Featured image for “GELI Stories – Building Coalitions between UN Agencies and Government Ministries in Eswatini”

GELI Stories – Building Coalitions between UN Agencies and Government Ministries in Eswatini

February 20, 2024
In the second of this series of podcasts with UN and other aid leaders making change happen on the frontline, I talked to Cissy Kabasuuga of WFP about how she managed to unblock a school feeding programme in Eswatini. Firoz Lalji Institute for Africa · GELI Stories-Cissy Kabasuuga on building coalitions within UN & Eswatini for school feeding Duncan: Welcome
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GELI Stories – Seizing a Chance Meeting with Iran’s President to Unblock Food Shipments

February 13, 2024
One of the best things about the course I give on ‘Influencing for Senior Leaders: Analysis, Strategy, and Practice’ is the anecdotes from the participants, who are working in the most difficult of circumstances and often achieve amazing results. So recently I started recording some of them to come up with a series of ‘GELI Stories’ (GELI is the name
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Featured image for “Claire Melamed on Data, Power and Sustainable Development”

Claire Melamed on Data, Power and Sustainable Development

January 10, 2024
For this podcast, I sat down a few months ago to discuss data and development with Claire Melamed, who runs the Global Partnership for Sustainable Development Data. Apologies for delay, Claire – got caught up in internal traffic. Also apologies for length of this transcript – turns out 30m talking = 2 blog length pieces. Duncan: Like any good Englishman,
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What are the Grounds for Hope in a World of Wrecks?

January 8, 2024
The title is a line from Rebecca Solnit’s ‘Hope in the Dark’, which I read over Christmas as an antidote to the grimness of the daily news. It’s a beautifully written collection of her essays and, at 140 pages, mercifully short. In the afterword, Solnit explains: ‘This book was written for the encouragement of activists who share some of my
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How Blogs can Change Government Policy

December 19, 2023
Now the LSE term is over, I’ve been catching up with the backlog of The Economist and Prospect (my two print subscriptions). One Economist piece caught my eye – ‘How to Change the Policy of the British Government’. The answer is apparently….blogging! ‘To wangle £11bn ($14bn) out of the British government, it helps to write a blog post. “Full expensing”, which
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Featured image for “Mia Mottley on Slavery, Poverty, George Floyd, Climate and the Future of the World”

Mia Mottley on Slavery, Poverty, George Floyd, Climate and the Future of the World

December 14, 2023
I was lucky enough to attend the Prime Minister of Barbados, Mia Mottley’s extraordinary speech at LSE last week (Video here or audio file here). Props to outgoing Oxfam CEO Danny Sriskandarajah and whoever else from Oxfam was involved in pulling it together, along with the LSE’s International Inequalities Institute, who hosted. It was jaw-dropping for both the performance, interweaving
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UN Women makes Norm Change central to its mission

November 28, 2023
Bafflingly, I was recently invited to an online ‘Expert Group Meeting’ to help UN Women flesh out a really important new strategy – making norm change central to its role. This from the Concept Note for the session: ‘In recognition of the emerging emphasis on an articulated approach to social norms in international development and acknowledging that discriminatory social norms
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What can we learn from looking at the overlaps between innovations in ways of doing research and neglected development issues?

November 23, 2023
The same subjects have been coming up again and again in random conversations recently, especially the ones where someone comes down to South London for a general chat in a local coffee shop (one of my favourite ways of avoiding work). In a recent discussion with Oxfam Mexico’s Estefanie Hechenberger, a small penny dropped – the value of looking at
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What do 70 Masters students from around the world want to campaign on?

November 17, 2023
I’ve just spent a busy few days giving feedback on students’ proposals for their assignments in my activism class at the LSE, which I teach along with Tom Kirk. For this they have to pick a topic that they feel strongly about, and design an influencing strategy to achieve a positive change. They have to work through the course content
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Featured image for “Pracademics: just a clunky new word, or something more significant/substantial?”

Pracademics: just a clunky new word, or something more significant/substantial?

November 9, 2023
Pracademics. Horrible word, interesting concept: people who straddle, however uncomfortably, the worlds of practice and academia. This week, I spent an hour talking through pracademia with fellow pracs Tom Kirk (LSE) and Willem Elbers (Radboud University), who’s editing a Development in Practice double issue on the topic as part of a new initiative to promote pracademia (they were inundated with
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Featured image for “RIP Saleemul Huq, a true climate hero”

RIP Saleemul Huq, a true climate hero

October 30, 2023
Over the weekend, the horrible news came through of the death at 71 of Saleemul Huq, a scientist and activist who attended every single global negotiation on climate change since 1992. Saleem was a lovely man, a remorseless but invariably polite campaigner for climate action, both as Director of the International Centre for Climate Change and Development (ICCCAD) in Bangladesh
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Featured image for “Think tanks are struggling. They need to change.”

Think tanks are struggling. They need to change.

October 25, 2023
Guest post by Enrique Mendizabal of On Think Tanks Just 15% of respondents say it’s getting easier to operate as a think tank, according to the 2023 Think tank state of the sector report. And over 50% of respondents in Latin America & the Caribbean, the USA & Canada, and Africa say it is getting harder to operate. I think
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