Area Studies (2015 cohort)
I am conducting doctoral research in the Department of Politics and International Relations at the University of Oxford. My work assesses donor attempts to support institutional change in aid-receiving countries. I am analysing donor efforts to employ more contextually adaptive models of assistance. These approaches recognise the inherent complexity of social change and reform processes, and they aim to adapt to the local realities of aid-receiving contexts.
The development and application of such approaches, under the banner of ‘doing development differently’, appears to be an important and necessary shift in donor practice. There remain, however, questions about how such models work in practice. Of particular interest to my study is how, and the extent to which, they enable greater contextual awareness and so-called ‘local ownership’ in donor-supported reform processes.
My research addresses this question via two project case studies, both of which are funded by the UK Department for International Development (DFID). One is the Overseas Development Institute’s Budget Strengthening Imitative (BSI), which uses adaptive technical assistance to support public financial management reforms in Uganda. The other is Oxford Policy Management’s MUVA programme, which is developing female economic empowerment initiatives in Mozambique. My research is being funded through an ESRC 1+3 Studentship (2015 – 2020).