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

Which aspects of How Change Happens resonate with campaigners?

Writing, and then promoting, How Change Happens has often left me feeling a bit remote from ‘the field’, with a nagging anxiety that what I am saying no longer has much connection with what people are doing on (or at least closer to) the ground. So it was great to get online with some of […]

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Are Academics really that bad at achieving/measuring Impact? Summary of last week’s punch-up

Last week’s post about academics struggling to design their research for impact certainly got a reaction. Maybe not a twitter storm, but at least a bit of a squall. So it’s time to summarize the debate and reflect a bit. The post annoyed some people in the ‘research for impact’ community, because it was basically […]

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Links I Liked

I’m in South Africa next week (19th-25th).  Cape Town, then a couple of days in Joburg. Only public event so far is on Friday 21st in Cape Town. Get in touch if you want to organize anything or simply meet up Oxfam stuff: 700 posters from the archive. Gold for students of charity history/changing use […]

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What’s the problem with Globalization?

Globalization, remember that? When I first entered the development NGO scene in the late 90s it was all the rage. Lots of rage. The anti-globalization movement roared from summit to summit. Academics traded books and papers that boosted or critiqued. The World Bank used voodoo modelling to show that really we’d all be better off […]

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$15bn is spent every year on training, with disappointing results. Why the aid industry needs to rethink ‘capacity building’.

Guest post from Lisa Denney of ODI Every year a quarter of international aid – approximately US$15 billion globally – is spent on capacity development. That is, on sending technical assistants to work in ministries or civil society, running training programmes, conducting study tours or exchanges, or supplying resources and equipment to help organisations function […]

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Two days with the Radiographers of Power

Spent another couple of days with the International Budget Partnership (IBP) last week. If budgets sound boring and bean-counter ish, consider this quote from Rudolf Goldscheid: “the budget is the skeleton of the state stripped of all misleading ideologies.” Follow the money, because the rest is spin. The IBP trains and supports civil society organizations […]

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If academics are serious about research impact, they need to learn from advocates

As someone who works for both Oxfam and the LSE, I often get roped in to discuss how research can have more impact on ‘practitioners’ and policy. This is a big deal in academia – the UK government runs a periodic ‘research excellence framework’ (REF) exercise, which allocates funds for university research on the basis […]

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Links I Liked

Mount Stupid, the perfect first slide for most of my presentations….. RIP Michael Bond, creator of Paddington Bear, one of Britain’s best loved illegal migrants. Here’s a delightful 2014 analysis of his legal status Man with 176 children seeks government support. ‘I receive 10 calls every day from different wives who want attention…’ How can […]

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Shouting or cooperating? What’s the best way to use indexes to get better local government?

Went to an enjoyable panel at ODI last week, with the wonderful subtitle ‘Shouting at the system won’t make it work!’. It presented new research on how to improve the accountability of local government in Tanzania. Here’s the paper presented by two of the authors, Anna Mdee and Patricia Tshomba, the first of a series. […]

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Digested read: 3 new papers on measuring women’s empowerment; gender and ISIS; women’s rights in the Middle East and North Africa

Just sampled a couple of hundred pages of Oxfam’s prodigious output on gender issues. 3 new papers, to be precise, all of them ground-breaking in different ways. A ‘How To’ Guide to Measuring Women’s Empowerment; a Gender and Conflict Analysis in ISIS-affected communities in Iraq, and Gender Justice, Conflict and Fragility in the Middle East […]

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What is really going on within ‘shrinking civil society space’ and how should international actors respond?

Good conversation (Chatham House Rule) last week on the global crackdown on civil society organizations (CSOs) and what to do about it. I was expecting a fairly standard ‘it’s all terrible; international NGOs must take action, speak truth to power etc’ discussion, but it was actually much more interesting and nuanced than that. While it […]

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On hype, Impact Investing and the Valley of Death

How do we build bridges across the Valley of Death? That’s the arresting image in a recent Oxfam paper on ‘impact investing’. The valley of death (see diagram) is the gap that firms face as they move from small start ups to Big Biz. In the start-up stage they raise cash wherever they can find […]

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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.