active citizens

Can donors support civil society activism without destroying it? Some great evidence from Nigeria

Duncan Green - September 9, 2014

The Thinking and Working Politically crew are reassembling next week to discuss how better to apply power analysis, political economy etc in the practice of aid, so I thought I’d highlight a couple of good examples in advance. First up is some really exciting work from DFID’s State Accountability and Voice Initiative in Nigeria, which suggests that even big donors can successfully support citizen engagement …

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What’s missing from the ‘Active Citizens + Effective States’ formula in From Poverty to Power?

Duncan Green - March 3, 2014

Oh dear. Be careful what you wish for. When I wrote From Poverty to Power (the book, not the blog), we came up with a nice subtitle that seemed to capture a common thread linking the very diverse topics covered in the book – ‘How Active Citizens and Effective States can Change the World.’ But now I’m starting to regret it. At the time (the …

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How are citizens' movements getting more active in Asia? Lessons from a 10 country dialogue

admin - October 3, 2012

Yesterday’s post discussed two of the case studies from last week’s Asia Development Dialogue on active citizenship. Today’s installment covers my more general thoughts  on the discussion, based on some final reflections I was asked to give at the end of the day. First, I felt pretty privileged to be able to eavesdrop on a conversation between activists, political leaders and academics from 10 Asian countries: …

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Building Active Citizenship and Accountability in Asia: case studies from Vietnam and India

admin - October 2, 2012

Last week I attended a seminar in Bangkok on ‘active citizenship’ in Asia, part of an ‘Asia Development Dialogue’ organized by Oxfam, Chulalongkorn University and the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy and supported by the Rockefeller Foundation. It brought together a diverse group of local mayors, human rights activists and academics, and discussed a series of case studies. Two in particular caught my …

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The Democratic Developmental State: Goal, Utopia, or somewhere in between?

admin - February 2, 2012

There’s nothing more disturbing than belatedly realizing that you’ve written two papers in close succession that contradict each other. Does it make you an open-minded liberal, or just a confused dimwit? Judge for yourself based on these two papers: one, an internal paper for Oxfam, tries to capture and update the argument of From Poverty to Power that development arises from the interaction of active …

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Book Review: how citizen action leads to national change

admin - April 9, 2010

When discussing social change (or anything else), there’s no substitute for good case studies. They inspire and provoke new thinking, helping us move beyond platitudes and generalizations, and they stick in the mind as islands of reality in a sea of social science blah. ‘Citizen action and national policy: making change happen’ a new book edited by John Gaventa and Rosemary McGee of the Institute …

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Does Grassroots Activism Work? Two new collections of case studies

admin - December 4, 2008

NGOs talk a lot about empowerment, voice, agency, grassroots mobilisation etc but it sometimes sounds a little woolly and you can’t help wondering if it actually amounts to much more than talk. Still those doubts. Two new collections of case studies, from the Institute of Development Studies and Oxfam, provide a gold mine of real life examples.

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How did the book go down in Obamerica?

admin - November 25, 2008

Just got back exhausted from an intense two week tour of the US organized by the hyper-efficient Kristen Prince at Oxfam America. Highlights included an afternoon on Capitol Hill in West Wing Wonderland discussing the book with Congressional staffers, big and enthusiastic turnouts at the Gates Foundation, Northeastern, Georgetown and Brandeis Universities and the World Bank (where we broke our sales record), a presentation to …

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