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Leadership Tips from Someone Who Knows

July 7, 2023
Just got back from Dakar, and a great few days with the latest cohort of leaders from UN, INGOs and Red Cross/Red Crescent, all coming together in our GELI programme on influencing and advocacy, learning from each other (and occasionally from the LSE team). On top of the busy working day schedule, we invited along Elhadj As Sy (right) to
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Book Review: How to Stand Up to a Dictator, by Maria Ressa

June 13, 2023
Reading this book by the 2021 Nobel Peace Prize winner, Maria Ressa, got me thinking about the mental landscapes of the journalists I know. Articles are essentially linear (beginning, middle end), and a good journalist keeps shades of grey to a minimum if they don’t want to lose their readers. For those activist journalists who are motivated to change their
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Fixing the power imbalances of aid and development: A paradox

June 6, 2023
Thanks to Exfamer Bert Maerten for sending over this interesting reflection by Soli Middleby (16 page paper from Partnership Brokers Association). Some excerpts: ‘Leaving aside the complex and important debates around the actual effectiveness of development3 there should be little doubt that the industry operates on a significant, complex, and historic power imbalance. The development industry’s own practitioners and policy
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Featured image for “Reforming the World Bank: some good ideas, but where’s the power, politics and feasibility?”

Reforming the World Bank: some good ideas, but where’s the power, politics and feasibility?

May 31, 2023
Spent a half day at ODI recently discussing the reform of the Multilateral Development Banks (MDBs) – the global ones like World Bank, the regional ones like the Asia or African Development Bank, and the new ones like the BRICs Bank. It was interesting for what was said, but also for what was missing. First what was said: On World
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What does politically smart support to democracy and human rights look like?

May 23, 2023
Guest Post by Laure-Hélène Piron and Alina Rocha Menocal with Kate Byom This blog is published to coincide with a webinar on “Making a difference: How Applied Political Economy Analysis contributes to impact through better informed decisions” on Wednesday 24 May. It shares the findings of a Learning Review on the use of PEA in three USAID-funded human rights projects
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Where thinking and working politically meets gender: tactics that have worked

May 17, 2023
Guest post by  Jane Lonsdale and Joanne Choe. This post was first published on the DevPolicy blog Questions that repeatedly come up when supporting reform programs include: how do we work with local politics to influence change without reinforcing existing elitism and capture of power? How do we “dance with the system” whilst at the same time trying to change the system?
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Why are Civil Wars Lasting Longer?

May 11, 2023
‘Why are civil wars lasting longer?’ Asked a recent Economist essay – exactly the kind of big, hairy question to justify my subscription. Don’t agree with all of it, but very thought-provoking. Some extracts from a typically highly readable piece: ‘The average ongoing conflict in the mid-1980s had been blazing for about 13 years; by 2021 that figure had risen to 20.
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Featured image for “Seeing the forest beyond the trees: Coalition building in Indonesia and beyond and the lessons for donors”

Seeing the forest beyond the trees: Coalition building in Indonesia and beyond and the lessons for donors

May 2, 2023
Guest post by Nicola Nixon, Erman Rahman, Sumaya Saluja and Rahpriyanto Alam Surya Putra ‘Coalition-building’: one of those topics that gets enthusiastic nods of approval among development practitioners. But what distinguishes effective from ineffective coalitions and what can donors do to support them?’ In The Asia Foundation’s recent reflection paper On the right tack: reflections on coalition-building in The Asia
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Featured image for “Book Review: Reimagining Civil Society Collaborations in Development: Starting from the South”

Book Review: Reimagining Civil Society Collaborations in Development: Starting from the South

April 26, 2023
‘Localization’ of aid, when you think about it, is actually quite an outsider’s word. It suggests taking the assets currently held in the North (money, knowledge, power) and somehow transferring them to the South. The value of this book, edited By Margit van Wessel, Tiina Kontinen, Justice Nyigmah Bawole is captured in the subtitle. It discards that idea and asks how CSOs in
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Aid in ‘Politically Estranged Settings’ and the Disappointment Cycle of reading new papers

April 25, 2023
I often experience a ‘disappointment cycle’ when reading papers on aid and development. The initial question/framing gets me excited – this is really going to tell me something new/interesting. But then the paper peters out, reverting to standard prescriptions and vague generalizations. That certainly was my feeling with the new paper from Chatham House and New York University’s Center on
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Featured image for “Food and energy protests signal failures of accountability on a global scale”

Food and energy protests signal failures of accountability on a global scale

April 20, 2023
Guest post by Jeff Hallock and Naomi Hossain While the world was watching the war in Ukraine, its side-effects via rising food and energy prices were also playing out in the form of mass protests about the cost-of-living crisis in 148 countries. This global wave, unprecedented in world history, tells us that not only is the global economy in bad
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Featured image for “The Revenge of Power: A Great Book that will help you better understand Modern Politics”

The Revenge of Power: A Great Book that will help you better understand Modern Politics

April 19, 2023
I do love a ‘big book’ – one with a grand sweep, which tries to make sense of disparate events and processes, and leaves you feeling a little wiser. Think Francis Fukuyama (on the rise of the state), Ha-Joon Chang (on economics of development) or Yuen Yuen Ang (on China). I came away from Moises Naim’s latest book, The Revenge
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