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Written by Richard Mallett on 12 November 2014 18:07

Most economic activity in developing countries is informal in nature. But the mistake people make is thinking that it is therefore untaxed and open to all (a kind of ultimate free market). This simply isn’t the case.

SLRC Researcher, Richard Mallett 

12 August 2014 14:09


Post-war development initiatives need to combine bottom-up and community-led as well as state-led approaches. The former is central to empowerment, but so are robust institutional frameworks that can deliver effectively. However, an over-emphasis upon state-led approaches and institutions will fail in the absence of legitimacy or confidence by the people.

Mira Philips, Centre for Poverty Analysis

Written by Lisa Denney on 24 July 2014 13:02

If development practitioners aim to improve people’s lives – either by providing improved healthcare or ensuring access to justice – they need to engage with the multiple providers of these services that people actually use, rather than just one part of the system.

SLRC Sierra Leone research programme lead, Lisa Denney

Written by Richard Mallett on 26 June 2014 14:14

What are we talking about when we talk about capacity? The answer should be straightforward, given that ideas of “capacity” and “capacity building” frame the way many of us think about – and do – development. But often the response is fuzzy and unclear...

SLRC/ODI Researcher, Richard Mallett

When most people talk about capacity, they actually mean either “stuff” – resources and equipment – or hard skills in some technical discipline. This is the obvious starting point: without proper medical facilities or trained staff, how can a local health clinic do its job? Which is probably why so many capacity building programs try to fill deficits by giving stuff and providing technical training. But often the real problems confronting service providers have nothing to do with what's available in a tangible or technical sense – this might be a symptom, but it's not the root of the problem. So what do we then do in terms of thinking about capacity?

Read the full blog : Beyond Stuff: Capacity as a Relational Concept

25 June 2014 15:08

What we are doing to convince people of the importance of gender in development isn't working. We need to go beyond ‘target women’ approaches and bring back a focus on empowerment - and we really shouldn't be afraid to be political.                 

Rebecca Holmes, ODI researcher, and Rachel Slater, SLRC Research Director

When progress is slow and difficult, we often talk about how we are able to move two steps forward but then tend to slide one step back. When we were invited to write this opinion piece, we started to wonder whether, if we are really going to get gender taken seriously in fragile and conflict-affected situations, we might need to go back a bit in order to make progress – back to the concepts of the early ‘women in development’ approaches which were radical, politicised, heavily activist and feminist in nature...

Read the full blog: One step backwards two steps forward? Unlocking gender equality in fragile and conflict-affected situations

Read the working paper: Gender-responsive budgeting in fragile and conflict-affected states - a review

Welcome to SLRC's blog.

This blog will feature reflections from our team of researchers on the practicalities of actually conducting research in conflict-affected situations. We will also be posting guest blogs written by key researchers and practioners working on livelihoods, basic services and social protection in conflict-affected situations.