Happy retirement Duncan Green!

One of the most influential global development bloggers announced his retirement from blogging and aid work recently and since I was socialized to some extent in German academia I was thinking of a Festschrift-style farewell publication.
Only that Duncan is not an old-school professor. And in the democratic tradition of writing things on the Internet I am not his disciple. And as far as I can see, nobody else has written a post in his memory. But you still get the idea, I guess...
 
Blogs are linked to people, personalities and their writing style, so the retirement of Duncan from Oxfam will be another blow to global development blogging regardless of what will happen to his blog and the Oxfam blogosphere.
As I wrote on the occasion of 500 weekly curated Links I Liked last year, blogging about development is a project riding into the digital sunset and no amount of Substacks (I really like Oliver Kim's Global Developments and Ken Opalo's An Africanist Perspective, of course), newsletters (Peter Torres Fremlin's Disablity Debrief) or podcasts (Trumanitarian, Rocking Our Priors) will replace it.
Madeleine Rauch and Shahzad Shaz Ansari just published an interesting open access article based on diaries of MSF humanitarians which to me confirms once again the value of reflective writing, a promise that development blogging rarely fulfilled. But I think that I am digressing a bit...
 
I think what made From Poverty to Power such a special place (perhaps even a community?) was finding the sweet spot between personal reflections, traditional “content” along the lines of summaries of papers or books and inviting interesting guests from Oxfam and beyond to contribute to the project or responding to contemporary #globaldev debates in the UK and beyond.
As I wrote, I do not think that any other platform (a term that has become almost a dirty word these days…) offers this kind of community building and engagement.
I went through my own archive and discovered our first virtual interaction took place in 2012 when we discussed gendered dynamics of blog writing. Or in 2018 when we discussed #globaldev trends and their implications on jobs in the aid industry (long before AI became the answer to (almost) everything...). 
 
But what made Duncan’s development blogging so special is his overall tone. Critical, inquisitive, but not cynical. Respectful to all parts of the development industry, but with the right amount of snark, e.g. towards academia and academic conferences. I called him "one of the politest 'ranters' on the Internet" afterwards.

Duncan always had an eye on the “price”: How do we achieve, or enable people to achieve (or not standing in the way of people achieving), a “better world”, from poverty to power. How do we make positive change happen?
Sharing people-centered, movement-centered, togetherness-centered development away from inequalities and injustices-nothing more, nothing less in a development community where humanitarian values have been undermined, NGO work is managing yet another ODA cut and development research turns into yet another 10-year-long RCT in Kenya.
 
Duncan’s retirement from blogging is also an opportunity for organizations, universities or free agents to fill this gap-let a 1000 From Poverty to Power projects bloom! From inside large NGOs, small movements, from Asia, Africa or elsewhere, from younger people,…
 
Right now, I want to thank Duncan for being such a great pillar of the digital #globaldev community!

Duncan will continue his engagement with #globaldev at LSE and it is up to us now to carry the torch of writing and building our digital development community!

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