Book Review: ‘Thinking and Working Politically in Development’

September 4, 2020
‘Thinking and Working Politically in Development’, by John Sidel and Jaime Faustino, is a new book on one of my favourite ‘Thinking and Working Politically’ programmes – Coalitions for Change (CfC) in the Philippines. It’s not the most user-friendly (no exec sum, no index), but at least it’s open access – download here. I’ve written about CfC on the blog

“Our house is on fire”: the Asian climate emergency

January 16, 2020
Beatrice Tulagan is the founder of Climate Stories Philippines, a media non-profit aiming to humanize the climate crisis through stories of resistance and survival. She is also the East Asia Field Organizer of and a fellow at the Climate and Environmental Justice Media program with FRIDA – The Young Feminist Fund in partnership with OpenGlobalRights. This piece was published as part
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How does Coalitions for Change in the Philippines Compare with other Adaptive Management Programmes?

September 11, 2019
Following on yesterday’s podcast + transcript about the work of the Coalitions for Change (CfC) programme in the Philippines, I thought I’d compare it to the 3 Adaptive Management programmes I’ve also been studying in Tanzania, Nigeria and Myanmar. Let’s take context first, and then think about the nuts and bolts of the different programmes. 2 issues on Context: MICs
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Meet the artist changing gut reactions to the Philippines ‘war on drugs’

July 5, 2019
Jay Ramirez writes about Carlo Gabuco’s visceral, intimate and poignant depictions of Duterte’s ‘war on drugs’ in the Philippines. Some brilliant insights on the power of art that bring the concept of human rights “down to the gut.” In an art fair in Manila in March last year, one installation caught everybody’s eye. A blue single-seater armchair sits in the

Will aid help or undermine Mindanao’s new start? Scott Guggenheim is worried.

April 24, 2019
Community Development guru Scott Guggenheim emailed some provocative thoughts on my piece last week on Mindanao, with much wider relevance to the localization debate, so I asked him to turn it into a blog. I like your piece but I’m a bit longer in the tooth than you and so slightly less optimistic. You are entirely right that the MILF

Is a progressive Islamic revolution happening in the Philippines? Impressions from Mindanao

April 17, 2019
First instalment from my recent visit to the Philippines: Something fascinating and strikingly promising is going on the Philippines island of Mindanao. It has very little to do with the grisly headlines of extra-judicial killings and President Duterte’s bloody ‘war on drugs’. It looks like a progressive Islamic revolution is in progress, combining elements of religiosity, women’s rights, armed struggle

A big win for climate change campaigners in the Philippines – how did they do it?

November 11, 2015
Some great news from the Philippines. The Philippines Survival Fund, which I blogged about a couple of years ago, is finally open for business – local governments and community organizations will now be apply to apply for funds up to 1 billion pesos (US$21m) a year, for projects that help communities adapt to climate change. The first lesson is the

Is this the best paper yet on Doing Development Differently/Thinking and Working Politically?

January 14, 2015
Some of the old lags have reacted to all the hype around TWP/DDD with ‘any aid worker worth their salt knows that all ready – what’s new’?’ An outstanding new paper from Jaime Faustino and David Booth takes up that challenge in one particular context – advocating reforms in the Philippines – that has much wider implications. Jaime works for

What can we learn from big advocacy initiatives in the Philippines on education, violence against women, reproductive health and freedom of information?

September 12, 2014
Ahead of next week’s Thinking and Working Politically seminar, here’s another case study from The Asia Foundation, which has got some impressive advocacy results in the Philippines. Room for Maneuver (book and research brief) examines four social policy reforms to try and draw lessons for advocacy work. They are 1. The successful passage of the Anti-Violence Against Women and their

Transform or be Haunted by Ghosts: How can the Philippines ‘build back better’ after Typhoon Haiyan?

November 28, 2013
From the middle of the response to Typhoon Haiyan, Lan Mercado, our Deputy Regional Director in Asia (and passionate campaigner and Filipina) reflects on what lies ahead. She was the one who asked me to pick your brains on disasters as opportunities – thanks for the responses. The massive impact of Typhoon Haiyan claimed thousands of lives and destroyed physical

Disasters as Opportunities – your thoughts please

November 19, 2013
Sticking with yesterday’s theme of how our humanitarian work is evolving, one of our more extraordinary Oxfamistas in the Philippines (Lan Mercado, profiled here) has asked a few of us to help her team think through the longer term implications of Supertyphoon Haiyan for our work. I have no idea how she manages to find headspace to think about that

What are the global trends in humanitarian response? How well is Oxfam responding?

November 18, 2013
Twice a year Oxfam’s Regional Directors gather with its UK-based big cheeses to swap notes (they let me join them, for some reason). It’s an opportunity to allow the collective mind to catch up with all those accumulating individual impressions of how the world and our work is changing. Last week’s ‘deep dive’ was about humanitarian work: two days of