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

5 Lessons from Working with Businesses to Support Workers around the World

This piece appeared on ETI’s May ‘Leadership Series’ blog yesterday I was present at the birth of ETI 20 years ago. Recently installed at the Catholic aid agency, CAFOD, I was sent off to discuss an obscure initiative to set up a ‘Monitoring and Verification Working Group’ for companies trying to assess labour standards in their […]

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Can ‘Doing Development Differently’ only succeed if aid donors stay away from it?

Another day, another seminar on Adaptive Management/Doing Development Differently/Thinking and Working Politically (let’s save words by just calling the whole thing DDD). This one was held under the Chatham House Rule, so no names or institutions. There was an interesting mix of academics and contractors – private companies who increasingly run the big contracts for […]

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Links I Liked

The 7 deadly sins – online version ht Sony Kapoor. Steven Pinker’s Ideas About Progress Are Fatally Flawed. These Eight Graphs Show Why. There are 7 universal moral rules: love your family, help your group, return favours, be brave, defer to authority, be fair, respect others’ property. These are the same across all cultures, according […]

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Which is better: a guaranteed job or a guaranteed income?

Guest post from Eleanor Chowns of Bath University Martin Ravallion (former Chief Economist of the World Bank, now at CGD) published a useful paper this week asking exactly this question.  As he says, there’s no simple answer – which is why the question is so interesting. Both ‘the right to work’ and ‘the right to […]

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Illicit economies, shadowy realms, and survival at the margins

Guest post by Eric Gutierrez, Senior Adviser on Tackling Violence and Building Peace at Christian Aid After the fall of the Taliban in 2001, poor landless farmers in the most conflict-affected areas of southern Afghanistan started migrating in increasing numbers to the relatively more insecure rocky desert areas. With the help of loans worth a […]

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How to decode a UN Report on Global Finance (and find an important disagreement with the World Bank on private v public)

A giant coalition of UN-affiliated aid organizations (3 pages of logos!) recently published Financing for Development: Progress and Prospects 2018. These big tent reports are a nightmare to write, and not much easier to read. Anything contentious is fought over by the participants, and the result tends to be pretty bland. I’m not sure how […]

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Links I Liked

If someone ever criticises your tidiness, show them this, the New York Review of Books office. Ht Padraig Belton States are Far Less Likely to Engage in Mass Violence Against Nonviolent Uprisings than Violent Uprisings How Costa Rica Gets It Right by Joseph E. Stiglitz Nice piece on ideas for avoiding boring time-suck meetings. My […]

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Value for money in UK aid: the good, the bad and the ugly

Cathy Shutt (left, on vintage phone) and Craig Valters unsugar a recent pill on DFID’s approach to Value for Money All aid programmes should be good ‘Value for Money’ – hard to argue with that, right? 8 years ago, DFID put this principle at the heart of its work. Here we reflect on a recent report […]

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Insurance hits peak hype in the aid & development biz – but what do we really know?

Guest post from Debbie Hillier, Oxfam’s Senior Humanitarian Policy Adviser There is a lot of enthusiasm for insurance right now in a range of different sectors humanitarians are particularly excited, hoping this is a quick win to fill the aching chasm in humanitarian aid climate change experts hope it will be an easy fix for […]

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5 ways to build Civil Society’s Legitimacy around the world

Saskia Brechenmacher and Thomas Carothers, of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, introduce and summarize the insights from their new collection of essays from civil society activists. Pressure on civic space keeps increasing around the world, driven by the toxic mix of rising authoritarianism, growing populism, and wobbly democracy. Battles over legitimacy are central to […]

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A day in the life of an Oxfam researcher – fancy joining the team?

Guest post from Deborah Hardoon (right) Psst, want my job? This is my last week as Deputy Head of Research at Oxfam. It’s a role which is as fascinating as it is challenging. You get to work on important global issues, with brilliant and bright people from all over the world. For details on the […]

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If you want to persuade decision makers to use evidence, does capacity building help?

This guest post comes from Isabel Vogel (independent consultant, left) and Mel Punton (Itad) Billions of pounds of development assistance is being channelled into research and science, with the assumption that this will help tackle global problems. But in many countries, decision makers don’t turn to evidence as their first port of call when developing […]

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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.