What are governance advisers missing with ‘Political Economy Analysis’? How can they do better?

Duncan Green - October 8, 2015

From a restaurant in Jakarta, David Hudson & Heather Marquette with some new thinking on power, politics and governance What advice would you give to a novice governance advisor working for a bilateral donor going into the field for the first time? Want to know how some of the top governance experts, advisors, researchers and academics would say? Well, wonder no more. In a welcome …

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Reforming FIFA: what can we learn from experience with (other) corrupt autocrats?

Duncan Green - June 11, 2015

This guestie comes from Birmingham University’s Paul Jackson and Heather Marquette Acres (how many football pitches-worth, we wonder) have been written about the footballing earthquake that followed the arrest of several FIFA officials and the melodramatic end of Sepp Blatter’s reign. But here’s another angle. In the world of development politics there are striking parallels between Blatter’s leadership of FIFA since 1998 and the modus operandi …

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What would persuade the aid business to ‘think and work politically’?

Duncan Green - March 4, 2015

Some wonks from the ‘thinking and working politically’ (TWP) network discussed its influencing strategy last week. There were some people with proper jobs there, who demanded Chatham House Rules, which happily means I don’t have to remember who said what (or credit anyone). The discussion was interesting because it covered ground relevant to almost anyone trying to shift an internal consensus (in this case towards …

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Working With The Grain: an important new book on rethinking approaches to governance

Duncan Green - January 6, 2015

Even though it’s relatively short (223 pages), Working With the Grain (WWTG) took me two months to finish, but I’m glad I did. It adds to a growing and significant body of literature on ‘doing development differently’/’thinking and working politically’ – Matt Andrews, Adrian Leftwich, David Booth, Diana Cammack, Sue Unsworth etc. (Like Matt and Adrian, WWTG author Brian Levy is a white South African …

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Using aid to strengthen Parliaments: fix the car, or worry about the driver?

Duncan Green - November 24, 2014

You’d think that all the aid money trying to install functioning democracies around the world would target parliaments and political parties. In fact, they are more often an afterthought. Alina Rocha Menocal (Developmental Leadership Program, University of Birmingham) looks at the evidence and explains the neglect. People all over the world have a very low opinion of parliaments and parliamentarians. Indeed, surveys suggest that, along …

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Politics, economists and the dangers of pragmatism: reflections on DFID’s governance and conflict conference

Duncan Green - November 14, 2014

DFID really is an extraordinary institution. I spent Monday and Tuesday at the annual get together one of its tribes professional cadres – about 200 advisers on governance and conflict. They were bombarded with powerpoints from outside speakers (including me), but still found time for plenty of ‘social loafing’, aka networking with their mates. Some impressions: They are hugely bright and committed, wrestling to get stuff …

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What are the big trends on conflict and fragility? Some great presentations at DFID

Duncan Green - November 13, 2014

I spent a seriously interesting couple of days this week in a rainswept Brighton, attending DFID’s annual get together of its 200 (approx) governance and conflict advisers. Definitely worth a couple of posts – I’ll give some general impressions tomorrow, but want to start with a fascinating panel on conflict and fragility. First up was David Harland, an ex diplomat with a wry sense of …

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What can we learn from big advocacy initiatives in the Philippines on education, violence against women, reproductive health and freedom of information?

Duncan Green - September 12, 2014

Ahead of next week’s Thinking and Working Politically seminar, here’s another case study from The Asia Foundation, which has got some impressive advocacy results in the Philippines. Room for Maneuver (book and research brief) examines four social policy reforms to try and draw lessons for advocacy work. They are 1. The successful passage of the Anti-Violence Against Women and their Children Act in 2004; 2. …

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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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How to build accountability in fragile states? Some lessons (and 2 new jobs) from an innovative governance programme.

Duncan Green - February 11, 2014

One of my favourite Oxfam programmes is called (rather arcanely) ‘Within and Without the State’. It is trying to build civil society and good governance in some pretty unpromising environments – Yemen, South Sudan, Afghanistan and OPTI (Occupied Palestinian Territory and Israel). It’s currently advertising two new jobs (one on learning and communications, the other a programme coordinator), if you’re interested. WWS recently published some …

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