Why care is a political act

Facilitators Shawna Wakefield and Heather Cole outline why self and collective care is fundamental to social justice, and how individuals and organizations can lead by example. There are many ways to understand what care means. Here, we define it as looking after the physical, emotional, spiritual and mental wellbeing, safety and dignity of ourselves and others. Too often, the focus …

A practical tool for listening to the people that matter

Jessica Fullwood-Thomas introduces a new online tool by Oxfam, which can help practitioners to better listen to the viewpoints of the communities we’re working in.  TS Elliot famously said, ‘Where is the wisdom we have lost in knowledge? Where is the knowledge we have lost in information?’ Increasingly we have ever greater quantities and sources of data, but do we …

Embracing transformation in the face of climate change

Researchers and development practitioners need to think big in the face of irreversible climate change argues Jessica Fullwood-Thomas. There is no doubt that we are now past the tipping point for irreversible global climate change. The ever escalating disasters from Houston to Bangladesh and Sierra Leone to the Caribbean tell us that privilege and poverty continue to shape our relationship …

A no ‘tick-box’ approach to gender and resilience

A key question for Oxfam and the development sector is how to address the different challenges faced by people living in poverty in a holistic fashion. However, our partners are often already successfully addressing multiple issues at once as Caroline Ashley saw in Bangladesh. I’ve seen gender treated as a ‘tick-box’ exercise – yes women participated. The same goes for …

Disaster insurance: propaganda or the future of aid?

Could disaster insurance be the future of aid? Anna Warwick summarises the debate on the role of insurance to build resilience in disaster prone areas. From one of the sessions which took place at the Oxfam hosted Resilient Solutions symposium. Theresa May recently stated that disaster insurance programmes were the ‘future of aid.’ After seeing the panel on Weather Insurance …

Does resilience thinking help or hinder urban development?

As climate and weather-related risks increase in urban areas, resilience discourses and ideas have gained traction in urban development policy. Arabella Fraser, Research fellow at the Overseas Development Institute and Richard Friend, Lecturer in Human Geography at the University of York, explore the complexities of urban development and resilience. Is resilience thinking a help or a hindrance? And how can …

We need to flip science on its head

In her opening speech at the Resilient Solutions symposium Professor Rosalind Cornforth, Director of the Walker Institute, challenged the development community to make science fit for purpose by taking it out of the laboratory and into the field. Here is a summary of the speech. As a third year doctorate student in African meteorology I travelled to Senegal for my …

Climate insurance: closing the protection or the resilience gap?

Does climate insurance work as a catalyst for climate risk management and sustainable development? Or is insurance deflecting attention from other disaster risk management solutions? Swenja Surminski, Senior Research Fellow at the London School for Economics, argues there is no simple answer. Risks are rising and there is low usage of insurance The devastating impacts of natural disasters are seen …

Transformational climate adaptation: beyond business-as-usual

People around the world are faced with the challenge of adapting to changing climatic conditions, but what happens when small changes are not enough or are not even possible? Nick Brooks, Director of Garama 3C Ltd makes the case for transformational adaptation. Most of today’s adaptation interventions involve incremental approaches intended to protect and sustain existing systems and practices, rather …

Does knowledge matter in setting the development agenda?

Are marginalised people being overlooked in decision making processes around development and adaptation? Daniel Morchain reflects on the relationship between knowledge and power to influence outcomes. The more I think about development challenges, and the more I see and hear people talking about them, the more I think they come down to a struggle between knowledge and power. Knowledge in the …