Links I Liked, Christmas Edition

December 21, 2018
A few seasonal links before I head off for a Christmas break. See you in 2019, when we’ll find out if the only way is up…. If Jesus was born in 2018…. Africa’s must-read books of 2018 Some global governance has been going on, despite everything: Briefings on the new global migration pact and the Katowice climate change agreement. Pratham:

Book Review: New Power: How it’s Changing the 21st Century and Why you need to Know

December 20, 2018
Here’s my recommendation for a last minute panic Christmas pressie for your activist friends. You’re welcome As befits a grumpy old technophobe, I have long been sceptical of the hype around online activism. I’ve cited Malcolm Gladwell’s bah humbug piece on the Arab Spring ‘why the revolution will not be tweeted’ as pretty much summing up my views. But after

What do Witch Doctors actually do? I interviewed one to find out – their job description may surprise you

December 19, 2018
Guest post from Robin Oryem (@oryem_robin ), a researcher for LSE’s CPAID programme in Northern Uganda. As part of trying to understand how Public Authority operates in such messy places, Robin has been interviewing local witch doctors. One of the things that any Acholi person wants to avoid is to be associated with a witch doctor, but I took courage and

Why do stable Political Party systems suddenly collapse? Some intriguing insights from Bolivia: Podcast (20m) and blogpost

December 18, 2018
A new paper by my LSE colleague Jean-Paul Faguet caught my eye, not least because of the timing. It’s a reflection on the causes of the rapid collapse of previously stable political party systems, based on the experience of Bolivia. Impressive timing – we met and recorded this podcast just as Theresa May and Emmanual Macron were facing their respective political

When to write in DevSpeak; when to use Plain Language? More handy tips.

December 17, 2018
Andrew Johnston of Words for Change felt moved to respond to Friday’s post on the use of plain language in development comms. He argues that writers have to be able to write for multiple audiences simultaneously, which reminds me of Disney films’ amazing ability to combine a simple narrative to entertain the kids with enough irony and knowing references to

Just to be clear: why Devspeak needs to adopt Plain Language

December 14, 2018
Following the recent FP2P discussion on devspeak, Kate Murphy of Translators Without Borders got in touch and said she needed to vent. Be my guest. If the aid sector is to communicate more effectively, we must do more than tame the rampant devspeak that Duncan highlighted in his recent blog. Instead we should focus on presenting a clear and consistent

Paul Polman on Capitalism, Leadership & Sustainability

December 13, 2018
Paul Polman is stepping down as CEO of Unilever, and the business pages are full of tributes, led by the FT, which calls him ‘the standout CEO of the past decade’. I interviewed him in 2016, as part of the research for How Change Happens. We met in Paul’s office in Unilever House, its cavernous Thames-side HQ. Inside the art

How can the UN become a Thought Leader again?

December 12, 2018
When was the last time you read anything from UNCTAD? Back in the day (say, early 2000s), its annual Trade and Development Report (TDR) was one of the big annual milestones (along with the World Development Report, Human Development Report etc). They were essential reading for any policy wonk. They’re all still being published, but they make much less of

Is Meritocracy the new Aristocracy? And the 11 Tricks that Elites use to capture Politics.

December 11, 2018
My Oxfam colleague and regular FP2P contributor Max Lawson (right) sends out a weekly summary of his reading on inequality (he leads Oxfam’s advocacy work on it). They’re great, and Max has opened his mailing list up to the anyone who’s interested – just email, with ‘subscribe’ in the subject line. Here’s his latest effort, covering two issues: a reflection on meritocracy and

Links I Liked

December 10, 2018
One more week to apply for a new job working with me to take this blog up a level, source lots of great content from southern authors etc. Details here (16th December deadline). How Change Happens now available in Chinese These motor cycle gangs are getting out of hand. Ht The Filling Station Tom Baker risks another sausagefestgate with this male-dominated,

How does Localization work on the ground? Podcast with Evans Onyiego and video of his work in Northern Kenya

December 7, 2018
On the margins of the localization discussion I covered yesterday, I grabbed a few minutes to interview Evans Onyiego. Evans runs a local Caritas office in Maralal, in Northern Kenya, where the Church is playing a big role in trying to rebuild trust between ethnic groups and communities whose traditional rivalries have been turbo-charged by the arrival of automatic weapons. He’s

Localization in Aid – why isn’t it happening? What to do about it?

December 6, 2018
Spent two days this week discussing ‘Localization in Conflict Settings’. The subject is littered with aid jargon, but important – how does the humanitarian system ‘transfer power and resources’ to ‘local actors’ rather than outsiders insisting on running the whole thing (badly) themselves? It was organized by Saferworld and Save the Children Sweden to help flesh out a research programme,