From poverty to power

It’s a book that I’ve looked at every time I’m in a bookshop, but somehow haven’t yet bought. But now it’s definitely on my to-buy list. The book is called From Poverty to Power — how active citizens and effective states can change the world. It’s written by Duncan Green, head of research for Oxfam GB.

From poverty to power

I’ve always wanted to buy it, but somehow didn’t want to spend the money. But then I came across Duncan Green’s blog, and realised that this is a man to pay attention to.

Green’s blog site is a mine of fantastic resources, including his own tips and views on advocacy, development, mobile phones and more. He has loads of good advice, such as his recent post, “Why demanding ‘political will’ is lazy and unproductive”.

In this piece he argues that organisations wanting to bring about real change need to analyse the power dynamics at play and use this understanding to make their demands winnable. Calling for ‘political will’ is useless, he says, as change happens not just because politicians want something, but as result of the interplay of all sorts of factors: power dynamics, demographics, disasters, the pressures of coalitions, and so on.

But I also love the way that Green has embraced the principles of social media, offering many of his own resources for others to plunder and use. A good example is his posting of 8 of his own powerpoint presentations on issues related to development.

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