15th February 2022

Leadership Observatory: Issue 19

Robin Diver

A golden key beside the word 'leadership', Storyblocks.
Image: A golden key beside the word 'leadership', Storyblocks.

In this month’s Leadership Observatory, DLP provide six key takeaways for development policy and programmes based on new evidence. It is generally recognised that development initiatives and research need to be locally-led. But how can this be achieved? What work needs to be done, what pitfalls avoided, and what are some examples of intriguing practice we can look to? You can sign up to the Leadership Observatory mailing list here.

As a taster of some of our upcoming research on disability leadership, DLP have also released a blog in which researcher Ishak Salim discusses his interviews with key local Indonesian disability activists in Flores.

A recent study from Uganda suggests that, on its own, positive recognition of local leaders who manage funds with integrity is not an effective anti-corruption strategy.

A working paper by Buntaine et al. found that positive recognition and publicity given to elected officials who fulfilled their roles with integrity changed neither behaviour nor underlying anti-corruption norms. The authors suggest positive recognition schemes may need to be linked with initiatives aimed at structural issues, and address officials’ other concerns, such as access to promotion, salary increases and impact on election results, before it can shift the landscape in terms of corruption.

Grassroots leaders, particularly women, can be instrumental in creating inclusive, safe and sustainable cities.

The Right to the City in Asia Report looks at inclusivity, and the social and emancipatory politics of cities in four Asian countries. For Indonesia and the Philippines in particular, women’s coalition and advocacy groups were central in lobbying for protections for women and children in areas such as financial security and sexual harassment.

For development actors, appreciating Pacific concepts of education means understanding the domains of indigenous cultures and kastom, religion, and institutions.

In new DLP research, Johansson-Fua et al. discuss how privileging indigenous concepts of educational development and leadership is more likely to lead to successful education policy and programming. This requires deep listening to communities, and building on local expertise.

Across the Caribbean and South America, a number of powerful female leaders provide an important model for how women’s political leadership can take on the climate emergency and other global challenges.

Mandeep Rai argues that female leaders in the Caribbean, like Barbados’ prime minister Mia Mottley and “first ladies” Mellisa Santokhi-Seenacherry and Arya Ali among others set important examples for political leaders around the world on how to create ties between countries, address the climate emergency and improve people’s lives.

When supporting transformative local leadership, we need to look at the whole community in addition to the individuals placed to lead the change process.

In a recent CGD panel talk on South Fly District, Papua New Guinea, speakers discussed the importance of adaptive programming, understanding context and being flexible. DLP research associate Baia Warapa pointed out that projects are most likely to be successful when the whole community is involved, and emphasised the importance of working with the mindsets of the people; communities will become disengaged if practitioners are not willing to do this.

Co-producing research between academics and those outside academia who have relevant experience and expertise is advantageous, but it is important to be aware of the hidden politics when leading these processes.

Sparked by their own experiences in participatory urban governance, Durose, Perry, Richardson and Dean explore how different leadership styles can help or hinder relationships and processes in the co-production of research with people outside academia.

Did you know you can get our Leadership Observatory newsletters directly to your inbox? We send you updates every two months, with the latest news on developmental leadership broken down into digestible insights. You can unsubscribe anytime. Join up here.

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Authors


Robin Diver

Robin Diver

Communications Officer, Developmental Leadership Program, University of Birmingham

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