Who we are

The Gender and Politics in Practice project has greatly benefitted from the collaboration and inisghts of practitioners, policymakers and researchers from diverse organisations, contexts and disciplines. 

GAPP is led by the Developmental Leadership Program, which involves the University of Birmingham and La Trobe University, in collaboration with the Australian Government. Partner organisations include The Asia Foundation, Palladium, Kings College London, RMIT University, UCL and the University of Southampton. See our research partners.

Chris Roche, La Trobe University, Melbourne

Chris Roche

Chris Roche is Associate Professor and Chair in International Development at La Trobe University in Melbourne, where he is also Director of the Institute for Human Security and Social Change. He is DLP’s Senior Research Partner. He has over 25 years’ experience working for international NGOs, 18 of them spent at Oxfam Great Britain and Oxfam Australia where he was Director of International Programs and Director of Development Effectiveness. 

He is particularly interested in understanding how social change happens, who is involved, and how the effectiveness of attempts to promote change is understood and assessed. His research interests also include complexity, power and politics; leadership, networks and coalitions; the role of civil society and International NGOs; and poverty, gender relations and inequality. 

Helen Derbyshire 

Helen Derbyshire

Helen Derbyshire has written extensively about the practicalities of gender and development work. More recently she has been the main spokesperson for the State Accountabiliy and Voice Initiative (SAVI) in Nigeria, contributing SAVI's experience to current debates on thinking and working politically, doing development differently and adaptive programming.

Helen has worked for more than twenty years with DFID, UK-based international NGOs and their government and civil society partner organisations, facilitating the development of gender policies and strategies, designing and providing tailored gender training courses, and evaluating the implementation and impact of policies and projects designed to promote gender equality and the empowerment of women.

From 2008 to 2016, Helen played a leading role in shaping and communicating the experience of the SAVI program. Its aim was to faciliate citizen engagement in governance and the program is widely recognised as a pioneer in the practical application of the principles of thinking and working politically and inclusively. SAVI came to an end in April 2016, and Helen is a now a member of the management team implementing the follow-up programme, the Engaged Citizens Pillar of the new DFID-funded Partnership to Engage, Reform and Learn (PERL) programme.

Sam Gibson, Palladium 

Sam GibsonSam Gibson leads on learning and synthesis for the Gender and Policy in Practice project. She is a Senior Manager at Palladium and is a social development specialist. Sam has worked in a range of sectors, including education, health and agriculture, almost always with a particular focus on the inclusion of the poorest and most vulnerable. Cross-cutting experience includes gender and social inclusion, monitoring and evaluation, civil society, poverty analysis, governance, livelihoods, and fragility and conflict.

She has worked with policymakers and practitioners across the field of international development, including AusAID/DFAT, DFID, the World Bank Group, UNICEF, UNDP, Oxfam and the Ghana Research and Advocacy Programme. Before joining the IDL group in 2003, Sam was a DFID Social Development Adviser in Zambia.

David Hudson, University of Birmingham 

David Hudson

David Hudson is a Professorial Research Fellow in Politics and Development at the University of Birmingham and the Director of the Developmental Leadership Program. He has written widely on the politics of development. His areas of interest include the role of coalitions, leadership and power in reform processes and how development actors can think and work politically; the drivers of global migration, finance and trade and how these processes shape national development; and how people in rich countries engage with global development issues.


Heather Lyne de Ver, National Coordinating Centre for Public Engagement

Heather Lyne de Ver

Heather Lyne de Ver is Senior Project Manager at the National Coordinating Centre for Public Engagement, UK. She worked alongside DLP’s founder Adrian Leftwich during its first phase between 2007 and 2012, and became its Program Manager when the second phase was launched in 2013. Her research interests include theories of developmental leadership, the impact of leadership training on developmental outcomes and the relationship between research, evidence and policy.

She holds an MSc in International Development from the University of Bristol, and has written DLP papers on conceptions of leadership, on leadership, politics and development, and on leadership development programmes. 


About DLP

The Developmental Leadership Program (DLP) is an international research initiative that explores how leadership, power and political processes drive or block successful development.

DLP focuses on the crucial role of home-grown leaderships and coalitions in forging legitimate political settlements and institutions that promote developmental outcomes, such as sustainable growth, political stability and inclusive social development.

Find out more


Two exciting job vacancies in the DLP team

Monday 12th November 2018

DLP is looking for a Program Manager and a Communications Manager to help lead a new three-year phase of research on leadership in global development.

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New article on how unfair service provision affects state legitimacy

Thursday 26th July 2018

Claire Mcloughlin's new open-access article in the Journal of Intervention and Statebuilding draws on the case of higher education in Sri Lanka. It explores how unfair service provision can undermine state legitimacy in divided societies.

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