This e-library contains more than 4500 external publications on governance, social development, conflict and humanitarian issues. It includes academic and grey literature selected for its basis in good quality research and coverage of a range of perspectives. Policy-oriented summaries of each document are provided, plus links to the full text.

Drivers of violent extremism: hypotheses and literature review

Harriet Allan et al.

This review analyses the substantial academic literature on what causes violent extremism. It examines the 17 hypotheses discussed in the 2008 DFID paper ‘Drivers of Violent Extremism’, and summarises the strength of the evidence on each. It notes that an alignment of situational, social-cultural and individual factors at the macro, meso and micro levels is necessary for ...» more

Fossil fuels are dead, long live fossil fuels: Botswana’s options for economic diversification.

Ross Harvey

Botswana is at a critical historical juncture. It has enjoyed a stable democracy since 1965 and strong, quality economic growth for the last few decades.  However, the diamond revenues on which the country depends are likely to decline in the near future. This report examines how Botswana can best harness it's ample fossil fuel supply for regional energy security at the least ...» more

Private sector development for poverty reduction: opportunities and challenges for Norwegian development aid

Espen Villanger & Lars Ivar Oppedal Berge

What are the most appropriate private sector development (PSD) interventions for poverty reduction? PSD is very demanding – attracting controversy and requiring highly competent implementing institutions - nevertheless, it remains popular among policy makers. Focusing on areas under the Norad PSD mandate, this paper explores the challenges and opportunities of different ...» more

Improving education outcomes by linking payments to results: an assessment of disbursement-linked indicators in five results-based approaches.

Sarah Holzapfel & Heiner Janus

What are good indicators and how can they be selected? While results-based approaches are gaining popularity with donors and partner countries, there remains a question of whether they deliver higher returns than traditional aid modalities. This paper argues that the quality of indicators may determine the success of results-based approaches; the link between disbursement of ...» more

What lies beneath? A critical assessment of PPPs and their impact on sustainable development

María José Romero

Donor governments and financial institutions, such as the World Bank, are increasingly promoting public-private partnerships (PPPs), as a way to finance development projects. This report looks at the empirical and theoretical evidence on the nature and impact of PPPs based on experiences in Tanzania and Peru to assess whether they deliver on their promises. The report has ...» more

World disasters report 2015: Focus on local actors, the key to humanitarian effectiveness.

World Disasters Report

The importance of local actors to humanitarian action is increasingly recognised. However, they struggle to attract the funding and support they need. This report calls for more support for the role of local actors, without transferring the whole responsibility of responding to large scale disasters to them. Key Findings Local actors often have access to population ...» more

Social accountability in war zones – confronting local realities of law and justice

Anna Macdonald and Tim Allen

How are justice and social order administered and experienced in poor, politically fragile and conflict-affected environments? It argues that international policies on expanding access to justice or promoting rule of law are devised and implemented on the basis of norms and assumptions rather than on evidence and careful analysis. The development and framing of policy ...» more

Toward better global poverty measures

Martin Ravallion

While much progress has been made over the last 25 years in measuring global poverty, a number of challenges remain. This paper discusses some current issues that are specific to global poverty monitoring. It argues that improving global poverty measures is important to public knowledge, and helps to inform the work of development agencies, in international policy making and ...» more

Evaluation of the strategy for support via Swedish civil society organisations 2010-2014

Jethro Pettit et al.

In what ways has Swedish support to civil society actors in developing countries enabled poor and discriminated people to improve their living conditions and quality of life?  This evaluation report shares a range of internal and external factors that have contributed to the effectiveness of Sida's civil society support strategy via Swedish CSOs 2010-2014 . It finds that ...» more

We want to learn about good love: Findings from a qualitative study assessing the links between comprehensive sexuality education and violence against women and girls

Jenny Holden; Emma Bell; & Victoria Schauerhammer

Comprehensive sexuality education (CSE) can empower young people to make informed, autonomous decisions regarding their current and future relationships. This report finds compelling evidence that CSE is both part of a quality education and a holistic approach to prevent VAWG. However, more evidence on what works in changing attitudes on gender equality and reducing VAWG as ...» more

Sustainable refugee return: triggers, constraints and lessons on addressing the development challenges of forced displacement

Niels Harild, Asger Christensen, Roger Zetter

What are the conditions that influence decisions by refugees in protracted displacement on returning home? The study illustrates the complex contexts within which refugee return, and international assistance with refugee return and reintegration, take place. It argues that the overarching framework envisaged by the UNHCR has not been fully realised, and that there needs to be ...» more

State of the world’s volunteerism report 2015

UN Volunteers

Volunteerism provides a key channel for the successful implementation of a more inclusive future development agenda advocated by the SDGs. The report analyses the relationship between volunteerism and governance and some of the core governance issues amenable to volunteer action locally, nationally and globally. It argues that volunteerism is an additional resource and vehicle ...» more

The national risk atlas of Rwanda


Rwanda has experienced a growing number of disasters in recent years, including the 2011 landslides and the 2014 drought. This comprehensive disaster risk profile report finds that Rwanda is strongly susceptible to natural disasters and offers recommendations to ensure measures are in place to mitigate risk, and to enhance disaster risk assessment in the future. The report ...» more

The closing space challenge: how are funders responding?

Thomas Carothers

How is the  international aid community responding to the perceived major threat to Western support for civil society development in many parts of the world? This paper looks at how Western funders are responding to closing civil society space measures, highlighting the need for more in-depth research, and increased collaboration between bilaterals, multilaterals and private ...» more

Addressing gender in impact evaluation: what should be considered?

Gillian Fletcher

This paper guides development practitioners and evaluators in how to assess the way in which development interventions engage with gender, whether recognised or not, and their impact. It suggests that understanding gender as a process of judgement and value related to stereotypes and norms, rather than a category, underpins the collection of meaningful data on gender-related ...» more

Reaching boiling point: high school activism in Afghanistan

Antonio Giustozzi & Ali Mohmmad Ali

This research paper explores patterns of politicisation in Afghanistan’s high schools.  It reveals how the ban on political activities within schools has had little impact, and explores how the reproduction of the political establishment within schools poses a potential risk to Afghanistan's future stability. It suggests two ways to address this: (1) revoking the ban in order ...» more

Systems Thinking: An introduction for Oxfam programme staff

Kimberly Bowman et al.

Systems thinking can be an important part of developing truly sustainable and transformative change. This introduction explains how a systems approach can be integrated within programmes and ways of working, and provides tools, case study examples and links to a range of useful resources for further learning. It highlights the need for change at both a programme and ...» more

Strategy testing: an innovative approach to monitoring highly flexible aid programs

Debra Ladner

How can we develop a rigorous and meaningful monitoring system that will support, rather than hinder, a flexible, adaptive programme approach? This paper outlines the Strategy Testing (ST) approach The Asia Foundation has developed in response to this question. It finds that ST is a promising monitoring approach, contributing to broader efforts to reorient development ...» more

Resource discovery and conflict in Africa: what do the data show?

Rabah Arezki, Sambit Bhattacharyya & Nemera Mamo

Africa is often viewed as the prime location for natural resource driven conflict. The volume of research on this topic is sizeable. Yet establishing causality remains a challenge. This paper uses geocoded data on oil and mineral discoveries to study the effect of natural resources on conflict at the local level (1946-2008). It seeks to fill the gap on research which has used ...» more

Governance and inequality: Benchmarking and interpreting South Africa’s evolving political settlement

Brian Levy; Alan Hirsch; & Ingrid Woolard

Has South Africa’s political settlement provided a constructive platform for successfully addressing the country’s deep-seated economic challenges in an inclusive way? This paper argues that the country’s stark inequality is a major cause of the increased pressure on maintaining its political settlement. It re-examines the foundations of South Africa’s democracy in an attempt ...» more