How can we incorporate local knowledge into climate planning and policy?

January 9, 2020
This reflection is offered by Ibrahim Jarso, Rangelands Specialist at MercyCorps, Hausner Wendo, Climate Information & Resilience Planning Officer at the Adaptation Consortium and Sam Greene, Researcher on Climate Change at the International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED). Isiolo County in northern Kenya’s arid and semi-arid region is typical of many dryland landscapes. Pastoralists face increasing challenges to ensure

Can digital really revolutionise health and education in the Global South?

May 30, 2019
Guest post from Elizabeth Stuart, executive director of the  Pathways for Prosperity Commission on Technology and Inclusive Development. One of many puzzles in development is that increasing spending on health and education doesn’t necessarily deliver expected results. To turn this on its head: Madagascar, Bangladesh and South Africa all have similar child mortality rates, but South Africa spends 19 times

Can new tech revive the world’s trade unions?

November 20, 2018
The Economist never ceases to surprise and inform. This week’s issue carries an excellent special report on ‘trade unions and technology’. Here’s an edited extract: ‘Support for organised labour is rising again (see chart). And technology may again play a central role in helping a revival—particularly in America, where activists are trying inventive new ways to organise workers. Use of social media is

How Data Analytics can Unlock the Knowledge in Development Organisations

December 6, 2017
Guest blog by Itai Mutemeri (@tyclimateguy) is Head of Analytics at London based Senca Research In September 2017, I headed up to the Oxfam head office in Oxford to present our research paper: Big Data Opportunities for Oxfam – Text Analytics. Like all good research titles, it’s a mouthful.  The paper explored the potential application of text analytics in response

What has the iPhone got to do with inequality? New Oxfam Book Review blog

July 13, 2017
I often get asked for more book reviews on the blog (presumably to give readers the bluffer’s guide until they get round to reading the real thing, if ever). So very happy to see that Oxfam’s research wonks have started ‘Book Banter’ – a development book review service. Follow here. Any other good sources of development book reviews? Here is Franziska

Blockchain for Development: A Handy Bluffers’ Guide

May 9, 2017
Top tip: if you’re in a meeting discussing anything to do with finance, at some point look wise and say ‘you do realize, blockchain is likely to change everything.’ Of course, there is always a terrifying chance that someone will ask what you actually mean. Worry not, because IDS has produced a handy bluffer’s guide to help you respond. Blockchain

Shaping the future of work in a digital world – why should development organisations care?

February 17, 2017
On 13th March, IDS together with the Web Foundation and Nesta, are hosting the inaugural Digital Development Summit, with the support of DFID and the DFID-ESRC Impact Initiative (FYI: I will be one of the final panel speakers). This blog post is the first in a series that will be published by organisers and participants over the coming weeks. Here

10 Frontier Technologies for International Development

November 1, 2016
Ben Ramalingam, leader of the Digital and Technology research group at the Institute of Development Studies (IDS), introduces their new report on new and emerging technologies, and how international organisations can capitalise on their potential. New and emerging technologies have often underpinned and enabled significant development progress over the decades – from vaccines to mobile phones to the internet. The

How can rethinking innovation achieve Technology Justice?

July 22, 2016
Amber Meikle of Practical Action, introduces ‘Rethink, Retool, Reboot Technology as if people and planet mattered’, a new book on a massively neglected topic The history of mankind’s development has long featured technology – from early cultivation techniques, fire, and the wheel, all the way to 3D printing and nanotechnology. Today, technology underpins all aspects of everyday life: from how

Where are the ‘Digital Dividends’ from the ICT Revolution? The new World Development Report

February 22, 2016
OK, book done, back from recuperative holiday, time to get back to daily blogging. Earlier this month I headed off for the London launch of the 2016 World Development Report, ‘Digital Dividends’. The World Bank’s annual flagship is always a big moment in wonkland, and there has been a lot of positive buzz around this one. Here’s how the Bank summarizes

Geek Heresy, by Kentaro Toyama: book review

July 10, 2015
Guest post by Gawain Kripke, Oxfam America’s Director of Policy  I love my smart phone. It’s awesome and it makes me more awesome. I honestly think that my life is much better with it than without. It makes me a better worker – able to review documents, communicate with colleagues, keep projects moving smoothly even when I’m out of the office.  

Big Data and Development: Upsides, downsides and a lot of questions

July 23, 2014
One of the more scary but enjoyable things I do is be interviewed on stuff I know absolutely nothing about (yeah, yeah, I know – no change there then). You get to grasshopper around multiple issues and disciplines, cobbling together ideas and arguments from scattered fragments, making connections and learning new stuff. Great fun. This week, I’ll blog about a