Welcome to From Poverty to Power

This platform explores the latest thinking and action on international development, highlighting issues of power, politics, hope and justice. It is curated by Duncan Green and Maria Faciolince.

Latest Posts

Book Review: Small Acts of Resistance

Writing a blog is a mixed blessing when it comes to freebies. You get sent some real turkeys in the shape of papers and books to review. But every now and then an unexpected treat drops into your pigeon hole. One such is ‘Small Acts of Resistance: How Courage, Tenacity and Ingenuity Can Change the […]

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Whose bottom billion?; another disease eradicated; the world's richest women; what price aid?; crazy food prices; Africa from the outside and death by consultation: links I liked

“My bottom billion is better than your bottom billion”: Andy Sumner v Paul Collier on an IDS podcast (and Paul comes out swinging – these academics take no prisoners). Further briefings on Andy’s boat-rocking Bottom Billion paper (previously reviewed on this blog) here. And if you’re in central London at 5pm tomorrow, why not drop […]

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Some good news from Africa: Burkina Faso's farming miracle

Just been reading ‘Helping Africa to Feed Itself: Promoting Agriculture to Reduce Poverty and Hunger’, a paper by Steve Wiggins and Henri Leturque, both of the ODI. It’s a brilliant and to my mind, very fair overview, with one of its main messages being that regional generalizations about Africa are usually misleading – some subregions […]

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How to write the recommendations to a report on almost anything: introducing Friday Formulae

I really enjoyed (if that’s the right word…) the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment, but when it got to its recommendations, it struck me as incredibly formulaic. In that respect, it resembled an awful lot of the stuff I read (and, I fear, write) from thinktanks, international organizations and NGOs – fascinating diagnosis; shame about the cure. […]

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An evening with Bill and Melinda Gates and the decade of vaccines: is this the future of aid?

On Monday night I joined the besuited masses of the UK development scene to sit at the feet (OK, in a crammed 400 seat lecture theatre) of Bill and Melinda Gates as they promoted the ONE campaign’s ‘Living Proof’ project on effective aid. It was great to hear an optimistic message on aid and development […]

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Social scientists v advocates; Europe's worst lobbyists; GSK's free pills; China's rare earths; suffragettes in Ethiopia; thirsty farms; communist facebook; intro to scarcity and resilience: links I liked

Texas in Africa is running a ‘how social scientists think’ week, in particular examining the differences between social scientists and advocates. Part I: what constitutes evidence? Sylvia Pankhurst, heroine of Ethiopian independence as well as her better known role as leader of the British suffragette movement Want to help select the worst lobbyist in Europe? […]

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What does ageing mean for development? Guest blog from someone who knows

Last week I blogged on the rapid pace of global ageing (even though I’ve just noticed that I can’t spell ‘ageing’), and asked for suggestions on what it might mean for development policy. Mark Gorman, HelpAge International’s Director of Strategic Development, obliges with this guest blog. “So what does ageing mean for development? Will low and middle income […]

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Agriculture is key to development – why I (partly) disagree with Owen Barder

It was World Food Day on Saturday, in case you missed it, and Owen Barder had a typically thought-provoking reflection on the links between agriculture and development. He starts off by quoting Amartya Sen’s words from 30 years ago, “Starvation is the characteristic of some people not having enough food to eat. It is not the characteristic […]

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Indices on hunger and African governance and problems with mashups; technology and development; 10 trends to watch; currency wars and Evo puts the boot in: Links I liked

Wonks like a good index (or even a bad one), so here are a couple – first IFPRI’s 2010 Global Hunger Index with interactive map (drag and drop the pointer over the country you are interested in) And the latest index of African governance from the Mo Ibrahim Foundation – as usual, Mauritius comes top, Somalia […]

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Inspiring news on child mortality from Hans Rosling, showman extraordinaire

He’s looking a little frail, and his sword-swallowing days may be over, but Hans Rosling’s presentational skills are undiminished – who else would praise a UN report, but rip out one page that he doesn’t like, screw it into a ball, hurl it away and announce to a lecture theatre full of listeners, ‘it’s crap’? […]

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What does global aging mean for development?

Following on last week’s post on obesity, here’s another trend that’s rarely talked about (at least in development circles, with the honourable exception of Helpage International) – global aging. c/o Phillip Longman in Foreign Policy magazine. “The global growth rate dropped from 2 percent in the mid-1960s to roughly half that today, with many countries […]

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Is the aid industry's audit culture becoming a threat to accountability?

I’m a big fan of Rosalind Eyben, of IDS, so got her permission to cut and paste her note of a meeting she organized recently while I was wandering around Ethiopia. It brought together some 70 development practitioners and researchers worried about the current trend for funding organisations to support only those programmes designed to […]

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Managed and curated by

Duncan Green

Duncan is strategic adviser for Oxfam GB, author of ‘How Change Happens’ and Professor in Practice at the London School of Economics.

Maria Faciolince

Maria is an anthropologist, activist - researcher and multimedia communicator working with Oxfam GB.