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.

 Just Give Money to the Poor: The Development Revolution from the Global South

 Just Give Money to the Poor: The Development Revolution from the Global South

In 2010 Joseph Hanlon, Armando Barrientos and David Hulme published ‘Just Give Money to the Poor: The Development Revolution from the Global South’. The book concisely summarises the evidence of the benefits of cash transfers. Its conclusion that both donors and governments should focus more on putting money in the hand of people living in poverty was influential at the time, and continues to attract plaudits ten years on. The following blog post by Armando Barrientos in 2010 summarises the key arguments: read more…

After UNAMID: Who will offer protection to civilians and the displaced in Darfur?

After UNAMID: Who will offer protection to civilians and the displaced in Darfur?

Tanja Müller, Professor of Political Sociology, Global Development Institute

On 31 December 2020, United Nations–African Union Mission in Darfur’s (UNAMID) mandate came to an end. While it will take until 30 June for all UNAMID staff to have left Sudan, the mission no longer has the mandate to intervene in the complex scenario of Darfur.

The decision by the UN Security Council to bring the mission to a close was met with various protests across the Darfur region, as many people fear a security vacuum. Indeed, already a number of attacks against civilians have reportedly occurred since New Year’s Day in Darfur, while militias have besieged one of the UNAMID sites in Central Darfur with reportedly the intention of looting the building. As national security forces of the new Sudanese government have in previous months failed to protect civilians from attacks, their fears seem more than justified. read more…

In Conversation with Chrissie Wellington OBE

In Conversation with Chrissie Wellington OBE

In this special podcast we sat down for a chat with Chrissie Wellington OBE, the 2020 recipient of The University of Manchester Outstanding Alumni Award. The four-time World Ironman Champion and current Global Head of Health and Wellbeing at Parkrun, talked about her time at Manchester, what attracted her to International Development, her remarkable sporting career and why her current work is, even more so since Covid-19, so important.

Chrissie Wellington is an iconic figure in the history of triathlon. She is the only triathlete, male or female, to have won the World Ironman Championship less than a year after turning professional. She is now Global Head of Health and Wellbeing at Parkrun.

In 2001, she graduated from The University of Manchester with a master’s degree in International Development, before becoming an advisor at the UK’s Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra). While at Defra, she negotiated for the UK at the World Summit on Sustainable Development and contributed to policy development, including post-conflict environmental reconstruction and water and sanitation.

Chrissie left the UK in 2004 to work for Rural Reconstruction Nepal, where she managed a community water sanitation and health project. On her return to the UK, Chrissie not only went back to Defra but also started competing in triathlons as an amateur athlete. She won the world age group championships in September 2006 and became a professional athlete in 2007, aged 30.

Her rise was meteoric. After winning a number of triathlon races around the world, she travelled to Korea to enter her first ever Ironman triathlon- a 2.4-mile swim, a 112-mile cycle and a 26.2-mile run – and won.

Chrissie’s win in Korea secured qualification for the World Ironman Championship in Hawaii which, less than a year after turning professional, she also won – a feat described by the British Triathlon Federation as a “near impossible task”.

Domination followed. Chrissie won three consecutive world titles, and became world champion for a fourth time in 2011. She has held three world records, and two still stand eight years after her retirement: the overall ironman distance world record, and the record for the cumulative time for all Ironman-branded triathlons.

Since retiring from competing, Chrissie has published two books, including her 2012 Sunday Times bestselling autobiography A Life Without Limits.

She is now Global Head of Health and Wellbeing at Parkrun, a charity which organises volunteer-led, free, weekly 5km events around the world. She came on board with Parkrun to develop the incredibly successful junior Parkrun series, and has since developed partnerships with the Royal College of General Practitioners as well as leading the establishment of events on the custodial estate around the UK, and overseas.

While Chrissie’s kudos as a world-class athlete opens doors, Parkrun’s chief operating officer Tom Williams says it’s not that which brings about the success she achieves: “She is a force of nature. Regardless of her achievements, her skills, her athleticism, she genuinely cares about doing things and doing the right things.

“She is not driven by financial motivation or ego – she is incredibly driven to do good things. The things we have achieved would not have happened without her.”

Chrissie Wellington graduated in 2001 with an MA in International Development. She is now the Global Head of Health and Wellbeing at Parkrun. read more…

11 GREAT master’s scholarships

11 GREAT master’s scholarships

In partnership with the British Council and the GREAT Britain Campaign, we’re offering 11 postgraduate scholarships for students from selected countries. We are pleased to offer scholarships of £10,000. Scholarships will be awarded in the form of a partial-fee waiver and there is one scholarship per country from the following countries: read more…

GDI Webinar: Political Economies of Energy Transition

GDI Webinar: Political Economies of Energy Transition

Wind power has expanded quickly in Brazil, while solar power lags there and both wind and solar power have struggled to take off in South Africa. Professor Kathryn Hochstetler argues that four different political economies – climate change, industrial policy, consumption and distribution, and siting – help account for energy transition. However, coalitions are being built on each of these at the same time, potentially interlocking to reinforce or counter-balance each other.
read more…

Symposium to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the 5th Pan-African Congress in Manchester

Symposium to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the 5th Pan-African Congress in Manchester

On 17th October we held a day-long symposium to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the 5th Pan-African Congress which was held in Manchester. Organised by our Africa Research Group, the event brought together researchers to discuss 75 Years after the 5th Pan-African Congress: Decolonising Africa’s Development Agenda’. You can catch up with the presentations and panels below.

The 1945 Pan-African Congress was held in Manchester and brought together intellectuals and activists such as W.E.B Du Bois, Kwame Nkrumah, Nnamdi Azikiwe and Jomo Kenyatta. The Congress was a springboard for these key figures in connecting with each other and developing new national strategies towards hastening decolonisation. read more…

Overcrowding, not density, makes cities more vulnerable to Covid-19

Overcrowding, not density, makes cities more vulnerable to Covid-19

Professor Diana Mitlin, CEO of the African Cities Research Consortium

Covid-19 has brought a new realization to many governments and development agencies. Investment in towns and cities is essential. People need to live in healthy neighbourhoods with access to basic services. With this new interest, it is critical that appropriate learning takes place so that interventions can be successfully designed.

Over 95% of all Covid-19 cases globally occur in urban areas. Pandemics are dependent on the interactions of humans with their environment and these interactions are intensified in towns and cities. Too little attention is given to the multiplicity of ways in which the “urban” nature of settlements and livelihoods influences what is possible in terms of responses to the health and economic emergencies. read more…

Is REDD+ Dead? A simple idea with a complex reality

Is REDD+ Dead? A simple idea with a complex reality

Elliot Nicholls

The idea is simple, reduce emissions from deforestation and degradation by paying local communities to conserve tropical forests. Not only does this mitigate climate change, but it also has the ability to enhance local livelihoods. A true win-win scenario.

It turns out that this is a lot easier said than done; so far, the successfulness of REDD+ schemes have varied massively from country to country and some researchers have already branded the UN’s brainchild a failure. With mixed reviews from a variety of studies across the country, it seems Uganda is no exception. read more…

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