Topic: how change happens

Thinking and working politically: What have we learned since 2013?

February 1, 2022
It’s always a red letter day when a new paper from Graham Teskey drops. His most recent is Thinking and working politically: What have we learned since 2013? For those that don’t know him, Graham is a consummate insider-outsider within the aid sector – long stints at DFID (UK), DFAT (Australia) and now Abt (Management Consultants). From this vantage point

The links between corruption and human rights – top new report from Transparency International

January 27, 2022
It appears to have turned into anti-corruption week on the blog (see Tuesday’s post on Heather Marquette’s work). Transparency International’s annual ‘Corruption Perceptions Index’ dropped the same day and makes an important link between corruption and human rights: ‘The 2021 CPI results show that countries with well-protected civil and political liberties generally control corruption better.’ Here’s the relevant section, which argues that

‘We the Helpers’. White Saviourism or a Smart Defence of Aid?

January 26, 2022
Got a very thought-provoking email from Romilly Greenhill at ONE Campaign over the weekend.  She was drawing my attention to the Aid Alliance, a group of NGOs (including Oxfam) working together to build public support for UK aid. This week it launched something called ‘We the Helpers’. Some thoughts: First the message: Aid is helping. ‘From aid workers to donors

What Heather Marquette is reading on Corruption, Crime & Conflict

January 25, 2022
Heather Marquette (occasional contributor to this blog) has started a new newsletter drawing on her work for SOC ACE – the Serious Organised Crime & Anti-Corruption Evidence programme (and sister programme to SOAS ACE and Global Integrity ACE) and lots more on corruption, organised crime, conflict, security, foreign policy and development.. The first two editions dropped this week, and here are some highlights (minus

Deconstructing this year’s Oxfam Davos report – what makes it so good?

January 20, 2022
I know this is the week of Blue Monday, when we are all supposed to feel at our most miserable, but I’m not feeling it – this is the time of year when I am proudest of working for Oxfam, because of its annual Davos report. For several years now, this has focussed on inequality, and I honestly think (though

Being a feminist academic in Pakistan, and why Open Access is necessary for decolonizing Academia. An interview with Ayesha Khan.

January 19, 2022
I sat down recently with Ayesha Khan, who works with the Collective for Social Science Research in Karachi, Pakistan. She is author of The Women’s Movement in Pakistan: Activism, Islam and Democracy (2018). Her FP2P post on that book is here. Here’s the podcast and below, a partial transcript. Enjoy. AK: Most of my professional life I’ve heard from detractors,

Who is helping protest movements engage with Policy Makers (and is that a good idea)?

January 13, 2022
A researcher got in touch this week to interview me for a scoping study for a funder that wants ‘to explore whether and how philanthropic actors can support movements as they move from political disruption to shaping political processes and outcomes… to identify gaps, and ultimately, to design a programme that complements existing projects.’ Firstly, chapeau to the philanthropist for

How to Monitor Political Context – some practical advice

January 12, 2022
I’ve been chatting to Johan Eldebo at World Vision about its work on adaptive management/systems thinking. WV is the 1000lb gorilla of INGOs – four times bigger in terms of income than Oxfam, last time I looked, and does some really interesting thinking in this area, especially in humanitarian response, where things are often chaotic and fast moving – discussed

What does Governance look like ‘from below’?: great methodology; snappy format; fascinating findings; exemplary writing – please read.

January 11, 2022
The Action for Empowerment and Accountability research programme (covered regularly on this blog) is drawing to a close in a welter of research papers summarizing their findings. I was particularly taken with the one from the ‘Governance at the Margins’ team, both because of the format and the content. Here’s the link (sorry, forgot it in first version of this

Feminist Protests and Politics in a World in Crisis

January 6, 2022
The latest issue of Gender and Development just dropped, and it’s on ‘Feminist Protests and Politics in a World in Crisis’ (Open Access). With academic journals, I must confess, I rarely read beyond the overview/introduction, but there’s some excellent and (to me at least) new insights in this one, by Sohela Nazneen and Awino Okech. Some of the extracts that

Research for Impact: A Conversation (and podcast) with Researchers in the Himalayas

December 9, 2021
Another day, another conversation on research for impact, this time with ICIMOD, a network of thinktanks working to protect people, environment and culture across 8 countries of the Himalayan region. They asked me to record the conversation, thereby producing an accidental podcast. Here’s a partial, tidied-up transcript for those who prefer the written word. I’ve focussed on things that add

INGO Research for Impact: a Conversation with Save the Children

December 7, 2021
I had a lot of fun with Save the Children last week, whose advocacy team asked me to talk to them about ‘Research for Impact’. The fun started even before the talk – I idly tweeted the night before asking people what their ‘commonest moans’ were about NGO research. Obviously hit a nerve – 56 responses and counting. Tweeps. What