(This blog was originally published at Borderlands Asia)
By Oliver Walton
In the aftermath of civil wars, local elections are often viewed as transformative moments when voices from the margins can be heard and where new, more inclusive political settlements can be forged. Many post-war state reform packages emphasise measures to devolve power to local government as a mechanism for addressing the post-war grievances of marginalised groups.
(This blog was originally published at From poverty to power)
By Eleanor Chowns
Martin Ravallion (former Chief Economist of the World Bank, now at CGD) published a useful paper this week asking exactly this question. As he says, there’s no simple answer – which is why the question is so interesting. Continue reading
(This blog was originally published at FSD Kenya)
By Susan Johnson
Informal financial groups such as merry-go-rounds or chamas are used by 41% of the Kenyan adults while traditional bank accounts are held by only 32% of the population (FinAccess 2016). Analysts often stress the unreliability of informal groups and the risk of loss of money when members of the group default. So why do so many people continue to use them? What is their enduring appeal?
By Jonathan Alderman and Britta K. Matthes
On Friday, 12th of January, the ECR/PGR workshop “Pluri-national state, autonomy and ‘good living’/’living well’: Approaches to and reflections on tensions in Bolivia and Ecuador” took place at the University of Bath. The event, supported by the Centre for Development Studies (CDS), aimed at bringing together junior academics from different disciplines, who investigate the transformations taking place in Bolivia and Ecuador.
(This blog was originally published at The Conversation)
By Aurelie Charles
Ever since the financial crisis of 2008, American society has become increasingly divided. In among its deep fissures, the far right has found a place to incubate and speak out.
Declining demographically and struggling economically, this voice shouts out a violent identity crisis of class, whiteness, and masculinity. So how did that voice get so loud? Continue reading
(This blog was originally posted at The Conversation)
By Michael Bloomfield
Have you ever wondered why some companies seem more politically engaged than others? When activists shine a spotlight on an industry for alleged links to social or environmental exploitation, most companies seek to remain in the shadows, fearful of unwanted publicity. But there are often one or two that respond proactively, working with activists to hammer out a solution.
(This blog was originally published at Public Seminar)
By Ana Dinerstein
Where is Utopia today? Is this question relevant? One might argue that the term utopia is incongruous with the politics of our time, to say the least. Not only does the term ‘utopia’ indicate no place, when it found a place, it was mistreated and mutilated. What would be the place for utopian thinking in a world that is desperate to solve the accrued problems that it has created for itself? Would utopian thinking distract us from the real tribulations besetting the world? No. In fact, we live in a time when utopia can be no longer objected to. On the contrary, utopia has become necessary and indispensable for millions of people in the world, struggling for survival. The problem is not whether we should seek a utopia or not. The question is what kind of utopia and where to look for it. Continue reading
(This blog was originally published at the IPR blog)
By Elise Reslinger
On 8 November, Priti Patel resigned from her position as UK Secretary of State for International Development. This resignation followed the revelation, three months after the fact, of unauthorised meetings with Israeli officials including the Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu. Protocol requires these meetings to be authorised to ensure their compliance with UK foreign affairs priorities, and for a risk assessment to be undertaken. Following these meetings, Patel asked her team to investigate the possibility of funding the Israeli army’s field hospitals based in the Golan Heights – a territory toward which the UK Government, in keeping with UN Resolution 497, rejects Israel’s claim of sovereignty. Officially, the UK views the Golan Heights as illegally occupied Syrian land. What happened has been commented on heavily since in the media and among government circles; such conversations have raised the implications of this breach of protocol for UK politics, the question of a tacit acceptance on the part of the UK for Patel to meet the various interlocutors, subsequent questions about collusion between the UK and Israeli governments and concerns about a lack of accountability to British taxpayers. I would like to consider the Patel case from the perspective of a former aid worker in the occupied Palestinian territory. My main focus is how this case affects existing aid beneficiaries, in this case Palestinians, and what the impact of this public lack of impartiality and neutrality on humanitarian aid and aid workers will be. Continue reading
(This blog was originally published at The Conversation)
By Hannah West
As a member of the Royal Navy, I never really thought that being a woman affected my work. Whether I was making safety decisions about flying helicopters or participating in operational planning, my contribution was listened to and respected.
I wasn’t sidelined or disadvantaged for being a woman in a military largely populated by men. I was just one of the team.
I joined Britannia Royal Naval College straight from school so I grew up in the institution. As a young recruit, I knuckled down to basic training and got on with it, accepting the history and tradition we were presented with. It’s true that we were surrounded by men – as instructors, commanders and famous historical figures – but this seemed logical. I had joined a male dominated British organisation, so what did I expect?