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)
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How Change Happens one year on – the stats, the suffering and the power of Open Access

October 27, 2017
It’s a year to the day since How Change Happens was published (I made the mistake of putting ‘narcissistic peak’ in my diary, and my wife Cathy saw it – never heard the end of it). Here’s what’s happened since. First the stats: the headline figure is that in the first year, the book has had approximately 40,000 readers. Of
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How can NGOs get better at using evidence to influence governments and companies?

October 26, 2017
This week I attended an ‘Evidence for Influencing’ conference in the Netherlands. A couple of Oxfam colleagues had started planning it as a small event, and then found such interest in the topic that it mushroomed to 150 people over 2 days, roughly divided between Oxfammers and others (NGOs, media, academia). My overall impression was that campaigners, academics and governments
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Should we boycott gated journals on social media? How about a pledge?

October 25, 2017
It’s International Open Access Week, so this seems a good time to post on something that’s been bugging me. I had a slightly tetchy exchange on twitter recently with someone (who wishes to remain anonymous) who sent me a link to their paper and asked me to circulate it if I liked it. Problem was the link was to a
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When hate comes calling: fighting back in India

October 24, 2017
Fake news, populism and ethnic and religious hate crimes are not just a US problem. Indian activist and writer Mari Marcel Thekaekara laments the wave of hate engulfing her country, and celebrates some of those who are fighting back A peace movement? The mere suggestion evokes pitying looks, even from friends. Been there, done that. In the seventies, actually. More
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This Week in Africa: an amazing weekly links round-up

October 21, 2017
If you’re interested in more or less anything to do with Africa, check out ‘The Week in Africa’, an extraordinarily comprehensive round up of links by weekly email, put together by Jeff (American) and Phil (Zimbabwean) and hosted by the University of San Francicso. Sign up here. Here’s this week’s bulletin: QUOTE OF THE WEEK “We have never seen such
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What did I learn from a day with the UN’s bloggers?

October 20, 2017
Had a fun day earlier this week running a blogging workshop for Unicef researchers in their wonderful centre in Florence (I know, tough gig etc). I ran through what is rapidly becoming my standard powerpoint (here you go, feel free to steal or comment), but the most interesting (and exhausting) session was working through nine draft blogs with their authors
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Empowerment and Accountability in Messy Places: what’s the latest?

October 19, 2017
Spent a fascinating two days at IDS last week taking stock of year one of a 5 year research programme: Action for Empowerment and Accountability (A4EA). The aim is to understand how social and political action takes place in ‘Fragile, Conflict, Violence Affected Settings’ (FCVS) and the implications for ‘external actors’ (donors, INGOs etc, but the term always makes me
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The World Bank’s 2018 World Development Report on Education: a sceptic’s review

October 18, 2017
Guest post from Prachi Srivastava (@PrachiSrivas), Associate Professor in the area of education and international development at the University of Western Ontario. When the World Bank announced that the 2018 World Development Report (WDR) would be on education, I was sceptical. I’m not denying the Bank’s research expertise. It devotes substantial money and staff and has a trove of reports
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It’s World Food Day today – why is global progress going into reverse?

October 16, 2017
Guest post from Larissa Pelham, who is a food security wonk with probably the longest job title in Oxfam (see end for its full glory) World Food Day has come around again and with it the annual report on the State of World Food Insecurity. In a year which declared a potential ‘four famines’  – with South Sudan tipping into
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Can INGOs push back against closing civic space? Only if they change their approach.

October 13, 2017
Guest post from Dhananjayan Sriskandarajah, Secretary General of CIVICUS. He can be found on social media@civicussg  Civil society is facing a sustained, multi-faceted, global onslaught. According to the CIVICUS Monitor, fundamental civic freedoms are being severely restricted in an unprecedented number of countries. The operating environment for civil society organisations is becoming more hostile across the world and many of us
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Achilles v Ulysses and Complexity, according to the OECD

October 12, 2017
Just been browsing a new OECD book on what complexity and systems thinking mean for policy-making. It consists of ‘a compilation of contributions from a series of seminars and workshops on complexity issues over the past two years. It reflects the combined wisdom and perspectives of an internal and external network of researchers, academics and policymakers.’ The pieces are short (couple
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