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

Links I Liked

Off to Cape Town this week, giving talks on Thursday lunchtime at the Isivivana Centre in Khayelitsha; Friday lunchtime at the GSDPP in Rondebosch and Friday evening at the Sustainability Institute in Stellenbosch. The Hamburg G20 riots: That feeling when you’re overthrowing capitalism but just can’t resist taking a selfie on your iPhone 7 (plus […]

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How Does the Aid System need to Change? Reflections from the OECD’s new aid boss

Charlotte Petri Gornitzka took over as chair of the OECD’s Development Assistance Committee last October, and from her new vantage point, reflects on the necessary evolution of the aid system For the aid system, the SDGs call for transformation rather than “business as usual”. Everybody is talking the talk but how ready and willing are […]

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What has the iPhone got to do with inequality? New Oxfam Book Review blog

I often get asked for more book reviews on the blog (presumably to give readers the bluffer’s guide until they get round to reading the real thing, if ever). So very happy to see that Oxfam’s research wonks have started ‘Book Banter’ – a development book review service. Follow here. Any other good sources of development […]

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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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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.