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

Why is Africa’s Civil Society under Siege?

Oxfam’s Ross Clarke (Governance and Legal Adviser ) and Desire Assogbavi (Resident Representative & Head of Office, Oxfam International Liaison Office to the African Union) introduce a new analysis of the threats to African civil society After years on the margins of the mainstream development agenda, addressing civic space is finally getting the attention it […]

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What can Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings and the Matrix teach us about how change happens?

Chatting to academics in the US last week, we swapped notes on the merits of using shared cultural references to convey some of the key ideas around how change happens. They act as a short cut, allowing subtle, nuanced ideas to be discussed on the basis of a large pool of common knowledge. You need […]

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On theories of change, what are the differences between playing offence and defence?

Unsurprisingly, in this year of Brexit and US elections, I’ve been thinking about how to stop bad stuff happening. While they are doubtless desperately looking for silver linings in a year of defeats, progressive movements are likely to spend a good part of the next few years defending good things from political assault. So what […]

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Links I Liked

Social Wealth Funds, publicly owned, that pursue social good & reduce (rather than exacerbate) inequality. A smart proposal from Stewart Lansley Talking of wealth, you can always rely on the FT magazine’s ‘How to Spend It’ column to answer the really pressing questions of the age: ‘when your superyacht is too small, you are no […]

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How do we choose the most promising theory of change? Building on the context-intervention 2×2

One of the slides from my standard HCH presentation that resonated most during the many conversations and book launches in the US was the 2×2 on which kinds of interventions are compatible with different contexts. I first blogged about this a year ago, when the 2×2 emerged during a workshop of aid wonks, but the […]

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Adaptive Management looks like it’s here to stay. Here’s why that matters.

The past two weeks in Washington, New York and Boston have been intense, leaving lots of unpacking for the blog. Let’s start with the numerous discussions on ‘adaptive management’ (AM), which seems to where the big aid agencies have found a point of entry into the whole ‘Doing Development Differently’ debate. I spent a day […]

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A lesson on power and the abstruse (or a love-peeve relationship Part 2)

Duly provoked by yesterday’s assault on IDS’ use of language, John Gaventa responds with a really nice story/rebuttal As ever, we are delighted to see Duncan Green’s interesting and incisive blog on the new IDS Bulletin on Power, Poverty and Inequality. In talking about what he calls his ‘love – peeve’ relationship with IDS, Duncan […]

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Power, Poverty and Inequality: a ‘love-peeve’ new IDS bulletin

I have something of a love-hate relationship with the Institute of Development Studies (IDS) in Brighton, or more accurately, a love-peeve. I love the topics, the commitment to bottom-up approaches, and the intellectual leadership IDS has shown over the years on a whole range of issues dear to my heart. The peeve stems from its […]

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Links I Liked

Despite being on the road in US flogging books, a couple of things caught my bleary jet-lagged eye. Delighted that How Change Happens makes it to the top of ‘Thoughtful Campaigner’s’ Xmas book recommendations for development wonks. Whole list is worth a look. Lots of stuff on aid Characteristically contrarian MSF critique of the localization […]

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Doing Data Differently: Lessons from the Results Data Initiative

Guest post from Dustin Homer, Director of Engagement and Partnerships at Development Gateway Development folks see magical possibilities for data-driven decision-making. We want data and evidence to improve our work—to help us reach marginalized people, allocate budgets effectively, and see which activities work the best. And it’s not all buzz; we’re getting serious about investing […]

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Are we heading for another debt crisis? If so, what should we be doing?

Just when you thought life couldn’t get more retro (Leonard Cohen on the radio, post-Brexit trade negotiations, impending nuclear war), here comes another debt crisis. Probably. Had a good briefing from some key wonks in Development Finance International and the Jubilee Debt Campaign, two small but vital watchdogs that play a vital role in maintaining […]

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Are these the worst aid agency road-side signs ever? Send in your candidates

Jonathan Tanner is communications manager at the Africa Governance Initiative (check out their new ‘art of delivery’ paper). Here he calls out some truly dire communication by aid agencies I was recently in Sierra Leone and Liberia to record a series of podcasts for AGI. The things I saw ranged from the jaw-dropping beauty of dawn […]

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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.