The Pope just backed a Universal Basic Income and a lot of other stuff

April 15, 2020
Pope Francis generated a lot of buzz this Easter in a letter to ‘our brothers and sisters of popular movements and organizations’. As you’re probably tired of hearing by now, I’m an atheist, but fascinated by the role of faith groups and leaders in shaping social and political change, so I took a look. Some of the writing is beautiful,

What values should guide Britain’s role in the world, post-Brexit?

March 3, 2020
Oxfam today publishes (with UK think tank, the Foreign Policy Centre) a collection of essays from parliamentarians and policy experts called ‘Finding Britain’s role in a changing world: building a values based foreign policy’. Here are a few highlights from the conclusion, snappily written by Adam Hug, Abigael Baldoumas, Katy Chakrabortty and Danny Sriskandarajah: ‘The extent to which the United

Could Amartya Sen and Martha Nussbaum help us have a more grown-up conversation about aid?

March 2, 2020
This post got a lot of help from Severine Deneulin – thanks! I get a bit frustrated with the conversation on aid – too often, we seem to be expected to pick one of two equally unappealing camps: ‘all aid is bad’ v ‘all aid is good’. People tend to land on a single issue – growth, accountability, safeguarding –

Research Methodology Klaxon: Lessons from two years of doing ‘Governance Diaries’ in scary places

February 25, 2020
The first outputs are now appearing from ‘Governance Diaries’, a really fascinating new research method that emerged from an initial conversation in a bar in Yangon 4 years ago. If you’re even slightly interested in research, please take a look at this first paper on the emerging methodology, by Miguel Loureiro, Anuradha Joshi, Katrina Barnes and Egídio Chaimite. What are

6 ways Southern Civil Society Organizations interact with marginalized groups; 4 ways they deal with closing civic space

February 24, 2020
Some interesting research on the realities of CSOs in the Global South and their interaction with the aid sector is coming out of the Netherlands (see last week’s post for more on this theme). Check out this new paper by the ‘Civil Society Research Collective’ – Margit van Wessel, Suparana Katyaini, Yogesh Mishra, Farhat Naz, B. Rajeshwari, Rita Manchanda, Reetika

Can we Get Davos talking about the Care Economy and Feminist Economics?

January 20, 2020
Davos is here again, which is always a fun time to be working for Oxfam. Every January, the world’s political and economic leaders jet in to Switzerland, and we try to persuade them, and their press entourage, to focus on the way that growing inequality is holding back global poverty reduction. This kicked off in 2014 with ‘85 richest people

Is Community Wealth Building a solution to local deprivation in poor countries as well as the UK?

January 14, 2020
Recently, I’ve been reading up a bit about social change in the UK – I’m wondering if I should embark on some kind of ‘How Change Happens on my doorstep’ project. The stuff I’m finding is both familiar and different to what I’m used to. Take Community Wealth Building, for example, which is all the range among UK activists looking
Featured image for “What if families & friends are the main source of Social Protection?”

What if families & friends are the main source of Social Protection?

December 19, 2019
Most discussion about ‘social protection’ focusses on programmes run by aid donors or governments, but that misses out on an awful lot. Some of my LSE students are doing a project for Oxfam on ‘informal forms of social protection’ – what families and communities are doing to build their resilience against shocks (accidents, unemployment, crop failure etc) in countries like
Featured image for “In the Global South, the Digital Revolution is not just about the tech: it’s about the politics”

In the Global South, the Digital Revolution is not just about the tech: it’s about the politics

November 13, 2019
Elizabeth Stuart is Executive Director of the Pathways for Prosperity Commission, which released its final report, The Digital Roadmap, today. Digital technology is sometimes portrayed as a painless shortcut to development, a technical fix to reduce poverty. The Pathways Commission disagrees: getting the small p politics right is a crucial part of successful digitisation. Our commissioners know a thing or
Featured image for “The Randomistas just won the Nobel Economics prize. Here’s why RCTs aren’t a magic bullet.”

The Randomistas just won the Nobel Economics prize. Here’s why RCTs aren’t a magic bullet.

October 15, 2019
Lant Pritchett once likened Randomized Controlled Trials (RCTs) to flared jeans. On the way out and soon we’d be wondering what on earth we’d seen in them. Not so fast. Yesterday, three of the leading ‘Randomistas’ won the Nobel economics prize (before the pedants jump in, strictly speaking it’s the Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred
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No one is objective about poverty: here’s why that matters

October 7, 2019
Eric Meade consults to nonprofits, foundations, and NGOs and teaches at American University’s School of International Service in Washington, DC. His book, Reframing Poverty: New Thinking and Feeling About Humanity’s Greatest Challenge, invites readers to explore how their emotions about poverty shape their responses to it. We do not like to see other humans suffer. There could be several reasons
Featured image for ““Let’s Eat Right”: women tackling malnutrition through urban farming”

“Let’s Eat Right”: women tackling malnutrition through urban farming

October 2, 2019
Maureen Muketha is a 24 year-old nutritionist and founder of Tule Vyema, a community-based organization focused on targeting malnutrition and food insecurity in Kenya.  I grew up in Kiserian in Kajiado County, Kenya, an arid and marginalized environment where malnutrition and poverty were prevalent. I have seen how persistently women and children are the hardest hit by changing environmental conditions and limited access to food. Because