Topic: Politics

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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Take-up and Doubt: where have we got to on Thinking and Working Politically?

Spent a day this week at a Washington workshop on ‘From Thinking Politically to Working Politically’, organized by Abt Associates, whose Graham Teskey is one of the TWP gurus. What struck me most was the combination of the spreading acceptance of TWP approaches within the aid sector, and serious questions being asked about important aspects […]

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Book Review: The Business of Changing the World, by Raj Kumar

I found reading The Business of Changing the World rather disturbing – a bit like being taken hostage by a cult and submitted to polite but persistent brainwashing for several days (I’m a slow reader). The cult in question is what Anand Giridharadas calls ‘MarketWorld’ – an effusive, evangelical belief in the power of markets, […]

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In ‘Winner Takes All’, Anand Giridharadas takes down philanthropy’s ‘MarketWorld’: Book Review

If you’ve ever been irked by the combination of arrogance, platitude, complacency and dismissiveness that often characterizes the private sector-aid complex (philanthropists, management consultants, foundations, impact investors and their groupies across the aid business), then this is the book for you. In Winner Takes All, Anand Giridharadas hangs out at their motivational talks and high […]

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How should INGOs respond to growing nationalism in the UK?

Guest post from Matthew Spencer, (@Spencerthink) Oxfam’s Director of Campaigns, Policy & Influencing Kirsty McNeill, my counterpart from Save the Children UK, asked me this question last year and it’s been troubling me ever since. I had a vague answer, but wasn’t entirely convinced. We have no mandate to take sides on Brexit, but I […]

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How to Write About Africa: RIP Binyavanga Wainaina

Binyavanga Wainaina, the Kenyan writer, died last week, aged 48. Here is his brilliant, witheringly satirical piece ‘How to Write About Africa’, first published in Granta magazine in 2005. Always use the word ‘Africa’ or ‘Darkness’ or ‘Safari’ in your title. Subtitles may include the words ‘Zanzibar’, ‘Masai’, ‘Zulu’, ‘Zambezi’, ‘Congo’, ‘Nile’, ‘Big’, ‘Sky’, ‘Shadow’, […]

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How do 40 supersmart young Global Activists want to change the world?

I’ve spent the last three weeks buried in marking. For most academics, this is the time of the year they complain about most – marking at Masters level is an exhausting affair requiring sustained concentration to spot what is missing, as well as critique what is there – deep brain fade is unavoidable. But what […]

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Is the African Diaspora the Continent’s “Secret Weapon”?

Diasporas are often treated as foreigners in their adopted homes and as traitors in their place of birth, despite often hidden cultural and economic contributions. In this post, first published on the LSE’s Africa Centre blog, Behailu Shiferaw Mihirete writes about the potential hidden within the African diaspora across the globe.  Behailu is a is […]

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The African Continental Free Trade Area is expanding, but who will benefit?

Brenda Kombo is a socio-cultural anthropologist and lawyer based in Nairobi, Kenya. On April 2, 2019, The Gambia ratified the agreement establishing the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA). In doing so, it joined 21 other African countries, thus helping usher the agreement into force as the threshold of 22 ratifications was reached. But what does this really mean for Africa? […]

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The UK’s new Development Minister, Rory Stewart, is a genuine intellectual – here’s a review of his book on Fragile States and the Failings of Western Intervention

Rory Stewart became the UK’s Secretary of State for International Development on Wednesday. We now have a minister with a genuine commitment to, and knowledge of, international development – for the last two years he has ducked out of his ministerial duties to come to speak to my LSE students. After his first lecture, I […]

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