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

Living in interesting times: one year in the life of Oxfam’s Women’s Rights Director

Nikki van der Gaag looks back on her first year as Oxfam’s Gender Justice and Women’s Rights Director. ‘May you live in interesting times’ is a Chinese saying that could equally be a promise or a curse. In the past decade, there can’t have been many more interesting times to be working on women’s rights […]

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Book Review: Norms in the Wild: How to Diagnose, Measure, and Change Social Norms, by Cristina Bicchieri

Alice Evans was raving about this book on twitter, so I scrounged a review copy and read it on holiday (that’s just how I roll). Verdict? A useful resource on an incredibly important topic (see my previous blogs), but sorry Alice, no cigar. Why important? Because norms are the neglected heart of development and social […]

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From Starving Greece in 1942 to Yemen and Nigeria in 2017: Why Total War is still Wrong

Ed Cairns worries that, 75 years since Oxfam was founded, we have returned to an era of heartless total war When a group of people met in Oxford’s University Church on 5 October 1942, they talked about the dire shortage of food in Nazi-occupied countries, and how to raise money and get relief through the […]

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Book Review: How to Resist: Turn Protest to Power, by Matthew Bolton

Full disclosure: Matt Bolton works for Citizens UK, an organization of which I am a big fan, and who my son works for, but if you’re OK with that level of bias, read on. Citizens UK is a fascinating community organization, with a reputation far beyond its relatively small size (currently about 30 full time […]

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Links I Liked

What did foreigners ever do for us? Hamburg Supermarket Edeka decided to remove all foreign items from its shelves to make a point about xenophobia ht Sony Kapoor Is it possible to calculate the return on investment for a research policy project? Here’s one attempt in Indonesia Robin Hood had the right idea: Stephany Griffith-Jones […]

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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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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.