Rethinking Empowerment and Accountability in ‘Difficult Settings’

By John Gaventa | EADI/ISS Blog Series

Over the last two decades, development has been replete with theories and interventions focusing on ‘empowerment and accountability’, and how these could contribute to a range of outcomes, be they good governance, social inclusion, and social justice.  Much of the early thinking on these approaches emerged from examples in countries which were then relative open, enjoying perhaps an opening of democratic spaces and opportunities, and a flourishing of civil society – one thinks for instance of Brazil, Philippines, Indonesia, India, South Africa and more? Continue reading “Rethinking Empowerment and Accountability in ‘Difficult Settings’”

Empowering African Universities to have an impact

By Liisa Laakso   | EADI/ISS Blog Series

Discussions on the impact of higher education and research have increased, together with the rise of strategic thinking in the management of universities during the last decade. Governments, taxpayers and private funders want to know which benefits they get from universities. Academic Institutions, in turn, want to prove how their work is beneficial to society in multiple ways. This tells us much about the global management culture in public services – and about a new pressure against the academic authority and standing of universities. Continue reading “Empowering African Universities to have an impact”

Why gender matters to social movements

By Stacey Scriver and G. Honor Fagan | EADI/ISS Blog Series

There are right and left, radical and conservative social movements at work in today’s volatile and unequal world.  Whether directed towards a transformative social justice agenda or not, social movements themselves do not exist outside of the structures of power. A growth in populist politics, a resurgence of religious movements with conservative agendas on gender and sexuality, and new male supremacist ideologies remind us that gender justice is an extremely challenging and ongoing struggle.  Continue reading “Why gender matters to social movements”

Microfinance “business as usual” is not the climate action that we need

By Johan Bastiaensen

The urgency and profoundness of the climate crisis begs serious thought about the spending of climate related international donor and investment funds. Our research group at the Institute for Development Policy argues that these should be used to sponsor transformative pathways out of the upcoming climate crisis rather than focusing mainly on useful but ultimately insufficient band-aids to help some adapt to the worst of its consequences. Especially rural and agricultural microfinance institutions could play an important role in the transformation and restoration of the current socially distorted and ecologically disastrous agricultural model. Continue reading “Microfinance “business as usual” is not the climate action that we need”

Three ways of looking at the EU’s Development Policy

By Sarah Delputte and Simon Lightfoot | EADI/ISS Blog Series

A few weeks ago, the new European Commission was established without a Commissioner for Development. Instead, Jutta Urpilainen from Finland will take up the newly named portfolio of “International Partnerships”. In the past decade, the EU’s development policy has been confronted with many different changes and challenges to the extent that one might speak of ‘the end of EU development policy’.  Most often, critics in policy and scholarly circles thereby point to the far-reaching dismantling of the “traditional” development policy principles. This evolution is defined as a “change from normative exceptionalism to a more interest-driven approach to development cooperation”. Continue reading “Three ways of looking at the EU’s Development Policy”