Global Development Institute Blog

Global Development Institute Blog

We’re the Global Development Institute at The University of Manchester: where critical thinking meets social justice.

What creates a pro-poor politics and the possibility of participatory planning?

What creates a pro-poor politics and the possibility of participatory planning?

Professor Diana Mitlin Professor of Global Urbanism and Managing Director of the Global Development Institute.

The romance of the barricades features in Les Misérables, but it also figures heavily in academic texts. Many academics, professionals and political activists think contentious politics is the solution to injustice and structural disadvantage. They consider that it is the very willingness to protest publicly, to claim rights and entitlements through assertion rather than persuasion, that advances social justice, poverty reduction and progressive development. As George Bernard Shaw claimed: ‘all progress depends on the unreasonable man’

But experience of working with women activists in informal settlements suggests that this is overly simplistic and ignores the complexity of resistance strategies. Quiet resistance has long been recognised in the academic literature. However, it has been primarily seen as an individual action; with relatively little attention given by academics to actions that aggregate through replication into something that is deliberately subversive and potentially forceful. Collaboration with the state has long been recognised; but it is frequently critiqued by academics with allegations of co-option. read more…

New research shows community forest management reduces both deforestation and poverty in Nepal

New research shows community forest management reduces both deforestation and poverty in Nepal

Giving local communities in Nepal the opportunity to manage their forests has simultaneously reduced deforestation and poverty in the region, new research has shown.

In the largest study of its kind, an international team of experts led by The University of Manchester has found that community-forest management led to a 37% relative reduction in deforestation and a 4.3% relative reduction in poverty.

This is particularly significant in a low income country, where more than a third of the country’s forests are managed by a quarter of the country’s population. read more…

Exploring the UK’s NGO sector

Exploring the UK’s NGO sector

Chris Jordan, Communications and Impact Manager

[Visit the NGO explorer site here]

After setting out to better understand the UK’s development NGO sector, Dan Brockington and Nicola Banks soon realised that pulling together the data on thousands of charities would be a huge challenge.

After heroic amounts of filtering and crunching data, their research produced some fascinating insights into the health of the sector as a whole. While working closely with a range of charities, the researchers soon realised there was a real desire (particularly on the part of smaller NGOs and those based outside of London) to access similar information and connect with their counterparts. read more…

Hrishipara daily financial diaries: Managing income volatility

Hrishipara daily financial diaries: Managing income volatility

The Hrishipara Daily Diary Project tracks the daily money transactions of households in central Bangladesh. This is the third in our series ‘Tracking Transactions, Understanding Lives’, which focuses on individual diarists, creating pictures that give a sense of what these lives are like.

Managing income volatility: Ubaydullah, the brick-breaker

We have been tracking Ubaydullah’s 5-person household since mid-August 2015. His income varies a lot from month to month, so how does he manage such volatility? Chart 1 sets the scene. read more…

Early bird registration: From Politics to Power? Rethinking the politics of development

Early bird registration: From Politics to Power? Rethinking the politics of development

We are delighted to announce that registration is now open for a flagship international conference convened by the Effective States and Inclusive Development Research Centre on ‘From politics to power? Rethinking the politics of development’ which will be held from 9 – 11 September 2019 in Manchester.

Confirmed Plenary Speakers to date include world leading experts Anne Marie Goetz (New York), Merilee Grindle (Harvard), Lant Pritchett (Harvard), James Robinson (Chicago), Prerna Singh (Brown), E. Gyimah-Boadi (Afrobarometer, Ghana) read more…

Revisiting the ICC indictment against Al Bashir in the wake of the current protest movements in Sudan

Revisiting the ICC indictment against Al Bashir in the wake of the current protest movements in Sudan

Dr Tanja Müller, Reader/Associate Professor in Development Studies, Global Development Institute

Since January 2019, Sudan has seen protests in different parts of the country that quickly moved from anger at worsening economic and social conditions to the demand of regime change and free elections. It was initially met with brute force – often carried out by forces originally created and recruited to deal with rebel movements in Darfur – the war in Darfur in turn a key in the ICC indictment. Even if compared to other protests in the past, the repression was arguably much more measured with, according to Africa Confidential, the death toll well below 100 where previously mass killings of civilians were the response. But then how do we know? Many Sudanese journalists have reportedly been detained, and at least six foreign correspondents in Sudan had their accreditation invoked. read more…

In conversation: Laila Iskander on recycling & informal settlements

In conversation: Laila Iskander on recycling & informal settlements

In this episode, Diana Mitlin talks to former Egyptian Minister Laila Iskander about recycling and informal settlements in Egypt.

Laila Iskander served as Minister for the Environment and Minister for Urban Renewal and Informal Settlements in Egypt. She has worked as a researcher, speaker and consultant with governmental and international agencies as well as with the private sector in the fields of gender, education and development, environment, child labour and governance. Her consultation work encompasses grassroots’ issues and policy matters. She received the Goldman Environmental Prize, also known as the ‘Green Nobel’, for her work with the Zabbaleen garbage collectors of Cairo.

Diana Mitlin is Professor of Global Urbanism and Managing Director of the Global Development Institute. read more…

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