What does the public think about inequality, its causes and policy responses?

March 29, 2018
Irene Bucelli, (left) of the LSE and Franziska Mager, of Oxfam GB, summarize the results from an Oxfam volunteer research project When it comes to inequality, a growing body of evidence shows that people across countries underestimate the size of the gap between the rich and poor, including their wages. This can undermine support for policies to tackle inequality and

The UK Labour Party sets out its stall on International Development – here’s why you should take a look

March 28, 2018
I’ve just been reading the UK Labour Party’s Green Paper on International Development (out this week). ‘Green Papers’ are not about the colour (this one is actually red), but ‘designed to stimulate discussion and set the direction for the Labour Party’s programme for government.’ I work for an NGO, so a couple of minor gripes first: the party political point

International Donors and the exporting of 19th Century Poor Relief to developing countries

March 27, 2018
  This post comes from Stephen Kidd, Senior Social Policy Specialist at Development Pathways Early last year, the UK’s Daily Mail newspaper expressed its concern that the UK’s Department for International Development (DFID)  was exporting ‘the dole’ – in other words, a welfare system for the poor – to developing countries through its financing of a range of ‘cash transfer’

Links I Liked

March 26, 2018
Definitions of politics, from Tanzanian kids. Take your pick, but I’m with Hayley. Ht January Makamba  New IMF report: ‘The share of countries at elevated risk of debt distress, e.g. Ghana, Lao PDR, & Mauritania, or already unable to service their debt fully has almost doubled to 40% since 2013.’ Plus lenders are more diverse this time around, so it’s

What is really stopping the aid business shifting to adaptive programming?

March 23, 2018
Jake Allen, Head of Governance for Sub Saharan Africa at the British Council, left such a well argued, sweetly written comment on Graham Teskey’s recent post that I thought I’d post it separately “For every complex problem, there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong.” (HL Mencken said something similar to this, just not as pithily) With each piece

Bruised but better: the stronger case for evidence-based activism in East Africa

March 22, 2018
Wrapping up Twaweza week, Varja Lipovsek (left) and Aidan Eyakuze reflect on the event that has provided the last week’s posts It was a stormy couple of days in Dar es Salaam. First, it is the rainy season, so the tent in which we held our meeting flapped and undulated over our heads like a loose sail. More importantly, we

Can religion play a role in evidence-obsessed governance strategies? Lessons from Tanzania

March 21, 2018
Next up in the Twaweza series, Aikande Clement Kwayu reflects on the development sector’s blind spot with religion When it comes to social change, religion is a double-edged sword. It can be both a force for good and/or for bad. The world-wide positive contribution by religious organisations in providing public services such as health and education is undisputed.  The role

When does Tech → Innovation? Here’s what 178 projects tell us

March 20, 2018
Next up in Twaweza week, a realists’ guide to tech and development. I’m basically a grumpy old technophobe who can’t even manage Excel, and whose hackles rise whenever geewhizz geeks pop up and claim that the latest digital gizmo (blockchain, clicktivism or whatever) is going to usher us all into the promised land. I dislike the implicit individualism, the blind

Links I Liked

March 19, 2018
How a Viral Eye Roll broke the silence on China’s heavily censored web Stephen Hawking had pinned his hopes on ‘M-theory’ to fully explain the universe – here’s what it is If you live in Brixton, love London, or are a generally sentient human being, watch Molly Dineen’s new film: ‘a unique insight into being black in Britain in 2018,

Etymological map of Africa

March 18, 2018
Etymological map of Africa. I particularly like ‘He Who Talks too Much’ (Lalibela. Ethiopia), ‘It has Sunk’ (Dodoma, Tanzania), and ‘Chief Who never Sleeps’ (Harare. Zimbabwe) ht Ranil Dissanayake

Which Citizens? Which Services? Unpacking Demand for Improved Health, Education, Roads, Water etc

March 16, 2018
Next up in the Twaweza series is this post from Ruth Carlitz of the University of Gothenburg. Please read and comment on the draft paper she summarizes here. Clean water. Paved roads. Quality education. Election campaigns in poor countries typically promise such things, yet the reality on the ground often falls short. So, what do people do? Wait for five

How can researchers and activists influence African governments? Advice from an insider

March 15, 2018
One of the highlights of the Twaweza meeting was hearing from Togolani Mavura (left), the Private Secretary to former President Kikwete (in Tanzania, ex-presidents get a staff for life, not like in the UK where they have to hawk themselves round the after dinner speaking circuit). Togolani has worked across the  various policy levels  of the Tanzanian goverment, and his talk