Topic: Politics

‘This Shit is Killing Me’: Dalit rights and Mumbai’s sewers

I thought I’d enliven the summer by posting some of the top blog posts from this year’s students in my LSE class on ‘Advocacy, Campaigning and Grassroots activism‘. Their individual assignment was to design a campaign strategy for a cause close to their hearts, and write a blog about it. First up, Monica Moses on […]

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Some humour to lighten the gloom

Don’t know about you, but watching the daily news isn’t much fun these days (nor is the weather/climate), and this week in particular, I am sorely in need of light relief. There was even a riot at my local swimming pool yesterday. So back to the abandoned series of ‘Friday funnies’: here’s a few previous […]

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Supporting Feminist and Queer Activists Under Growing Threat Worldwide

This post first appeared on the Urgent Action Fund Africa site, under a Creative Commons License. Within women human rights activist circles, the recent rape and murder of Viktoria Marinova, journalist covering EU corruption, is all too familiar to circumstances surrounding the killing of Brazil’s Marielle Franco. And similar yet to the murder of Berta Caceres, a well-known environmental […]

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How Change Happens: the podcast

I spoke to Jo Howard from IDS about How Change Happens for their book podcast Between the Lines. Here it is: With podcasts, I always try to provide a blog-length set of excerpts for people who prefer reading to listening, but I honestly couldn’t bear to listen to myself this time. So huge thanks to […]

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Book Review: Civic Activism Unleashed: New Hope or False Dawn for Democracy? by Richard Youngs

This book promised a lot, but only partially delivered. There’s enough substance there to warrant a read, though. The book’s starting point is an upsurge in ‘new activism’ around the world. Robert Putnam’s anomic world of lonely people ‘Bowling Alone’ is looking pretty silly right now. The new activism is very different from the professionalized […]

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How have societies rebuilt trust in their leaders? Your ideas please!

What can we learn from history about how to rebuild the trust between political leaders and citizens that seems to have evaporated in recent years? This was the topic of a recent exchange with Paddy Radcliffe. Paddy has launched a project to ‘build trustworthiness and trust in and between our public leaders, institutions and citizens’ in […]

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If top down control is unavoidable, can we still make aid more compatible with systems thinking?

Had a really interesting conversation last week with Oxfam Intermon and its friends in the Catalan aid system (in Spain, aid is regional with provinces and even cities like Barcelona pursuing active aid policies). I gave my usual rap about how complex systems require aid providers to adopt iterative, adaptive approaches to cope with uncertainty […]

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Is Africa facing its second debt crisis? What are the solutions?

Guest post from Jaime Atienza of Oxfam Intermon Here we go again. Though different to their “first debt crisis”, which was incubated in the 80s, hit in the 90s and was resolved (partly) in the 2000s, the situation is again profoundly uphill for a growing number of African countries: in 2019 their debt repayments as […]

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Return to Chiquitania: What’s changed in the 13 years since my first, mind-blowing visit?

Back in 2006, two encounters with grassroots change processes shaped a lot of what I have written ever since. The first was with the fishing communities of Tikamgarh – I went back to see them again in 2016 and made this video. The other was the Chiquitano indigenous group in Bolivia, a second inspiring story […]

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What have we learned from a close look at 3 DFID Adaptive Management programmes?

Adaptive Management week part 3 (with some trepidation given the recent comments from Heather Marquette et al about the proliferation of flakey case studies in lieu of evidence)…. My paper with Angela Christie summarizing our 3 case studies of big DFID-funded Adaptive Management projects in Myanmar, Tanzania and Nigeria is now online. Every word in […]

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What we’re missing by not getting our TWP alphabet straight

TWP guru Heather Marquette does everyone a great service by explaining the important differences between all the acronyms. I am struck by how often people say ‘TWP/PDIA/adaptive management/PEA…whatever’. Kind of like when my great-aunt calls me by various relatives’ names first before getting mine right – ‘Sheila… Mary…Lily…Heather!’ – these things may share a common genesis, […]

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What does the evidence tell us about ‘thinking and working politically’ in development assistance?

We’re having an ‘Adaptive Management week’ on FP2P, because so much good material has been coming through recently. First up is a new paper by Niheer Dasandi, Edward Laws, Heather Marquette, and Mark Robinson that I read on the way to the TWP conference in Washington that I wrote about recently. It really got me thinking. […]

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