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What’s going on with civil society and philanthropy in India? Interview + transcript with Ingrid Srinath

October 9, 2019
Ingrid Srinath runs the Centre for Social Impact and Philanthropy at Ashoka University in Delhi. She recently talked me through the current situation in India. She asked me to clarify that these are her personal views, not those of the university. The work of the Centre: as the first academic centre in South Asia to study issues of civil society

Book Review: The Business of Changing the World, by Raj Kumar

June 18, 2019
I found reading The Business of Changing the World rather disturbing – a bit like being taken hostage by a cult and submitted to polite but persistent brainwashing for several days (I’m a slow reader). The cult in question is what Anand Giridharadas calls ‘MarketWorld’ – an effusive, evangelical belief in the power of markets, data and new tech to

In ‘Winner Takes All’, Anand Giridharadas takes down philanthropy’s ‘MarketWorld’: Book Review

June 13, 2019
If you’ve ever been irked by the combination of arrogance, platitude, complacency and dismissiveness that often characterizes the private sector-aid complex (philanthropists, management consultants, foundations, impact investors and their groupies across the aid business), then this is the book for you. In Winner Takes All, Anand Giridharadas hangs out at their motivational talks and high end dinners, and spends time

A philanthropist using systems thinking to build peace

February 10, 2017
Steve Killelea is an intriguing man, an Aussie software millionaire who, in the words of his bio ‘decided to dedicate most of his time and fortune to sustainable development and peace’.  Think a more weather-beaten Bill Gates. He also (full disclosure) bought me a very nice lunch last week. In pursuit of this aim he set up the Institute for

Book Review, Augusta Dwyer: The Anatomy of Giving (on the aid industry and Haiti)

May 26, 2016
If you want a readable and short (167 pages) introduction to the many contradictions and debates that beset the aid business, I recommend The Anatomy of Giving (apologies for Amazon link – couldn’t find another). Dwyer’s subject is Haiti – ‘At just a two-hour flight from Miami, Haiti is the Western Hemisphere’s own little piece of Sub-Saharan Africa.’ She’s been visiting

What can big foundations do to support Southern Influencing?

July 7, 2015
Took part in a really interesting conversation last week between some Oxfam southern campaigners and the big-but-as-yet-little-known Children’s Investment Fund Foundation (CIFF), which is exploring the whole idea of southern advocacy. Their main focus is on ‘children and mothers’ health and nutrition, children’s education, deworming and welfare, and smart ways to slow down and stop climate change’. Last year their grants came to $122m – I think

Where are development’s venture capitalists?

July 4, 2012

New directions in philanthropy – report from the Bellagio Summit

November 15, 2011