Illicit economies, shadowy realms, and survival at the margins

Guest post by Eric Gutierrez, Senior Adviser on Tackling Violence and Building Peace at Christian Aid After the fall of the Taliban in 2001, poor landless farmers in the most conflict-affected areas of southern Afghanistan started migrating in increasing numbers to the relatively more insecure rocky desert areas. With the help of loans worth a few thousand dollars (typically provided by drug traffickers), they built …

How to decode a UN Report on Global Finance (and find an important disagreement with the World Bank on private v public)

A giant coalition of UN-affiliated aid organizations (3 pages of logos!) recently published Financing for Development: Progress and Prospects 2018. These big tent reports are a nightmare to write, and not much easier to read. Anything contentious is fought over by the participants, and the result tends to be pretty bland. I’m not sure how many people read them, tbh. But on this occasion< I …

Links I Liked

If someone ever criticises your tidiness, show them this, the New York Review of Books office. Ht Padraig Belton States are Far Less Likely to Engage in Mass Violence Against Nonviolent Uprisings than Violent Uprisings How Costa Rica Gets It Right by Joseph E. Stiglitz Nice piece on ideas for avoiding boring time-suck meetings. My favourite suggestion, everyone in an organization should have a capped …

Links I Liked

If someone ever criticises your tidiness, show them this, the New York Review of Books office. Ht Padraig Belton States are Far Less Likely to Engage in Mass Violence Against Nonviolent Uprisings than Violent Uprisings How Costa Rica Gets It Right by Joseph E. Stiglitz Nice piece on ideas for avoiding boring time-suck meetings. My favourite suggestion, everyone in an organization should have a capped …

Value for money in UK aid: the good, the bad and the ugly

Cathy Shutt (left, on vintage phone) and Craig Valters unsugar a recent pill on DFID’s approach to Value for Money All aid programmes should be good ‘Value for Money’ – hard to argue with that, right? 8 years ago, DFID put this principle at the heart of its work. Here we reflect on a recent report by the UK aid watchdog, ICAI. The good At first …

Insurance hits peak hype in the aid & development biz – but what do we really know?

Guest post from Debbie Hillier, Oxfam’s Senior Humanitarian Policy Adviser There is a lot of enthusiasm for insurance right now in a range of different sectors humanitarians are particularly excited, hoping this is a quick win to fill the aching chasm in humanitarian aid climate change experts hope it will be an easy fix for the problems of Loss and Damage and polluting countries hope …

Insurance hits peak hype in the aid & development biz – but what do we really know?

Guest post from Debbie Hillier, Oxfam’s Senior Humanitarian Policy Adviser There is a lot of enthusiasm for insurance right now in a range of different sectors humanitarians are particularly excited, hoping this is a quick win to fill the aching chasm in humanitarian aid climate change experts hope it will be an easy fix for the problems of Loss and Damage and polluting countries hope …

5 ways to build Civil Society’s Legitimacy around the world

Saskia Brechenmacher and Thomas Carothers, of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, introduce and summarize the insights from their new collection of essays from civil society activists. Pressure on civic space keeps increasing around the world, driven by the toxic mix of rising authoritarianism, growing populism, and wobbly democracy. Battles over legitimacy are central to this trend. Powerholders don’t just attack specific civic groups carrying …

5 ways to build Civil Society’s Legitimacy around the world

Saskia Brechenmacher and Thomas Carothers, of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, introduce and summarize the insights from their new collection of essays from civil society activists. Pressure on civic space keeps increasing around the world, driven by the toxic mix of rising authoritarianism, growing populism, and wobbly democracy. Battles over legitimacy are central to this trend. Powerholders don’t just attack specific civic groups carrying …

A day in the life of an Oxfam researcher – fancy joining the team?

Guest post from Deborah Hardoon (right) Psst, want my job? This is my last week as Deputy Head of Research at Oxfam. It’s a role which is as fascinating as it is challenging. You get to work on important global issues, with brilliant and bright people from all over the world. For details on the role and responsibilities, here’s the job description (closing date 27th …