, the headlines that normally appear are about airstrikes,

Blueprint for Revolution, a fantastically readable and useful handbook for activists

March 11, 2015
This review also went up on the Guardian Development Professionals Network site I recently summarized a New York Times piece on non-violent activism, discussing the ideas of the Serbian protestors who overthrew Slobodan Milosevic, and then went on to train protest movements around the world. I’ve now read the new book by one of the leaders, Srjdja Popovic (right), and it’s

What to do about Inequality, Shrinking Wages and the perils of PPPs? A conversation with Kaushik Basu, World Bank chief economist

March 10, 2015
Along with a bunch of policy wonks from NGOs and thinktanks, I had an exchange with World Bank chief economist Kaushik Basu this week. Rules of engagement were that the meeting  was off the record, but I was allowed to blog as long as the Bank saw a draft to make sure I wasn’t about to get him the sack.

Links I Liked

March 9, 2015
Patriotism explained… 12 leading reporters on aid and development – one for your RSS/twitter feed ‘Frequent email checks temporarily lower your intelligence more than being stoned.’ Brilliant tips on how to be (more) efficient 227 studies later, what actually works to improve learning in developing countries? Teacher training, accountability and ‘Pedagogical interventions that match teaching to individual student learning levels’,

The global women’s rights movement: what others can learn, a progress stocktake and some great videos for IWD

March 6, 2015
It’s International Women’s Day on Sunday, which is swiftly followed by celebrations around the 20th anniversary of the 1995 Beijing conference (I still remember the buzz from women returning from that) and the start of the 59th Commission on the Status of Women at the UN – an annual spotlight on progress (or otherwise) on women’s rights. Gender is a

I’m looking for an innovative publisher for my next book (on How Change Happens) – any suggestions?

March 5, 2015
As regular FP2Pistas should have clocked by now, I am writing a book on ‘How Change Happens’. Should have a final manuscript by later this year, to publish in 2016. But in a desperate courageous attempt to be funky and innovative, we want to do things a bit differently this time: 1. It won’t be that long – aiming for

What would persuade the aid business to ‘think and work politically’?

March 4, 2015
Some wonks from the ‘thinking and working politically’ (TWP) network discussed its influencing strategy last week. There were some people with proper jobs there, who demanded Chatham House Rules, which happily means I don’t have to remember who said what (or credit anyone). The discussion was interesting because it covered ground relevant to almost anyone trying to shift an internal

How can research help promote empowerment and accountability?

March 3, 2015
In the development business, DFID is a research juggernaut (180 dedicated staff, £345m annual budget, according to the ad for a new boss for its Research and Evidence Division). So it’s good news that they are consulting researchers, NGOs etc tomorrow on their next round of funding for research on empowerment and accountability (E&A). Unfortunately, I can’t make it, but

Links I Liked

March 2, 2015
Forget mixed panels, how often do you see this at a conference? (although a crèche might have made her life easier…..) [h/t Rahma M Mian] Wonder what Dominique Strauss-Kahn would make of the IMF’s new report on national restrictions on women’s rights ‘Number of wrecked airplanes near the runway of the main airport’. Crowd-sourced “Real World Development Indicators” from Chris Blattman