Don’t get the hump, but what really changed on global income, and what didn’t?

March 29, 2019
I was wondering when that phrase would appear…..  Andy Sumner & Kathleen Craig of the King’s Department of International Development continue the humpology debate. Duncan’s blog on the global hump and Jose Manuel Roche’s reply raise the question of what has actually changed and what hasn’t. Here’s (yet) another take and in an attempt to be less geeky and more narrative-based,

Doing the hard stuff in tough places: please help us find the ‘seemingly impossible’ stories of success

March 28, 2019
Guest post from Grace Lyn Higdon, Irene Guijt and Ruth Mayne The list of reasons to feel depressed is long and growing. Recent elections ushering in sexist and violent heads of states; climate change even worse than predicted; backlash to #MeToo and, if you’re in the UK, the political swamp known as ‘Brexit’. Depressing – and urgent. When it comes to

Where is being faith based an asset in aid & development; where is it a liability?

March 27, 2019
For a lifelong atheist, I’ve been spending a startling amount of time recently rubbing shoulders with devout Christians and Muslims, discussing faith and development. Last week it was a panel organized by Tearfund, a Christian aid and development agency, to discuss a big internal review of its evolution over the 50 years since its foundation in 1968. The conversations at

How a new land rights study amplifies women’s hopes and fears – and makes us think again about solutions for everyone

March 26, 2019
Guest post by Renée Giovarelli on a new report published today  A couple of weeks ago, writing on this blog, Duncan asked a question: How do we, in the international development community, recognize and work with (let alone measure) issues like love, shame, fear, solidarity? As an advocate for women’s land rights, this question resonated with me. Whenever I hear

Links I Liked

March 25, 2019
A majority of people living in developed countries want their government to tax the rich more to help the poor, according to an OECD survey of 21 countries (not including the UK for some reason). Do we really Live in a One-Hump World? More humpiness, this time from Jason Hickel Complicating the Narratives. Excellent long read from Amanda Ripley on

How Latin American is my Theory of Change?

March 22, 2019
A recent email exchange with Asa Cusack of the LSE’s Latin America and Caribbean Centre (plus the Latin American tone of this week’s posts – Mexican, Argentine and Venezuelan guests in one week must be some kind of record) triggered a bout of nostalgia about my early days travelling in and writing about Latin America (roughly 1979-98) and set me wondering:

Why are we failing on gender? 3 bad excuses and 6 good ideas

March 21, 2019
March is women’s history month and Fabiola Esposito shares her reflections on the aid sector’s slow progress on women’s empowerment. Last week I went to a networking event for women working in international development about ‘women’s empowerment’ (WE) in Syria. During the Q&A one of the attendees asked an astonishing, but revealing, question: “Why do you think donors are now

The hump counter attack! Jose Manuel Roche sets me straight on the global transition (or lack of it)

March 20, 2019
Quite a few people disagreed with aspects of my recent post shifts in the global distribution of income. José Manuel Roche, Head of Research for Save the Children UK, felt moved to respond. I enjoyed Duncan’s recent blog about the shift from a two hump to a one hump world. Who wouldn’t? So I’d like throw in my two pennies’ worth

Is Mexico undergoing a transformation? Ricardo Fuentes on AMLO’s first 100 days.

March 19, 2019
In September, I interviewed my friend and Oxfam Mexico boss Ricardo Fuentes about the incoming president and his promises of a ‘4th transformation’ of the country. 100 days into the presidency of Andres Manuel López Obrador, I asked Ricardo to update us: A hundred days into the administration of Mexican President Andres Manuel López Obrador one thing is clear: his

Links I Liked

March 18, 2019
Everyday Sexism Bingo, ht Matthew Sherrington  Two posts on decolonising academia: African and Development Studies: Excellent from Laura Mann. And How Diverse is your Reading List? (Probably not very…) by Tin Hinane El Kadi ‘The Elders, a group of independent global leaders, is calling on the international community to agree on a rigorous governance framework for geoengineering’ by Ban Ki

5 Emerging Lessons from new research into Empowerment and Accountability in Messy Places

March 15, 2019
A second instalment on the recent conversation with DFID’s Social Development Advisers (see here for first instalment). John Gaventa summarized the emerging lessons from the DFID-funded Action for Empowerment and Accountability research programme, which he coordinates. A4EA is trying to work out whether the stuff we know about E&A in more stable places is different from what happens in fragile

6 ways to rethink aid for real, complex human beings

March 14, 2019
Last week I went along to the annual conference of DFID’s Social Development Advisers (SDAs – DFID has lots of acronyms). As well as giving them an initial picture of what the ‘Action for Empowerment and Accountability’ research programme is finding out about DFID’s adaptive management programmes, they asked me for a pre-dinner rant about what they should be thinking