Hunger, Inequality and the Birth of Oxfam

May 18, 2022
This post by Oxfam’s Max Lawson first appeared on its Equals blog. I’ll be summarizing our new paper on the East Africa hunger crisis tomorrow. The other day I was speaking to Nellie, an old friend and primary school teacher in Malawi, about the rapidly rising prices: ‘Prices have risen, just since last month.  Imagine a loaf of bread was
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How can we make sure Covid-driven localization in aid endures after the pandemic?

July 15, 2021
Lots of people are hailing a surge in pandemic-driven ‘localization’ as one of the silver linings of the current grimscape. The argument goes that lockdowns have suspended aid’s standard ‘white men in shorts’ operating model, allowing local organizations to expand into the space, run their own responses, (eg to humanitarian emergencies) and generally take more control of the aid process
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A Humanitarian ‘Cheat Sheet’ that should definitely be on your weekly reading list

July 13, 2021
Got some spare slots on the blog at the moment, so thought I would introduce you to my favourite weekly update on all things humanitarian – the Cheat Sheet, from the New Humanitarian magazine. Here’s their latest round-up (or you can listen to the 16m podcast): Rural Afghan women on peace, war, and ‘our role in society’ Greater freedom, better
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How did research on Chiefs’ Courts in South Sudan influence famine early warning systems?

April 22, 2021
This is an edit of a post that went up on the LSE Africa blog earlier this week I’ve been having a fascinating time recently looking at the real world impact of some of the research by the LSE’s Centre for Public Authority and International Development and exploring some of the factors which help achieve that impact. The result will be
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What is COVID-19 telling us about leadership?

March 18, 2021
Guest post from Heather Marquette and Sian Herbert, both University of Birmingham. Their paper on ­­COVID-19, Governance and Conflict: Emerging Impacts and Future Evidence Needs, reviews hundreds of pieces of research and analysis and is published by the Knowledge for Development (K4D) COVID-19 Resource Hub. COVID-19 has so far proven to be a unique – and ongoing – global natural
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When throwing evidence and facts is not enough. How Change Happens in the Humanitarian System

February 25, 2021
Here’s a sentence you don’t often hear. I just read a really interesting conference report. Transforming Change: How Change Really Happens and What we can do about it, by Paul Knox Clarke, summarizes a big 2017 discussion on the drivers of change in the humanitarian system, as well as the blockers. I reported on it at the time, but went
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Bigger? Smaller? And What about the Missing Middle? Great discussion on the future of Humanitarianism

January 8, 2021
For reasons I hope to be able to explain in a few weeks, I’m mugging up on debates in the humanitarian sector, and really enjoying the ‘Rethinking Humanitarianism’ podcast series from The New Humanitarian and CGD. Each episode provides a full transcript, but no accompanying blog, so I thought I’d summarize November’s discussion on forces of disruption and the future
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You can’t rethink humanitarianism without also rethinking the money. Here’s one way to do it.

December 11, 2020
I have a confession to make. I don’t listen to podcasts, even though I inflict them on others. When I’m at my desk, I’m much happier skimming documents (using my mad speed reading skills). If I’m out and about, I hate having something jabbering away in my ears. But my resolve is being sorely tested by the new series on
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Is Covid a window of opportunity for localizing aid? Learning from a natural experiment in the Pacific

November 27, 2020
Guest blog by Chris Roche, Josie Flint and Fiona Tarpey   As the COVID pandemic spread around the world a significant natural experiment took place in the Pacific. The vast majority of non-Pacific international aid workers, technical specialists and diplomats returned to their home countries. Preliminary findings of a real-time monitoring exercise of the effects on development and humanitarian organisations
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Initial Findings on Emergent Agency in a time of Covid – launch webinar and briefing

November 6, 2020
In September we kicked off a really interesting project on ‘Emergent Agency in a Time of Covid’, asking people if they wanted to be part of a collective effort to share and discuss the grassroots responses to the pandemic and start to explore their longer-term legacy. The response was encouraging (even a bit overwhelming!), and we’ve spent the last couple
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Where is the Aid Biz making progress on Localization?

June 30, 2020
There has been a spate of recent reports on localization, especially in humanitarian response. (Has anyone done a synthesis?) I’ve been browsing through a few – some highlights. First, an obvious, but important point. ‘Localization’ has always been a feature of emergency response, since long before today’s aid system was dreamt of. Globalization and migration have added new twists: ‘instances
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‘The Saviour of the Mothers’ in times of Covid-19: A Brief History of Hand-Washing

March 24, 2020
Guest post by Vanita Suneja of WaterAid Covid-19 is currently   occupying our collective mind space.  Apart from avoiding mass gatherings, the foremost message given through public media and health advisories across the world is on hand hygiene. We are being been advised to clean our hands regularly and thoroughly with soap and water or with alcohol-based sanitizer. Hand washing is
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