Six things INGOs need to fix to be fit for the future. Mark Goldring’s outgoing reflections

April 29, 2019
Guest post by my former boss Mark Goldring, first published in the March edition of Governance and Leadership Magazine. Mark was chief executive of Oxfam GB from 2013 until January 2019. This article is based on a talk given to Civil Society Media’s NGO Insight Conference in November 2018. My last year as chief executive of Oxfam was dominated by the

Are INGO advocacy and campaigning up to today’s challenges?

April 16, 2019
This post by Oxfam researcher Ruth Mayne was originally published by the UK network of development NGOs, BOND We know from successful campaigns in the past, such as the anti-slavery movement of the 19th century, that it is possible to achieve intentional systemic change, and that civil society can play a pivotal role.  But are civil society’s current approaches to

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

What might a 100% experimental Oxfam Country Programme look like?

November 22, 2018
Oxfam GB’s new boss, Danny Sriskandarajah, starts in the New Year, but is already talking to people inside and outside the organization about what a ‘Nextfam’ could look like. Here’s some thoughts from a chat with him and David Bonbright earlier this week. The problem: Experiments and innovation at the project level seldom spread beyond the bounds of the project.

Using evidence to influence policy: Oxfam’s experience

November 2, 2018
Oxfam has got a new paper out on how it uses evidence to influence policy. My colleague Ruth Mayne led on it (along with other Oxfam colleagues, I chipped in a few ideas). The paper brought together lots of new (to me) examples to illustrate how Oxfam seeks influence through research, while Ruth and Paul Cairney added some useful academic

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

Some whacky ideas for a future Oxfam – draft paper for your comments

July 20, 2018
Milton Friedman once said “Only a crisis – actual or perceived – produces real change. When that crisis occurs, the actions that are taken depend on the ideas that are lying around. That, I believe, is our basic function: to develop alternatives to existing policies, to keep them alive and available until the politically impossible becomes the politically inevitable.” Well

Public Pressure + League Tables: Oxfam’s campaign on food brands is moving on to supermarkets.

July 5, 2018
Tim Gore explains the evolving theory of change behind Oxfam’s new supermarkets campaign ‘First the brands, now the retailers.‘ That was the reaction of a senior staffer at Mars – one of the 10 biggest global food manufacturers targeted in our award-winning Behind the Brands campaign – to the Behind the Barcodes launch last month. Why did we choose supermarkets

A day in the life of an Oxfam researcher – fancy joining the team?

May 8, 2018
Guest post from Deborah Hardoon Psst, want my job? This is my last week as Deputy Head of Research at Oxfam. It’s a role which is as fascinating as it is challenging. You get to work on important global issues, with brilliant and bright people from all over the world. For details on the role and responsibilities, here’s the job

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

Draft Paper on Adaptive Management in Oxfam – all comments welcome

May 23, 2017
With a few important exceptions, large international NGOs have been pretty absent from the global conversation about ‘Doing Development Differently’, but are they doing it anyway and just skipping the meetings? To find out, a group of LSE Masters Students analysed a bunch of case studies of Oxfam programmes claiming to pursue ‘adaptive management’ approaches. Their report is so interesting