Featured image for “Why did the Street Movements of the 2010s fail?”

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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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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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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Evaluating the Evaluations: What lessons can Oxfam draw from a Decade of Scrutiny?

July 27, 2023
Propaganda and opinion are easy; establishing the truth is hard (and I speak here as someone once branded Oxfam’s ‘chief opinionator’ – thanks John Magrath). Oxfam has been wrestling with different ways to evaluate impact for decades and in a new paper, a team led by Katrina Barnes ploughed through 67 ‘Effectiveness Reviews’ – rigorous impact evaluations on randomly selected
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The Role of ‘Critical Friends’ in Research and Aid Programmes

July 20, 2023
One particular chapter in How to Engage Policy Makers with your Research felt particularly relevant to me. For some years, I have been working with Exfamer Jane Lonsdale, in Tanzania, Myanmar and now in Papua New Guinea (PNG), where she helps run a big Aussie-funded programme on citizen engagement. I support Jane and the teams she works with by commenting
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How Can Researchers Support the Policy Shift to Sustainability?

July 19, 2023
My favourite chapter in How to Engage Policy Makers with your Research (in addition to the one on Critical Friends which goes up tomorrow) was by Alice Owen, a prof at Leeds university, on ‘Supporting policy towards sustainability’. It’s a lovely reflection from a senior academic on the lessons she has learned in engaging with policy makers over the years.
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Showing Your Working when you come up with a ‘Killer Fact’

July 12, 2023
Oxfam got some headlines last week with ‘World’s 722 biggest companies ‘making $1tn in windfall profits’’. This is a good example of a ‘killer fact’ – a memorable statistic that summarizes an injustice, in this case a massive windfall for big corporates at a time of global austerity and spiralling food and fuel prices. Here’s my 2019 guide to writing
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