Tag Archives: development

Democracy that Delivers #25: Medhawi Giri and Stephanie Bandyk on Working in International Development

Guests Stephanie Bandyk (left) and Medhawi Giri.

Guests Stephanie Bandyk (left) and Medhawi Giri.

In this episode of the Democracy that Delivers podcast, CIPE’s Medhawi Giri, Program Assistant for South Asia, and Stephanie Bandyk, Program Assistant for Global Programs, discuss how they got interested in international development, democracy, and economic reform issues, their academic and career backgrounds, and what they’ve learned since working at CIPE.

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What Does “Intersectionality” Mean for International Development?

Participants at a Women's Business Network meeting in Nepal in 2014.

Participants at a Women’s Business Network meeting in Nepal in 2014.

By Hanna Pioske

The word “intersectionality” is thrown around a lot these days. Political candidates use intersectional rhetoric in their campaigns, and organization after organization publish reports on the benefits of creating intersectional programming. Everyone seems to be using the term as a buzzword to add legitimacy to their beliefs. But what does intersectionality truly mean, and what lessons can the international development community take away from it?

Intersectional theory originated in academia as a way to explain the dual oppressions African-American women faced from the combined effects of racism and sexism. In 1989, African-American legal scholar Kimberle Crenshaw coined the term intersectionality in her seminal work “Demarginalizing the Intersection of Race and Sex: A Black Feminist Critique of Antidiscrimination Doctrine, Feminist Theory and Antiracist Politics.”

In the article, Crenshaw compares multiple axes of oppression to a car accident in an intersection. Much as a car in the middle of an intersection can be hit by vehicles coming from any or all directions, an African-American woman can be discriminated against through racism, sexism, or both. Since this first use, the term has expanded beyond the particular struggle of African-American women to include multiple intersections of gender, such as class, disability, religion, and sexual orientation.

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Democracy that Delivers Podcast #16: USAID’s “Innovation Evangelist” Alexis Bonnell on How Innovation is Changing International Development

Alexis Bonnell (@alexisbonnell) from USAID’s Global Development Lab (@GlobalDevLab) talks about how innovation is changing the way development work is done around the world, harnessing 21st century technology to create more development impact, and how some of the most effective innovation tools can be both simple and inexpensive. Bonnell also talks about what it takes to have a successful career in international development today. Learn more at www.globalinnovationexchange.org.

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Democracy that Delivers Podcast #9: CIPE’s Abdulwahab Alkebsi on What’s Needed to Build Democracy in the Middle East

Podcast hosts Ken Jaques and Julie Johnson with Abdulwahab Alkebsi (right).

CIPE Regional Director for the Middle East and Africa Abdulwahab Alkebsi’ s passion for democracy work goes back to his childhood in Yemen.

In this podcast, Alkebsi discuses how his childhood in Yemen informs his democracy work today, the success of Arab Americans and Muslim Americans in the United States, in contrast to the situation in Europe, and the need for a reassessment in the Middle East of what Islam is and what it is not.

He also talks about the correlation between the institutions that build the Islamic faith and those that build democracy, what is happening on the ground in the Middle East today that makes him hopeful for the future, and the exciting contribution the private sector is making to building democratic institutions in Africa.

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Listen to past episodes of our show here.

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Making Digital Development Projects Work

Photo: United Nations

A farmer checks market information on a mobile phone. Photo: United Nations

In the last decade, countless development projects have piloted new tools to reach more beneficiaries or to make current systems more efficient. While the intentions of such initiatives are good, often the results are not stellar.

This is because digital development projects often favor one-off activities, like hackathons. The best solutions are focused on identifying an immediate solution for a particular sector and location. As such, products are developed in silos and many never go beyond the pilot phases.

A good example of this disaster is what happened in Uganda with mHealth initiatives. In 2008 and 2009, Uganda had 23 similar mHealth projects led by different development organizations that failed to scale up and ended shortly after the initial funding. The problem got so bad that Uganda’s Ministry of Health declared a moratorium on pilot mHealth initiatives.


Map of Mhealth Pilots in Uganda. Source: Sean Blaschke, Technology for Development Specialist at UNICEF Uganda

To prevent such failures, leading global development practitioners, including the Gates Foundation and UNDP, have endorsed the Principles for Digital Development. What exactly are the Principles? They’re a community-developed set of guidelines to help the development community integrate best practices into technology or digital-based projects.

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An Agenda to “Do Development Differently”


Successful implementation of the post-2015 development agenda requires some important behavior changes and a commitment to “do development differently” by the various stakeholders pledging to reach this ambitious set of goals. What does that involve exactly?

In this month’s Economic Reform Feature Service article, James Michel, a renowned expert in international development cooperation and a senior adviser to CSIS, discusses the ambitious post-2015 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The article is a continuation of Michel’s earlier work on shaping the new development agenda and it is based on a research paper recently published by the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS).

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Ready or Not? Assessing Change Readiness is Crucial for Implementation of the SDGs


By Stephanie Bandyk and Laura Van Voorhees

As the U.N. General Assembly delegates return to their countries after setting the 2015 Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) agenda, members now face the task of making this ambitious set of goals a reality. Despite the rigor put into crafting the goals and indicators, there is no one-size-fits-all solution. Therefore for effective implementation that takes into account each country’s respective set of challenges, public and private enterprise, governments, and people and civil society can use KPMG’s 2015 Change Readiness Index (CRI) to advise their implementation strategies.

“Change readiness” is defined by the index as the capability of a country – its government, private and public enterprises, people and wider civil society – to anticipate, prepare for, manage and respond to a wide range of change drivers, proactively cultivating the resulting opportunities, and mitigating potential negative impacts.

The CRI tagline, “no government, business, or society is immune to change,” reflects that siloed improvements — for example, rise in GDP without strong governance and rule of law mechanisms — may merely be temporary developments. In fact, some overall findings of the 2015 CRI show that wealth generation alone is not enough for change readiness. In order for the post-2015 development agenda to indeed be sustainable, it is crucial to build resilience from the community to global levels to both overcome financial and social shocks as well as capitalize on political and economic opportunities such as technology, competition, and transitions in government.

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