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

What can we learn from 7 successes in making markets work for poor people?

Hi everyone, I’m back from an August blog break, with lots of great reading to report back on. First up, if you’re even slightly interested in how markets can benefit poor people, I urge you to read Shaping Inclusive Markets, a new publication from FSG and Rockefeller. The 60 page document explains their approach to […]

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What researchers say v what they mean

This handy translation device from Claire Hutchings is reminiscent of an FP2P all time favourite ‘what Brits say v what they mean’. On the left, what they say; on the right, what they mean. Enjoy (and send me other similar exercises). And with that, I’m heading off on holiday – two weeks in the Scottish […]

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How might a systems approach change the way aid supports the knowledge sector in Indonesia?

For some reason, the summer months seem to involve a lot of cups of tea (and the occasional beer) with interesting people passing through London, often at my second office in Brixton. One of last week’s conversations was with Arnaldo Pellini, who has been working for ODI on a big ‘knowledge sector initiative’ in Indonesia. […]

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Capacity development is hard to do – but it’s possible to do it well

Lisa Denney’s gloomy take on the state of capacity building in the aid industry prompted quite a few comments and offers of blog posts, including this from Jon Harle of INASP, on organization that ‘strengthens the capacity of individuals and institutions to produce, share and use research and knowledge, in support of national development.’ Lisa […]

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Links I Liked

Geeks Franziska Mager and David Evans contributed their favourite cartoons about control groups (really) ‘Information does not lead to political accountability’. Important null result from some serious research raises big questions for transparency activists Best of luck to USAID’s new boss, Mark Green (no relation). Here’s a handy briefing for him on why the aid […]

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Looks like the NGOs are stepping up on ‘Doing Development Differently’. Good.

For several years I’ve been filling the ‘token NGO’ slot at a series of meetings about ‘doing development differently’ (DDD) and/or ‘thinking and working politically’ – networks largely dominated by official aid donors, academics, thinktanks and management consultants (good overview of all the different initiatives here). Periodically, a range of NGOs appear on the scene, […]

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NBA Superteams and Inclusive Growth: Doing Private Sector Development Differently

Guest post from Kartik Akileswaran of the Tony Blair Institute for Global Change (which is what the Africa Governance Initiative now calls itself) For as long as I can remember, National Basketball Association (NBA) fans, analysts, and team owners have worried that the dominance of a few teams would hold back the league. Many have advocated for […]

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Of Course Research Has Impact. Here’s how.

Irene Guijt, Oxfam GB’s head of research, puts me straight after my recent scepticism about the impact of research. And I don’t mean personal impact on CVs. At the annual Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) impact award ceremony in Westminster, I got a glimpse of the best of what that Research Council has to […]

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Where do South Africa’s activists go from here? A Cape Town conversation

My last morning in Cape Town last week was spent deep in discussion with three fine organizations – two local, one global. The global one was the International Budget Partnership, who I’ve blogged about quite a lot recently. The local ones were very different and both brilliant: the Social Justice Coalition and the Development Action […]

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Links I Liked

Washington’s corridors of power are looking empty in Donald Trump’s unfilled government: according to The Economist, ‘His lethargy, not Democratic obstinacy, is to blame’. Finding positive outliers on anti-corruption is surprisingly hard, because everyone disputes success stories. Brilliant from Caryn Pfeiffer What do India’s poor have to say about poverty and aid? First of an […]

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Aidspeak: some of your best/worst responses to my call for examples

Well you took a few hours to get started in response to Tuesday’s post, but then the floodgates opened and an avalanche of bullshit crashed over me via blog comments and tweets (and yes, mixed metaphors were discussed). Cheers guys. Within the aid business, a few patterns appear: Management obfuscation which sheds almost no light […]

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What do you do, when you don’t know what to do? Careers advice for the confused.

A colleague was recently waxing eloquent about George Monbiot’s advice to aspiring journalists (he gets so many enquiries that he’s written it up). It’s nicely written, as you’d expect, and basically urges young would-be Georges to follow their stars rather than money or security. Don’t go and do something you hate (eg write press releases […]

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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.