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It’s Time to Invest for the 21st Century and Repurpose Humanitarian Bureaucracies

December 15, 2020
Glad to see humanitarian guru Hugo Slim is stepping up his blogging activity. This post first appeared on the ODI page In the run-up to Christmas the big humanitarian bureaucracies have been busy asking governments for money. UN OCHA has appealed for $35 billion for the UN-led humanitarian response in 2021 (to reach 235 million people across 56 countries). UNHCR
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Where is the Aid Biz making progress on Localization?

June 30, 2020
There has been a spate of recent reports on localization, especially in humanitarian response. (Has anyone done a synthesis?) I’ve been browsing through a few – some highlights. First, an obvious, but important point. ‘Localization’ has always been a feature of emergency response, since long before today’s aid system was dreamt of. Globalization and migration have added new twists: ‘instances

Who you Gonna Call? Engaging ‘Public Authorities’ for Rapid Crisis Responses

April 4, 2019
I’m doing some interesting work with Tom Kirk at LSE as part of the CPAID research programme, on the way donors/aid agencies understand power (aka ‘public authority’) in fragile/conflict settings. As seems to be the way in academia, Tom does all the work, and I get to add my name to the result – what’s not to like? Here he

How does Localization work on the ground? Podcast with Evans Onyiego and video of his work in Northern Kenya

December 7, 2018
On the margins of the localization discussion I covered yesterday, I grabbed a few minutes to interview Evans Onyiego. Evans runs a local Caritas office in Maralal, in Northern Kenya, where the Church is playing a big role in trying to rebuild trust between ethnic groups and communities whose traditional rivalries have been turbo-charged by the arrival of automatic weapons. He’s

Localization in Aid – why isn’t it happening? What to do about it?

December 6, 2018
Spent two days this week discussing ‘Localization in Conflict Settings’. The subject is littered with aid jargon, but important – how does the humanitarian system ‘transfer power and resources’ to ‘local actors’ rather than outsiders insisting on running the whole thing (badly) themselves? It was organized by Saferworld and Save the Children Sweden to help flesh out a research programme,

What matters more in a disaster response – evidence or judgement? Lessons from the Nepal earthquake  

August 21, 2018
This guest post from Ajoy Datta was first published on the On Think Tanks blog. Ajoy also works for OTT Imagine you’re a mid-level policymaker in a government agency or a manager in an NGO. A major incident has just occurred. You have to drop everything you’re doing and shift all your attention into understanding and managing the situation. This

What would a feminist approach to localisation of humanitarian action look like?

August 14, 2018
Guest post from Francesca Rhodes, Oxfam’s Gender Policy Adviser on campaigns, policy and influencing The aid sector’s sexual exploitation and abuse crisis  put into stark spotlight the unequal power dynamics between humanitarian actors and communities they work in, and the injustices this can cause. Discussions on what a humanitarian system, and Oxfam itself, would look like if it was actively

Insurance hits peak hype in the aid & development biz – but what do we really know?

May 10, 2018
Guest post from Debbie Hillier, Oxfam’s Senior Humanitarian Policy Adviser There is a lot of enthusiasm for insurance right now in a range of different sectors humanitarians are particularly excited, hoping this is a quick win to fill the aching chasm in humanitarian aid climate change experts hope it will be an easy fix for the problems of Loss and

What to read on Oxfam’s sexual misconduct crisis?

February 19, 2018
Like anyone else connected with Oxfam, I’ve been glued to the media, and my emails over the last 10 days. It’s been pretty harrowing, a crushing dissonance between the revelations of sexual misconduct in our responses to emergencies in Haiti, Chad and elsewhere, and what I know of Oxfam’s focus and work on gender, women’s rights and working with women’s

It’s World Food Day today – why is global progress going into reverse?

October 16, 2017
Guest post from Larissa Pelham, who is a food security wonk with probably the longest job title in Oxfam (see end for its full glory) World Food Day has come around again and with it the annual report on the State of World Food Insecurity. In a year which declared a potential ‘four famines’  – with South Sudan tipping into famine

Protracted Conflict, Aid and Development: how’s that conversation going?

October 6, 2017
Spent two days this week discussing ‘Protracted Conflict, Aid and Development’. I was very much a fish out of water – the conference was mainly for humanitarian and conflict types, whereas I am a long-term development wallah trying to get my head round these other disciplines as part of my new role at the LSE’s Centre for Public Authority and

A masterclass on cash transfers and how to use High Level Panels to influence Policy

March 10, 2017
One of the things I do in my day-a-week role at LSE is bring in guest lecturers from different aid and development organizations to add a whiff of real life to the student diet of theory and academia. One of the best is Owen Barder, who recently delivered a mesmerizing talk on cash transfers and the theory of change used