Service delivery and social stability in Lebanon and Jordan

Millions of Syrians have been displaced by conflict. More than a million are now living in Lebanon, and around 600,000 in Jordan. In both countries, pressure on municipal and public services has heightened tensions.

The received wisdom is that increased public service provision can help reduce social tensions and foster social stability and the legitimacy of the state, especially at the local level. But is this in fact the case?

This project was commissioned by DFID to test these assumptions by looking at two DFID-assisted programmes that support municipal service delivery in the context of a growing influx of displaced people from Syria

The project aims to i) contribute to the evidence base on potential linkages between service delivery, social stability and legitimacy, and ii) better understand whether and how donor programmes can think and work in politically aware ways, and what lessons emerge to inform ongoing practice.

Project outputs

Fieldwork report

Promoting Social Stability and Legitimacy in Lebanon: Can Service Delivery Make a Difference? (pdf)

Background papers

Municipal Service Delivery, Stability, Social Cohesion and Legitimacy in Lebanon: An analytical literature review (pdf)

Service delivery, legitimacy, stability and social cohesion in Jordan (pdf)

Annotated bibliography

Service Delivery, Legitimacy, Stability and Social Cohesion (pdf)


Research team and in-country partners

Core researchers (left): 
Alina Rocha Menocal (lead investigator) and Suda Perera.  
 
Other researchers involved in the project: Claire McloughlinCaryn Peiffer (DLP); Laure Hélène Piron (independent researcher); Emilie Combaz (HCRI, University of Manchester).
  

Lebanon

Research partner: the Issam Fares Institute for Public Policy and International Affairs at the American University of Beirut.

Researchers: Nasser Yassin (Director of Research, IFI), Yusra Bitar (Research Assistant, IFI), Yara Mourad (Program Coordinator of the Refugee Research and Policy Program, IFI) and Lama Mourad (independent researcher)

Strategic advisorMona Harb, Professor of Urban Studies and Politics at the American University of Beirut, Lebanon

Jordan

Research partnerLeading Point

ResearchersAhlam Shabaneh and Tamam Mango (Leading Point).

Strategic advisorsErica Harper, Executive Director of the West Asia-North Africa Institute, Jordan; and Mohammed Khalil Hussainy, Director of the Identity Center, Jordan.


 

                                 In collaboration with:                                               Supported by:

             

 

Image: Amman, Jordan (premasagar, Flickr)

Related items

Parliamentary strengthening: the IDC report

Having presented evidence to the UK's International Development Committee, what of the final report?

Opinion by Tam O'Neil 9th February 2015

Resources and reflections on gender and thinking and working politically

Next week's meeting of the Thinking and Working Politically Community of Practice will focus on gender at an opportune time. It follows a spate of interesting papers, blog posts and talks about the relationship between 'thinking and working politically' and gender issues. 

Opinion by Chris Roche 12th June 2015

Identifying rebels with a cause (and effect)

The Developmental Leadership Program will host its 2016 Annual Conference at La Trobe University in Melbourne on 8 February. Its theme is ‘Power, Politics and Positive Deviance’.

Opinion by Chris Roche 1st December 2015
Opinion by Heather Marquette 10th November 2014

Do donors have realistic expectations of their staff when it comes to 'thinking and working politically'?

Is learning to ‘think politically’ like learning a new language? 

Opinion by Heather Marquette 9th June 2014
Opinion by Alina Rocha Menocal 18th March 2015
Opinion by Orlanda Ward 7th March 2017

Anthropology and elites: 'Studying up', politically

Some strikingly parallel questions are being asked in my own discipline of anthropology and by those examining how donors and practitioners can think and work politically with developing communities.

Opinion by Paul Robert Gilbert 10th March 2016

Gender and power: six links and one big opportunity

Donors have recently made great efforts to understand power in partner countries. Yet they have largely ignored one of the most pervasive power relations – gender.

Opinion by Diana Koester 21st May 2015

The practicalities of change - positive deviance and land reform in Vanuatu

This guest post by Anna Naupa draws on her Adrian Leftwich Memorial Lecture, presented at the DLP Annual Conference 2016: Power, Politics and Positive Deviance. It is the perspective of Anna Naupa and not that of any organisation with which she is, or has been, affiliated.

Opinion by Anna Naupa 13th April 2016

Anti-corruption in Bolivia: fighting greed – or attitudes?

Unsurprisingly, when people are asked about corruption, they say they are against it. But that doesn’t tell us what they really think about it, or what they do when confronted with it.   

Opinion by Nieves Zúñiga 29th June 2015

Don't give up on government

The World Bank launched its flagship World Development Report (WDR) this week, which boldly redefines how governance and policy interact to yield good or bad development outcomes. People are rightly praising the report for rejecting best practicesembracing adaptation and endorsing a focus on politics.

Opinion by Dan Hymowitz 3rd February 2017

'Sticky’ change: What international development can learn from adaptive management

One of the most significant failings of international political assistance has been the tendency to focus too much on institutional structure and process, and not enough on culture and behaviour.

Opinion by Greg Power 2nd December 2016

DLP political settlements workshop: reflections

Serendipity, perhaps. I joined the Political Settlements Research Programme at the beginning of June; my first formal engagement was on June 17, at the Political Settlements Workshop organised by the Developmental Leadership Program. It was quite an induction day.

Opinion by Astrid Jamar 22nd July 2015

Adding gender and power to the TWP agenda

Thinking and Working Politically presents development to us as an endeavour embedded within power structures. This is so important.

It helps us see clearly that we need to understand domestic politics to deliver development outcomes. Who are the players? Who makes decisions? Who will stand to lose from a proposal and how can they block progress?

Opinion by Sally Moyle 6th August 2015

Overcoming premature evaluation

Guest post in From Poverty to Power

Opinion by Chris Roche 15th November 2016

Indonesia and the political settlements trap

When your office is in Jakarta, you get a lot of time to day-dream in taxis while going from hotel to office and back again. I am just back from a couple of weeks working there and I marvelled at the traffic, the tech-savvy population and the profusion of swanky hotels. On one long journey I got to musing about the challenges facing Indonesia’s efforts to shift itself upwards in the World Bank’s country classification database.

Opinion by Graham Teskey 17th July 2015

Gender analysis, and thinking and working politically – bridging the gap

Guest post on Devpolicy  introducing panels at this week's Australasian Aid Conference

Opinion by Chris Roche 14th February 2017
Opinion by Alina Rocha Menocal 26th April 2016

Fragmentation of the Thinking and Working Politically agenda: Should we worry?

Recently, I’ve read many articles and heard from many colleagues who are concerned about the apparent competition between the Doing Development Differently (DDD) network and the Thinking and Working Politically (TWP) community of practice.

Opinion by Thomas Parks 29th August 2016

Shuffling the decks: quick fixes versus long-term stability

Guest post for Development Progress on 'post-conflict' DRC

Opinion by Suda Perera 22nd January 2015

Inclusive political settlements: who and what gets included, and how?

DLP hosted a day-long high level introductory workshop on political settlements in June. This post is the first of a series inspired by the workshop and written by researchers, policymakers and practitioners. Here Alina Rocha Menocal discusses current research and thinking on the usefulness of a political settlements approach.

Opinion by Alina Rocha Menocal 13th July 2015

Gender in impact evaluation: norms as well as numbers

The World’s Women 2015, recently released by the UN, tells us that in 2015 women held 22% of parliamentary seats – almost double the level recorded in 1997 (12%).

Opinion by Gillian Fletcher 27th November 2015
Opinion by Alina Rocha Menocal 29th March 2016

Elections: transformational, or blunt tools of representation?

An astonishing political transformation has taken place around the world over the past three decades. Most countries today are considered formal democracies, and elections have become almost universal. Since 2000, only five countries have not held elections at the national level (China, Eritrea, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates).

Opinion by Alina Rocha Menocal 8th September 2016

Politics, risk and development: three takeaways

Last week was a big one for the Australasian development community, particularly for those interested in the politics of development. The Australasian Aid Conference at the Australian National University (10-11 February) included a packed session on 'Putting political thinking into development practice'. And DLP’s Annual Conference at La Trobe University focused  on Power, Politics and Positive Deviance.

Opinion by Chris Roche 19th February 2016

What do we do on Monday? Political settlements in theory and practice

The political settlements framework can seem a distraction to some practitioners, many of whom have been thinking and working politically about development for a number of years. They find the term difficult to define with any precision and, in any case, quite unnecessary. In the real world, progress towards better understanding of and engagement with the political conditions which help and hinder development has been ticking along nicely, independently of the academic debates.

Opinion by Edward Laws 15th July 2015

Do anticorruption messages work? Findings so far and what they could mean for Papua New Guinea

Anticorruption posters and billboards are common sights around the world. Most anticorruption programs now include an awareness-raising element. The hope is that anticorruption messages – whether shared via posters, radio or TV, for example – will inspire citizens to refuse to pay bribes and to report any corruption they encounter.

Opinion by Caryn Peiffer 23rd March 2017

‘Crows who come in search of dollars’: NGO legitimacy in conflict zones

Do political dynamics affect NGO legitimacy more than performance?

Opinion by Oliver Walton 19th August 2014

Peace processes after civil war: choosing the right tools for the job

Why, despite the best of intentions and the investment of significant resources, do peace processes so often fail to lead to a stable and lasting peace after civil war?

Opinion by Jasmine-Kim Westendorf 18th April 2016

Development cooperation and fighting corruption: thinking differently

Everyone associates Brazil with football and the World Cup. Brazilians pouring out onto the street last summer to protest the competition being hosted in their country was last thing many of us expected to see.

Opinion by Heather Marquette 24th June 2015

Taking the Results agenda to the next level?

On new book The Politics of Evidence and Results in International Development

Opinion by Chris Roche 15th July 2015

Our money, our projects: demand-driven community development through Australia's Central Land Council

We came to the DLP conference on ‘power, politics and positive deviance’ to talk about emerging lessons from the Central Land Council’s community development program. The program works to maintain Aboriginal identity, language, culture and connection to country; and to strengthen Aboriginal people’s participation in mainstream Australia by improving their health, education and employment outcomes.

Opinion by David Ross 15th April 2016

Politics - the problem and solution to poor services?

One of the most influential and enduring World Development Reports ever produced – Making Services Work for Poor People – is a decade old this year.

Opinion by Claire Mcloughlin 13th March 2014

Coalitions for inclusion in Indonesia: communities and government tackling discrimination together

In a follow-up to Luke Arnold’s recent post on coalitions for disability inclusion in Indonesia, Angie Bexley introduces a broader initiative in which reform coalitions are working for the inclusion of six marginalised groups.

Opinion by Angie Bexley 22nd August 2016
Opinion by Alina Rocha Menocal 24th November 2014

Medellin - more than a miracle

Bad news sells. And for news editors looking for horror stories to recycle, Colombia's second largest city used to be a reliable source.

Opinion by Cheryl Stonehouse 4th March 2014

Uncounted: has the post-2015 data revolution failed already?

Counting matters. As the Stiglitz-Sen-Fitoussi report puts it: What we measure affects what we do; and if our measurements are flawed, decisions may be distorted…. [I]f metrics of performance are flawed, so too may be inferences we draw.

Opinion by Alex Cobham 12th May 2015

How does politically informed programming shape development outcomes?

Many well-intentioned development programmes founder in the face of resistance from entrenched elites who feel threatened by a potential loss of power and resources. Resources intended for the poor and disadvantaged benefit the rich and powerful. In response, development practitioners and academics have become keenly interested in the political factors that shape development outcomes over the past ten years.

Opinion by Mark Robinson 29th January 2016

Politics shape services; and services shape politics

How governance and sector specialists can help each other understand the politics of service delivery

Opinion by Richard Batley 19th June 2014

Why are Africa's poor more likely than the rich to pay a bribe for public services?

Research in Africa has consistently found that the poor are more likely than the better off to pay bribes to state officials for public services. This matters for all sorts of reasons, but from a state-building and developmental perspective, the crisis of trust that corruption can trigger can be devastating. When services are pushed just that bit further away by public-servants-turned-corrupt-gatekeepers, it is likely to colour the already jaundiced perceptions that hard-pressed communities may have of state institutions and of their legitimacy; and also, as Seligson puts it, of ‘the broader national governance frameworks in which they are located’.

Opinion by Caryn Peiffer 19th January 2017

Innovation: transactional or transformative?

Innovation has become a popular word in international development. In Australia today, Bjorn Lomborg helped to formally open DFAT’s development innovation hub innovationXchange, which is designed to ‘identify, trial and scale up successful approaches’. Other donors, including the US and the UK, are also promoting innovation through initiatives like the Development Innovation Ventures programme.

Opinion by Chris Roche 23rd March 2015

International donors - aiding or abetting?

In September 2012, lawyers representing an Ethiopian farmer announced that they planned to sue the UK government for its role in human rights violations in Ethiopia. The farmer, named in court papers as “Mr O”, alleged that the Ethiopian government’s “villagisation” programme had involved the forced resettlement of thousands of families including his own.

Opinion by Niheer Dasandi 10th September 2015

Cancer and the links between medicine and development

Guest post for From Poverty to Power

Opinion by Chris Roche 15th April 2015

Security and justice – the mismatch between policy and practice

What hinders more politically nuanced security and justice programming?

Opinion by Shivit Bakrania 21st July 2014

Different development: walk the talk

Spent the day at a ‘Doing Development Differently’ event recently and, while it offered a great opportunity to meet and hear from fascinating, dedicated, thoughtful people, I came away somewhat disheartened. Why? Because:

Opinion by Gillian Fletcher 14th April 2015

Service delivery and state legitimacy: for better or for worse?

People’s reactions to the question ‘does better service delivery improve a state’s legitimacy?’ are typically fast, instinctive and often surprisingly emotive. To use Daniel Kahneman’s Thinking, Fast and Slow model, ‘System 1’ thinking kicks in. Of course services support state legitimacy, encouraging citizens to accept the state’s right to rule over them. Can we imagine a legitimate state that doesn’t meet its citizens’ basic human needs?

Opinion by Claire Mcloughlin 24th November 2015

From functional governance to sustainable peace: Making the space to reflect, learn and adapt

Last month, UNDP co-hosted a Global Meeting in Jordan on supporting core government functions in fragile and conflict-affected settings. It brought together over 60 colleagues and practitioners from the UN system, World Bank, donors, and government representatives from around the world.

Opinion by Aditi Haté 22nd February 2017

Does talking about corruption make it seem worse?

Guest post for The Guardian's Global Development Professionals Network

The curious case of Indian autocracy and what it tells us about 'thinking and working politically'

Today marks the fortieth anniversary of Indira Gandhi’s declaration of a national emergency in India, which led to an 18-month period of autocracy. Civil rights were suspended, political opponents and journalists were arrested without the right to trial, censorship was imposed, elections were cancelled, non-Congress state governments were dismissed, the constitution changed.

Opinion by Niheer Dasandi 25th June 2015

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

News

Doing Development Differently workshop - Jakarta 2017

Thursday 30th March 2017

Putting the concept of Thinking and Working Politically into practice was at the heart of a workshop on 15-16 March attended by more than 200 delegates from the field of international development. Delegates from the government, civil service and local organisations of the host country, Indonesia, were joined by academics, including DLP researchers, and staff from donor organisations and NGOs.

Read more

DLP shares research at FCO Africa Study Day

Monday 27th March 2017

DLP findings on the Democratic Republic of Congo were among the topics discussed with with UK diplomats and civil servants at the FCO's Africa Study Day, held at Sandhurst on 21 March. This year's Foreign and Commonwealth Office event was organised by University of Birmingham's International Development Department, home to DLP.

Read more

Follow: @dlprog