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Responses to ‘Are INGOs ready to give up power?’

December 20, 2019
On Wednesday, we republished this timely thought piece by Deborah Doane, which interrogates the power held by large NGOs and calls for a shift of power. The article clearly hit a nerve. Questions around #ShiftingThePower bring up enormous systemic (and existential) considerations that pose direct challenges not only to the structures we operate in, but also to our own behaviors.
Featured image for “Are INGOs ready to give up power?”

Are INGOs ready to give up power?

December 18, 2019
Deborah Doane opens up a provocative and necessary discussion around the power held by INGOs, and how we can shift it. Deborah Doane is a Partner at Rights CoLab, and a writer and consultant working with civil society and philanthropy. She is steering a project on reimagining the INGO. This piece was originally published on OpenDemocracy’s Transformation series. “Shifting power
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The ‘NGO-ization’ of research: what are the risks?

November 1, 2019
Pierre Basimise Ngalishi Kanyegere is a researcher for the Land Rush project and an IT technician at ISDR-BUKAVU. This piece is part of the new “Bukavu Series” blog posts by the GIC Network. In the DRC, academic research is very often conducted within the framework of non-governmental organizations (NGOs). These organizations commission research to support their activities. One might call such a shift
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Does Strategic Planning Make a Difference?

August 9, 2019
Blimey, here’s a blogpost from former Oxfam GB boss Mark Goldring, written in response to a tweet of mine, repeated below. Pleased to see that someone takes my social media seriously. “’@Oxfam’s published its evaluation of its 2013-19 Strategic Plan. Some +ves: ‘one lesson rises to the top: we must learn how to continuously test & review our theories of

“When will we get a report on your findings?”: reflections on researcher accountability from DRC

June 20, 2019
Christian Chiza Kashurha is a teaching assistant at the Department of History  of ISP-Idjwi and researcher at  GEC-SH, Bukavu, DRC. This piece is part of the new “Bukavu Series” blog posts by the GIC Network. Throughout the Global South, in countries such as the Democratic Republic of the Congo, research projects of researchers in the North are increasingly carried out either by, or with

Combating corruption through community

April 12, 2019
David Riveros García makes a strong case for placing communities at the centre of anti-corruption work, based on the experience of organisations and movements in Paraguay. David is the founder and Executive Director of reAcción, an NGO that promotes civic participation and transparency in the education sector. Growing is often its own trap. For social initiatives, increased visibility brings the temptation of

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

Nostalgia, fragility, age and management consultants: 4 Scandinavian conversations

September 11, 2018
A couple of weeks ago, I spent a day in Sigtuna, a lovely lakeside town just outside Stockholm, doing my usual blue sky/future of aid thing with big cheeses from the 5 Scandinavian protestant church agencies of the ACT Alliance. The ensuing conversations were full of lightbulb moments, including these four: Nostalgia as a political force: across the region, including

6 ways Local NGOs in Ghana are facing up to Shrinking Aid Flows

June 8, 2018
Local NGOs in developing countries face numerous threats, from government crackdowns to dwindling aid budgets. How are they responding? In a recent paper for VOLUNTAS: the International Journal of Voluntary and Nonprofit Organizations (Open Access – yay!),  Albert A. Arhin, Emmanuel Kumi and Oxfam’s Mohammed-Anwar Sadat Adam interviewed 65 people in Ghanaian NGOs, who face less overt repression than in many countries, but falling aid

Campaigning organizations need to do a better job at reaching diverse communities

February 2, 2018
Guest post from Foyez Syed of Save the Children I went into my local chippie this weekend and got talking to Ahmed, the person serving me behind the counter. I told him I worked at Save the Children as a conflict and humanitarian campaigner. To my surprise he instantly jumped to the humanitarian crisis in Yemen, talking about the blockade

Is it time to get personal on tax dodging?

October 30, 2017
The people who read this blog tend to be rationalists and progressive, so they won’t need much convincing that tax avoidance is a big (and lethal) deal. Oxfam calculates that just a third of the $100bn [approx. £78bn] tax that companies dodge in poor countries annually is enough to cover the bill for essential healthcare (vaccinations, midwives and diarrhoea treatment)

Looks like the NGOs are stepping up on ‘Doing Development Differently’. Good.

August 4, 2017
For several years I’ve been filling the ‘token NGO’ slot at a series of meetings about ‘doing development differently’ (DDD) and/or ‘thinking and working politically’ – networks largely dominated by official aid donors, academics, thinktanks and management consultants (good overview of all the different initiatives here). Periodically, a range of NGOs appear on the scene, and according to ODI and