What we are reading

Trusting Community-based Learning Ecosystems

European School of Governance, position paper #25 by Louis Klein |
Community-based learning ecosystems lie at the very heart of our understanding of the world, of its being and of its transformation. Being immersed in community-based learning ecosystems is a shared experience for all of us. By trusting this as an invitation to a process of inquiry, learning, and understanding, we begin to live out our human potential and realise our humanity. We will witness how a humanising society grows from metamorphic niches in learning communities. And it will change our understanding of learning and understanding, of development and transformation, and the roles of those who want to change the world.

How Covid could be the ‘long overdue’ shake-up needed by the aid sector

This year one in every 33 people across the world will need humanitarian assistance. That is a rise of 40% from last year, according to the UN. More than half of the countries requiring aid to help deal with the coronavirus pandemic are already in protracted crises, coping with conflict or natural disasters. Even before Covid-19 threw decades of progress on extreme poverty, healthcare and education into… Read More »How Covid could be the ‘long overdue’ shake-up needed by the aid sector

Why it’s time for international development to put people first

The international development community needs to shift its approach from intervening to solve problems to developing local leadership; People in developing contexts should be encouraged and given the skills to define their own challenges and identify solutions; The experiences of Teach For America and Teach For All offer ideas for how to make this change. It is high time for international development actors to shift… Read More »Why it’s time for international development to put people first

For the global development community, 7 predictions for 2021

This past year has been a lesson in the challenges of predicting. For the global development community, the best laid plans of the so-called “Decade of Action” had to be shelved as the coronavirus pandemic swamped every other issue. Maybe this year will be no different. Nonetheless, it’s worth it to at least try to look ahead and see what may be coming in 2021 for global development… Read More »For the global development community, 7 predictions for 2021

Systems Don’t Have Agency: Putting People First in 2021

By all accounts, 2020 was a watershed year for the term “systemic inequity.” It burst onto the scene amidst pandemic and protest, showing up in public conversations across a range of sectors. This is a very welcome development for those of us who have long been beating the drum for the messy, complex work that is systems change.

Apartheid in the World Bank and the IMF

Most people assume that inequality between the global South and the global North (the United States, Western Europe, Japan, Canada and Australia) has been declining over the past few decades. After all, colonialism is behind us, and surely poorer countries are gradually “catching up” to richer ones. But, oddly enough, exactly the opposite has happened. The per capita income gap between the South and the… Read More »Apartheid in the World Bank and the IMF

Why Fighting Inequality Is at the Heart of Oxfam’s New Global 10-Year Strategy

Just imagine, looking back to a time when COVID-19 brought us together. Leaders who united to overcome a health crisis also gained the courage to avert climate catastrophe. The unstoppable global movements of #BlackLivesMatter, #MeToo, #NiUnaMenos, climate strikers, workers, more, realized their calling. As they inevitably always would. Poverty fell. Ceasefires held. Politics became a process for dialogue not division. Out of the ashes of neoliberalism a… Read More »Why Fighting Inequality Is at the Heart of Oxfam’s New Global 10-Year Strategy

Sustainable Development Requires a “People-first” Approach

Wherever we have seen community resilience in the face of the public health, economic, and education crises of 2020, we find strong local leadership at work. However, rather than supporting local people to strengthen their own capabilities to identify, prioritize, and solve their own problems as the path to sustainable development, the world’s current development paradigm prioritizes working on behalf of local people to define… Read More »Sustainable Development Requires a “People-first” Approach

In Times of Crisis and Beyond, Local Leaders Are the Ones We Need

“What would it look like if we decided to find and fund local organizations applying themselves to bringing value to their communities?” It was a sunny summer day in 2012, and the question came from American philanthropist Andy Bryant, executive director of Segal Family Foundation. He was visiting the Population Services International office in Bujumbura where I worked, looking for organizations to whom his foundation could… Read More »In Times of Crisis and Beyond, Local Leaders Are the Ones We Need

Closing the race gap in philanthropy demands radical candour

I was in Kibera, Africa’s largest slum, when I heard about the shooting of another black man, Jacob Blake, by US police. Close by is a mural of George Floyd, painted on a wall near where I grew up, a reminder that the current upheaval surrounding race in the US has global repercussions. Just as calls for racial justice echo in American and European streets, government offices and… Read More »Closing the race gap in philanthropy demands radical candour