Blog break for a holiday, including Silent Disco…..

August 22, 2018
Taking a blog break for a couple of weeks. Off to the Edinburgh festival, where each year I try to cram in enough plays, music and other events to replenish my parched cultural hinterland for the rest of the year. By the time you read this, I will have embarrassed myself by taking part in the Guru Dudu silent disco,

What matters more in a disaster response – evidence or judgement? Lessons from the Nepal earthquake  

August 21, 2018
This guest post from Ajoy Datta was first published on the On Think Tanks blog. Ajoy also works for OTT Imagine you’re a mid-level policymaker in a government agency or a manager in an NGO. A major incident has just occurred. You have to drop everything you’re doing and shift all your attention into understanding and managing the situation. This

Links I Liked

August 20, 2018
Maybe it’s the summer lull, or my fading attention span (off on hols next week), but it all seems to be graphics and videos this week. The gig economy ht Robert Went Soccer girl power. Gotta love her swagger. She’s speaking Farsi, apparently – anyone know the origin of this wonderful 30 sec clip? Francis Fukuyama on What’s Wrong with

Make Change Happen: a new online Oxfam course for activists. Please check it out.

August 17, 2018
MOOCs, for those of you who still don’t recognize the acronym (tsk), are Massive Open Online Courses. Oxfam’s getting into the MOOC business with ‘Make Change Happen’ – a training course for activists. You can register any time, and the course starts 15th October. I’ve contributed my usual spiel on power and systems, and will be one of the talking

Can Adaptive Management help clear Africa’s rubbish mountains?

August 16, 2018
A second vignette from my recent visit (with Irene Guijt) to Tanzania to look at adaptive management (AM) in the Institutions for Inclusive Development (I4ID) programme. It may not set the pulse racing, but rubbish disposal (formally known as solid waste management, SWM) is a big deal in any city, and is really bad in Dar es Salaam. Here’s how I4ID

Adaptive Management meets Menstrual Hygiene

August 15, 2018
I recently visited Tanzania to look at adaptive management in the Institutions for Inclusive Development (I4ID) programme, a big (£12m over 5 years) project that is trying to use AM approaches in a fast-closing political space (more on that to follow, once Irene Guijt and I finish the draft paper). One highlight was watching some top convening and brokering in

What would a feminist approach to localisation of humanitarian action look like?

August 14, 2018
Guest post from Francesca Rhodes, Oxfam’s Gender Policy Adviser on campaigns, policy and influencing The aid sector’s sexual exploitation and abuse crisis  put into stark spotlight the unequal power dynamics between humanitarian actors and communities they work in, and the injustices this can cause. Discussions on what a humanitarian system, and Oxfam itself, would look like if it was actively

Links I Liked

August 13, 2018
A summary of Elinor Ostrom’s (only woman to win the Nobel for economics) ‘rules for radicals’ from Derek Wall’s new book. Wish she’d done a systems version of no 13 though – complex is not the same as complicated, simple or chaotic Academic spats are always fun. Here it’s profs v PhD students at the LSE & London School of

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

5 Things I learned about how to Communicate Research on Sustainability

August 9, 2018
Is it possible to achieve a sustainable future where the social needs of all are met without exhausting the planet’s resources? Julia Steinberger shares lessons learnt from communicating her research findings. Earlier this year, my colleagues and I published an article entitled “A Good Life For All Within Planetary Boundaries” in Nature Sustainability. In this article, we aimed to test the central

Don’t worry. Be factful: Review of Factfulness, by Hans and Ola Rosling, and Anna Rosling Rönnlund

August 8, 2018
Matthew Spencer reviews Hans Rosling’s posthumous manifesto When Hans Rosling, the TED talk phenomenon and professor of international health, was a young doctor in Mozambique in the 1980’s he was berated by a visiting friend and medic for not providing better care for a seriously ill child that been brought into his health clinic. Hans provided the child with a

The evidence suggests that support for UK development NGOs is actually growing

August 7, 2018
According to Dan Brockington and Nicola Banks, the evidence suggests that the demise of UK aid is greatly exaggerated. They want to know if they’ve missed something… International development NGOs are facing interesting times in the UK. We live in a rising tide of nationalism, parochialism and suspicion of, not care for, distant strangers. Austerity measures make charities, and the giving public,