Featured image for “Why is internal advocacy within our own organizations so hard?”

Why is internal advocacy within our own organizations so hard?

April 27, 2021
I’ve been chatting to a few people about their efforts to change how their organizations think, work and behave. By ‘people’ I mean the foot soldiers, not the bosses – there’s a huge amount written for managers about how to change their organizations, but what if you’re not a boss? For a subject that is so important to a lot

How does an INGO like Oxfam help Africa get a good deal from its Natural Resources?

June 26, 2019
I recently caught up with Gilbert Makore, Oxfam’s Extractive Industries Adviser in East Africa recently. You can listen to the 25m podcast for more nuance, but here are some extracts: The East African moment: ‘The region sits at a very exciting point – it’s one of the emerging oil and gas producers in the world, with significant gas resources in

The journey of making mental health a development priority

May 23, 2019
For years, we’ve seen first-hand that mental health support and services globally are too sporadic, poorly funded and insufficient to meet the enormous demand for them. Dr. Dixon Chibanda and Elisha London talk about the work behind making mental health a development priority.

Trying to do something about climate inequality in Sweden

April 25, 2019
Guest post from Robert Höglund, Head of communications for Oxfam Sweden and coordinator for the network The Climate Goal Initiative. One of the aspects of inequality that always struck me as especially bizarre is the double inequality around climate change. The richest 10 percent of the world who is most to blame for climate change emit around half of all

List of your most disastrous campaign own goals – more please!

February 12, 2019
I’m teaching a course on activism at the LSE and one of my students, Gaia Frazao-Nery, asked me a disarmingly simple question – can you give us some examples of advocacy campaigns that have achieved the opposite of what they wanted? I was stumped, so threw myself on the mercy of twitter. So far, I haven’t quite got the perfect

New improved Make Change Happen: free online course for activists goes live in March

January 30, 2019
I spent a lot of time before Christmas following and commenting on Oxfam’s new MOOC (Massive Open Online Course – keep up) on ‘Making Change Happen’. A lot of time because there were so many comments (from about 3,000 participants) and they were so interesting. Now the MOOC is coming round for its second outing, starting on 4th March, so

How has Oxfam’s approach to Influencing evolved over the last 75 years? New paper

January 23, 2019
Oxfam has just published a reflection on how its approach to ‘influencing’ has evolved since its foundation in 1942. Written by Ruth Mayne, Chris Stalker, Andrew Wells-Dang and Rodrigo Barahona, it’s stuffed full of enlightening case studies and should be of interest to anyone who wants to understand how INGOs developed their current interest in advocacy, lobbying, campaigns etc. Some

Davos is here again, so it’s time for Oxfam’s new report – here’s what it says

January 21, 2019
First of two posts to mark the start of Davos. Tomorrow Max Lawson digs into the links between inequality and public services. How do you follow a series of Killer Facts that have really got people’s attention? Every year the world’s political and economic leaders gather in Davos, and in recent years, Oxfam has done its best to persuade them,

How can Activists get better at harnessing Narratives for social change?

November 29, 2018
Working in a global organization like Oxfam means spending a lot of time on conference calls, with colleagues scattered across the globe. They can be frustrating – dodgy connections, people fading in and out, speaking too fast, or forgetting to put their phones on mute (especially if they are nipping in to the restroom – yes it happens….). People concerned

What did I learn from teaching LSE students about advocacy and campaigns?

June 14, 2018
I spent a week last month marking student assignments. Sounds boring, right? Well it was brain-drainingly hard work, but it was also enthralling. Usually I just give lectures or write stuff, and the level of feedback is pretty cursory. In contrast, marking the assignments for a course you have taught provides a unique peek inside students’ heads – you find

5 Lessons from Working with Businesses to Support Workers around the World

May 23, 2018
This piece appeared on ETI’s May ‘Leadership Series’ blog yesterday I was present at the birth of ETI 20 years ago. Recently installed at the Catholic aid agency, CAFOD, I was sent off to discuss an obscure initiative to set up a ‘Monitoring and Verification Working Group’ for companies trying to assess labour standards in their supply chains. I was impressed

Campaigning around Elections: Some smart South-South learning

January 16, 2018
Just before Christmas I eavesdropped on a fascinating conversation between Oxfam’s teams in Peru and South Africa (all nationals, not a white man in shorts to be seen). The topic was election campaigning, with Oxfam South Africa currently designing its strategy for the 2019 elections in a state of extreme uncertainty about the state of SA politics (when we spoke,