Featured image for “What’s it like Explaining NGOs to Senior Military types from 40 Countries?”

What’s it like Explaining NGOs to Senior Military types from 40 Countries?

November 30, 2023
Got a grilling from an unusual audience (for me) last week. 100+ senior military officers (colonels and above) from 40 countries, attending what amounts to a UK-sponsored ‘military Masters’ (my words) – a year-long course on strategy for future leaders. Can’t be more specific as it was Chatham House rule. My task was to introduce them to the wonderful world
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What to read on the new UK White Paper on International Development?

November 21, 2023
When I joined Oxfam in the mid-noughties, it was a time of Big Documents: The World Development Report, The Human Development Report etc etc. At regular intervals, the latest tome would thud onto my desk and require study, debate, lots of panels and press commentary. The tomes combined in-depth research and narrative – lots of narrative – about the nature
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Voices of Gaza: ‘They destroyed the smell of Jasmine, the memories, the love’

November 15, 2023
Oxfam has been receiving increasingly desperate voicenotes from staff and partners inside the Gaza strip. Here are some edited transcripts and links to give you a sense of the suffering that is unfolding: The Oxfam Partner Eman Shanan founded Aid and Hope in 2009, to support women with cancer in Gaza. Oxfam has been funding Aid and Hope through its
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Featured image for “Why a “humanitarian pause” or “humanitarian corridors” are simply not the answer in Gaza”

Why a “humanitarian pause” or “humanitarian corridors” are simply not the answer in Gaza

November 6, 2023
This post by Oxfam’s Richard Stanforth and Magnus Corfixen went up on Oxfam’s Views and Voices blog on Friday Why are Oxfam and other humanitarian organisations not welcoming calls for corridors, pauses and so-called “safe zones” to address the humanitarian catastrophe in Gaza? Richard Stanforth and Magnus Corfixen explain – and set out why a ceasefire is the only credible
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Why did the Street Movements of the 2010s fail?

October 23, 2023
Been reading some interesting (and challenging) reflections on protest movements recently, so the next two days will cover what I’ve learned. First up a Guardian ‘long read’ from Vincent Bevins, a journo, on ‘Why did the Street Movements of the 2010s fail’. The piece is based on his new book,  If We Burn: The Mass Protest Decade and the Missing
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What would make an Atheist spend a day discussing Faith and Development?

October 19, 2023
Had a good chat last week about one of my enduring hobby-horses: the role of faith in development, and the aid sector’s massive secular blind spot. The conversation was with Christian Aid’s Lila Caballero Sosa, who (with Islamic Relief, the Joint Learning Initiative and the University of Leeds) is putting together a big event on faith and development for next
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How do we talk about Older People in Development and Activism?

October 12, 2023
Had a nice chat with Cherian Mathews, the incoming head of HelpAge International, this week, which got me thinking about how we talk about the role of older people in development. Our conversation on possible future directions for HAI mainly centred on narratives and tactics. Narratives Obviously no one wants to go with ‘older people as victims’, which manages to
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Featured image for “New Version of the free online ‘Make Change Happen’ course launched this week – check it out”

New Version of the free online ‘Make Change Happen’ course launched this week – check it out

October 3, 2023
One of the more enjoyable things I’ve been involved in at Oxfam in recent years is the Make Change Happen MOOC (Massive Open Online Course – where have you been?). A new version is launching this week – if you haven’t already done it, let me try and persuade you to sign up/promote it to your networks.  When joining the
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Amazing new Resource Guide on Humanitarianism

August 23, 2023
Woah, if you’re even slightly interested in knowing more about the world of humanitarian response, check out the new ALNAP Learning Links | Free academic resources and teaching tools for humanitarian courses and programmes. Here’s the blurb:  ‘ALNAP is the global network for advancing humanitarian learning. We want to provide future generations of humanitarians with unfettered access to our very best
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Featured image for “How adaptive M&E from the peace sector can help demonstrate the value of aid”

How adaptive M&E from the peace sector can help demonstrate the value of aid

August 10, 2023
Guest post by Sebastian Kratzer A few years ago, Alex Douglas from the Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue shared his thoughts on this blog on what aid practitioners could learn from the peace sector’s approach  to operating in complex political environments. But the lessons from the peace world for other aid practitioners can be spun even further. Over the last decade,
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Do Southern-based Transnationals behave worse than Northern ones?

August 9, 2023
I’m a big fan of league tables for comparing performance by powerful players, whether governments, NGOs or corporates. If done well, they can prompt a race to the top, with players competing to move up the table in successive years. The latest one of these to cross my timeline was the 2023 Food and Beverage Benchmark Report, produced by ‘KnowTheChain’,
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Featured image for “How did we get here? Great chronology of citizen and corporate action on climate”

How did we get here? Great chronology of citizen and corporate action on climate

August 1, 2023
I’m spending the summer lull updating How Change Happens and am coming across some really interesting stuff. To update the book’s case study on the Paris Climate Summit of 2015, Irene Guijt sent over ‘A short history of the successes and failures of the international climate change negotiations’ an excellent (open access) paper by Mark Maslin, John Lang and Fiona
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