Featured image for “‘Think Chess not Checkers’: Wilf Mwamba on the role of Analysis in effective Influencing”

‘Think Chess not Checkers’: Wilf Mwamba on the role of Analysis in effective Influencing

October 18, 2022
For our Global Executive Leadership Initiative training on influencing, I interviewed Wilf Mwamba, a long term FCDO/DFID practitioner-thinker on TWP, now working in the private sector. With GELI’s permission, I’m reposting here, along with an abbreviated transcript. The podcast is 25 minutes – well worth it, IMO. WM: I work for DAI Global, a US international consultancy firm. I’m leading a
Featured image for “Beating the Drum – how do influencing networks get results?”

Beating the Drum – how do influencing networks get results?

October 16, 2020
My colleagues at Oxfam Novib have published a nice set of ‘stories of influencing networks’- the coalitions of organizations and individuals that come together to press for change in everything from global institutions to individual communities. Beating the Drum’s ‘journey backstage’ asked people intimately involved with 9 such stories to reflect on their choice of strategies, methods, their successes, failures

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

What kind of Tax Campaigning works best in developing countries – top down or bottom up?

August 10, 2018
Tax Justice has become a big deal among a range of NGOs, including Oxfam. There’s a lot of global campaigning on things like tax havens and tax evasion by transnational corporations, but what kinds of campaign make sense at a national level in countries like Vietnam and Nigeria? Two new pieces dropped into my inbox on the same morning earlier

Health, Human Rights and Plastic Bags: 3 top campaign proposals from my LSE students

July 13, 2018
I’ve been selecting some of the student assignments from the initial year of my new LSE course on ‘Advocacy, Campaigning and Grassroots activism’ to show as examples to next year’s cohort, and thought you might like a taste too. Each student had to produce a 2,000 word project proposal for something they would like to change and an accompanying blog.

What kind of Evidence Influences local officials? A great example from Guatemala

May 29, 2018
I met Walter Flores at a Twaweza seminar in Tanzania a couple of months ago, but have only just got round to reading his fascinating paper reflecting on 10 years of trying to improve Public Health in Guatemala. It is short (12 pages), snappily written, with a very crisp, hard-hitting thesis, so no need to do more than provide some

How can researchers and activists influence African governments? Advice from an insider

March 15, 2018
One of the highlights of the Twaweza meeting was hearing from Togolani Mavura (left), the Private Secretary to former President Kikwete (in Tanzania, ex-presidents get a staff for life, not like in the UK where they have to hawk themselves round the after dinner speaking circuit). Togolani has worked across the  various policy levels  of the Tanzanian goverment, and his talk

5 common gaps and 4 dilemmas when we design influencing campaigns

February 27, 2018
I’ve just read the initial proposals of 30+ LSE students taking my one-term Masters module on Advocacy, Campaigning and Grassroots Activism. Their two main assignments are to work as groups analysing past episodes of change (more on that later in the term) and individual projects where they design an influencing exercise based on their own experience and the content of

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,

If academics are serious about research impact, they need to learn from advocates

January 9, 2018
All hail FP2P-reading nerds! Completing the round up of top posts from last year, the most read from 2017 is on research impact. Here’s the original for a lot of comments, many of them heaping scorn on me for being so out of touch – always a treat.  As someone who works for both Oxfam and the LSE, I often get

Want to ensure your research influences policy? Top advice from a Foreign Office insider.

January 4, 2018
The most read posts from 2017, in reverse order. Here’s number 4. Check out the original if you want to read the comments. The conference on ‘Protracted Conflict, Aid and Development’ that I wrote about on Friday was funded by the Global Challenges Research Fund, a massive (£1.5bn) UK research programme that is funding, among other things, the LSE’s new Centre for Public Authority and

How Oxfam and Save changed US aid on local ownership: nice case study in influencing

November 30, 2017
I do love it when NGOs are taken by surprise in a good way – getting results in unexpected ways, rather than grinding through the plan. A neat example came up at Oxfam’s recent Evidence for Influencing conference. Here’s what happened. Oxfam America and Save the Children wanted to persuade USAID to do more on ‘local ownership’ of aid. It’s