Who do governments listen to? Some intel from the Oxfam GB media team

March 9, 2009
Oxfam GB’s media team is a class act, and has just done some useful research on ‘influencing the influentials’, interviewing senior figures in Whitehall, journalists and other ‘influentials’ (wonder what qualifies them for that?). Here are some of the headlines:
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Oxfam license to operate in northern Sudan revoked

March 5, 2009
This entry was posted by Oxfam Media Unit on March 5th, 2009 at 12:00 pm – don’t think I’ll risk any editorializing on this one: ‘Oxfam GB has begun to temporarily relocate international staff to Khartoum and some national staff to state capitals in Darfur while it appeals the government’s decision to revoke its registration to work in Sudan. The
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Can NGO advocacy influence states? Social Protection in Georgia

February 25, 2009
Here’s an example from Georgia of how well designed advocacy gets results: in this case helping 34,000 poor families gain access to state benefits and winning the introduction of an appeals procedure for those who feel unfairly excluded. It’s not glamorous, but it made a real difference, so bear with me. Like other post-Soviet Eastern European governments, the Georgian government
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How are effective states going to emerge in Africa?

February 19, 2009
[Sorry to anyone who got a premature alert yesterday – hit the wrong button!] There’s nothing like a visit to Africa – in this case ten days of book promo and financial crisis impact interviews in South Africa and Zambia, to get you thinking about the role of the state. In Southern Africa, as on earlier launches in Uganda, Kenya
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Who reads this blog? Analysis of the first hundred posts

February 16, 2009
Google Analytics is a wonderful thing – it means I can see how many people read this blog, and which country and even city they come from (don’t worry, I can’t get your emails). So what does a trawl of the results for the first hundred posts reveal? Overall the site received over 25,000 visits from about 16,000 people (i.e.
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Medical myth-busting: Why public beats private on health care provision

February 12, 2009
Today Oxfam publishes Blind Optimism: Challenging the myths about private health care in poor countries, written by my colleague Anna Marriott. She summed up the arguments in this op-ed on the Guardian’s Comment is Free website, and was in Washington this week driving the message home to the World Bank, whose default position of ‘private good, public bad’ has so far proved remarkably
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How Open is Your Government? Find out here

February 11, 2009
The latest ‘Open Budget Index‘ (2008), produced by the Open Budget Initiative, ranks governments according to the information they make available to the public throughout the budget process. The main findings are: Only five countries of the 85 surveyed—France, New Zealand, South Africa, the United Kingdom, and the United States—make extensive information publicly available as required by generally accepted good public financial
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What is Gordon Brown thinking on the G20 summit?

February 9, 2009
I joined a roomful of suits today for an hour with the PM. The venue was Lancaster House, the pink marble and gilt architectural cheesecake that will be the venue for the G20 summit on 2 April. Perhaps there’s guilt as well as gilt – Lancaster House previously hosted talks that led to the independence of Zimbabwe, Ghana and Kenya,
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Global Social Democracy – Why I disagree with Walden Bello

February 2, 2009
Just came across ‘The Coming Capitalist Consensus’, a thought-provoking polemic by Walden Bello, the Filipino anti-globalization guru and sociology professor based at Focus on the Global South. Walden argues that a new form of ‘Global Social Democracy’ (GSD) is emerging from the crisis of market fundamentalism and finance capitalism. He sums up its key propositions as:
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Harrowing blogs from Oxfam staff in Gaza

January 8, 2009
To get a feel for life in besieged Gaza right now, have a look at some riveting eye witness accounts here. Oxfam staffer Mohamed Ali writes ‘We have one day left of food and the nappies I bought two weeks ago are nearly gone. They are not good quality as little has been able to enter this strip of land
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Complexity Economics, Evolution and How Change Happens

January 7, 2009
Eric Beinhocker’s book, ‘The Origin of Wealth: Evolution, Complexity and the Radical Remaking of Economics’ (for review see previous post) challenges our understanding of how change happens and the role of would-be ‘change agents’ like Oxfam.
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Reasons to be Cheerful: progress on international justice, arms control, economic and social rights and democracy in Africa

December 17, 2008
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