Global Development Institute Blog

Global Development Institute Blog

Critical visions of development from the Global Development Institute: Uniting the strengths of IDPM and BWPI.

Short Course: African irrigation development: planning for a productive future

Short Course: African irrigation development: planning for a productive future

4-15 March 2019, Arusha Tanzania with WISE – Futures and The University of Manchester

Course description:

Across the African continent, increasing climatic variability and the uneven distribution and availability of both surface and subsurface water resources calls for further investment in water management in order to increase agricultural production.  Recognising this, the African Union’s Comprehensive African Agriculture Development Programme has promoted a review of irrigation policy by national governments which in turn gave rise to ambitious new national policies for irrigation investment. Currently, these national policies are being implemented across the continent, yet many challenges remain in reaching the stated objectives. Looking beyond public irrigation investments to include private initiatives, this course gives professionals the tools and insights to engage productively with different types of irrigation development in Africa, ranging from agribusinesses, public irrigation schemes and farmers’ irrigation initiatives.

Through linked field visits, lectures and exercises, course participants explore the challenges and possible solutions for different types of irrigation. Seeing irrigation as part of a broader agricultural system, the 11-day course does not exclusively cover irrigation design topics, but also provides the opportunity to discuss issues concerning irrigation mapping, the gendered aspects of irrigation development, value chains in irrigated agriculture, irrigation system management, water governance, and monitoring and evaluation. By applying the general lessons and insights from the lectures directly through Tanzanian cases of irrigation development during group work, the course strengthens the capacity of participants to integrate contemporary issues into irrigation planning and management. At the end of the course, each participant will receive a course certificate.

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Call for papers: opening up development at the DSA

Call for papers: opening up development at the DSA

The Call for Papers is now open for DSA2019: Opening up Development, the annual conference of the Development Studies Association taking place at the Open University, Milton Keynes, 19-21st June. The conference theme draws attention to shifts in the global political economy; new forms of development intervention and activism; and the call to ‘de-colonise’ the teaching and learning of development studies. The DSA website hosts the lists of the panels included in this year’s conference. Panels hosted by researchers from the GDI include:

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Get a GDI master’s without leaving your job, or paying a penny!

Get a GDI master’s without leaving your job, or paying a penny!

While our campus based master’s programmes are regularly oversubscribed, they don’t work for everyone. If you’re in a job you love, or have family commitments – but still want to immerse yourself in postgraduate study then a distance learning programme can be an excellent flexible option.

We offer two courses, starting in January, that provide both practical and critical insights into key development issues.  Even better, we’ve got two scholarships on offer for international students from selected countries.

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Hrishipara daily financial diaries: Tracking transactions, understanding lives

Hrishipara daily financial diaries: Tracking transactions, understanding lives

Since May 2015 we have been recording the daily money transactions of up to 70 households living near a small market town in central Bangladesh. These ‘daily financial diaries’ shed light on the money-management behaviour of low-income households, described in papers which can be found on the project’s website. Up to now we have explored matters that face all our ‘diarists’, such as savings and credit, income and expenditure, health, and education.

Tracking transactions, understanding lives’ is a new series focusing on individual diarists. We aim to create vivid pictures that give readers a sense of what these lives are like. We hope this will help researchers and activists design better interventions for low-income households. read more…

Problems of development and “development” as a problem

Problems of development and “development” as a problem

Henning Melber, President of the EADI and Julia Schöneberg, Research Fellow at the University of Kassel

Brazil as the latest example shows: right-wing populism remains on the rise, unleashing the brute force of predator capitalism under authoritarian regimes. The temporary vision of promoting social welfare states as a form of good governance has been replaced by new ideologies bordering to a revival of Social Darwinism. White supremacists, populists and nationalists (re-)enter political commanding heights, basing their rule on exclusion and racism. Those concerned about inequality and all forms of discrimination, advocating the rights of the marginalised and disadvantaged, are ridiculed, harassed and increasingly victims of direct, structural and cultural violence. Their struggles for human rights, justice and dignity face an uphill battle. Political repression is mounting. The unsustainable exploitation of the world’s limited resources as integral part of a growth paradigm is once again accelerated. read more…

Collapse: grey development and failed architecture in Nairobi

Collapse: grey development and failed architecture in Nairobi

Dr Constance Smith, Hallsworth Fellow in Social Anthropology, The University of Manchester

‘Those building materials are bad! See that steel, it is very small. The bricks are also weak, they could not build a tall building like this’.

Standing amid the rubble of a collapsed tenement block in Nairobi, I was speaking with Maria, a resident who had managed to escape from the building before it fell the previous night. She was lucky to get out, but had lost everything. As she recounted her experience, it became clear that though terrifying, she did not see its failure as an aberration or unexplainable event. She was quick to link the collapse of the building to wider Nairobi politics, as well as to a shadowy world of property speculation and an opportunistic construction industry. She continued:

‘This building, even it hasn’t lasted the year. You see, it is still new, but now it has brought these failures. People are greedy, you can see they are cutting corners. Now you can see. Strong materials are expensive, so they won’t pay.’ read more…

Infrastructure-led development and the race to connect the world

Infrastructure-led development and the race to connect the world

GDI researcher Seth Schindler recently presented at The First General Assembly of the Alliance of Scientific Organizations (ANSO) in the Belt and Road Region, in Beijing, China.

Created by the Chinese Academy of Sciences, ANSO brings together researchers, policy makers and practitioners to identify how the Belt and Road initiative can best promote sustainable regional development.

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