Civil society must change itself before it can change the world

Duncan Green - April 26, 2016

  Danny Sriskandarajah, Secretary General of the Civicus global civil society network, has some heretical thoughts about CSOs putting their own house in order This week, more than 900 activists from more than 100 countries are meeting in Bogotá, Colombia for International Civil Society Week. We will come together at what feels like a momentous and difficult time for civil society. My colleagues have documented …

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Why aren’t we using government purchasing to promote the right to food (among other things)? Great farewell paper from Olivier de Schutter

Duncan Green - May 29, 2014

Oliver de Schutter, UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food reaches the end of his term at the end of May, leaving some pretty big shoes to fill. He summarized his arguments in March with a final report to the Human Rights Council, but kept on going til the end, with a really thought-provoking briefing note on government procurement. Sounds dull, I know, but …

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What have we learned from 5 years of research on African power and politics?

admin - November 12, 2012

The Africa Power and Politics Programme (APPP) is winding down as its five year funding from DFID comes to an end, and I’ve been wading through the 120 page synthesis report as well as the strictly-for-wimps Policy Brief. Both are entitled ‘Development as a collective action problem: Addressing the real challenges of African governance’. Like previous APPP work, the papers are intriguing and frustrating in …

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Small farms can be beautiful – how farmers’ markets changed attitudes and policies in Colombia

admin - October 20, 2011

As a curtain raiser for this week’s GROW Week at Oxfam (see bottom of this post), this piece appeared on the Guardian Poverty Matters site last Friday, as my contribution to Sunday’s Blog Action Day, which this year coincided with World Food Day. I’ll also be doing on online Q&A (on Facebook) on the issues behind the campaign from 1-2pm tomorrow (Friday 21st October). Small farmers get a …

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Can Cities build local 'developmental states'? Some surprising good news from Colombia

admin - August 26, 2011

Discussions of the role of states in development, and in particular the role of the hands-on ‘developmental state’ in producing impressive take-offs in East Asia and elsewhere, almost exclusively focusses on the national level. But in many countries, particularly since the push for decentralization in recent decades, local and city governments play an increasingly influential role. So might we see a ‘local developmental state’ emerge …

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How can theories of change help in working with the private sector?

admin - July 13, 2011

As regular readers will know, I’ve been doing some thinking on ‘theories of change’ recently. A few people have asked me if the change in question is mainly political/social change, or whether it applies to economic developments too. I think there’s a high degree of commonality, so at last week’s discussion on working with the private sector, I took the set of ‘change archetypes’ and …

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Helping small farmers get a better deal in Colombia

admin - May 14, 2010

I’m on a panel at the Harvard Kennedy School tomorrow, pulling together some of the lessons from on the ground success in development programming. I’ve already posted on some of the stories, but here’s an interesting one from Colombia, where small scale farmers find it hard to sell into urban areas at a decent price. Partly it’s because they cannot achieve sufficient quality and scale …

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