PEA Update 5: Putting TWP, PDIA, DDD and AM into Practice (or, more colloquially, what these tongue twister terms mean and why they matter)

This blog forms part of a series of internal Political Economy Analysis (PEA) updates compiled by Priya Chattier/Tara Davda, with general wisdom by Graham Teskey and Lavinia Tyrrel. Thanks to Leisa Gibson (and Priya) for GESI support. We will aim to publish these every fortnight or so. Watch this space.

This week provides more detail on each of the PEA discourses, and touches on their evolution. It dives into topics such as how to make sense of the different varieties of PEA, summarised as Thinking Working Politically (TWP), Problem Driven Iterative Adaptation (PDIA), Doing Development Differently (DDD) and Adaptive Management (AM).

Image credit: Hans India

  • Problem Driven Iterative Adaptation (PDIA)
    • This school of thought is heavily influenced by this paper –  ‘Building State Capability: Evidence, Analysis, Action’ by Matt Andrews, Lant Pritchett and Michael Woolcock
    • Podcast by Harvard Kennedy school on launch of Pritchett and Andrews book (Building State Capability: Evidence, Analysis, Action’ – above)
    • PDIA toolkit: A DIY Approach to Solving Complex Problems
    • Debates on institutional reform, including the police and the national security sectors, have witnessed a shift away from generic institutional reforms towards a more problem-centered approach. This gender and security toolkit shares new and emerging PDIA good practices to achieve gender equality in and through policy – not just by adding more women but transforming power relations that perpetuate gender-based violence in the first place.

  • Thinking Working Politically (TWP)
    • The case for ‘thinking and working politically’: The implications of ‘doing development differently’ – here
    • Governance for growth in Vanuatu: Review of a decade of thinking and working politically – here
    • The Pacific Leadership Program (PLP): Examines how the PLP used thinking and working politically in four case studies (Samoa, Tonga, Vanuatu and  Solomon Islands)
    • This blog aims to bridge the gender gap in ‘thinking and working politically’ – and asks what does gender-informed and politically smart work look like in different development contexts?
    • And, resources and reflections on gender in TWP.

  • Doing Development Differently (DDD)
    • This brief features an overview of some of the things that could be preventing development practitioners from doing development  differently; suggestions on how to overcome common constraints and a series of case studies which explore examples of how practitioners tried to overcome similar constraints in their development work.
    • Oxfam’s Duncan Green wrote a book called How Change Happens. He argues that change requires power, and hence practitioners must focus on the politics and the institutions within which power is exercised. Also available in audio form.
    • This case study explores how change happens though eroding women’s isolation to enhancing women’s knowledge of local decision making processes and leadership skills.
    • Old wine in new bottles? Six ways to tell if a programme is really ‘Doing Development Differently’
    • Two papers which chart how DDD has evolved and how it has influenced development. Also a really excellent overview of the literature on DDD, for those who wish to explore further. See here and here.

  • Adaptive Management (AM)
    • Adaptive Management in the program cycle – here.
    • MEL in AM: Short piece which asks does the choice of monitoring and evaluation (M&E) approaches and tools matter for adaptive programmes? See here.
    • AM and what it means for Civil Society Organisations (CSOs). This paper provides a good overview of AM, and argues working in adaptive ways at scale requires: (i) enabling organisational culture and leadership, (ii)conducive funding practices, (iii) recognition that flexibility and dealing with risk and uncertainty is very different to current dominant approaches to programming. Here.
    • AN alternative approach to AM: GESI evidence on tackling unjust power dynamics and the social impacts of violence and gender inequality whilst localising development and peace-building efforts.

Key differences and features between the discourses

And finally, an excellent summary of differences between PDIA, TWP and PEA (ie. What we’re missing by not getting our TWP alphabet straight), while the figure above summarises some of the key differences and features between the discourses.

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