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Personal profile


My PhD at IDPM explored the ways in which employment can facilitate escape from poverty in urban Bangladesh. Using employment (in particular, access to employment) as a lens highlights vividly that we must understand urban poverty's political roots, as well as its economic and physical dimensions. 

I then spent a year living and working in Uganda as Head of BRAC's Research and Evaluation Unit where I managed the NGO's research portfolio in Uganda, Tanzania and South Sudan. It was here that my interest in young people was triggered. Young people make up nearly a third of the world's population, but have so far been overlooked by national and international 'development' policies and programmes. In Sub-Saharan Africa in particular, the needs of growing youth populations must be addressed more effectively.

My ESRC-funded research, Youth, Poverty and Inequality in Urban Tanzania explores young people's experiences of urban poverty in Tanzania. It builds upon my research into young people's lives in  Uganda. Issues of employment are central the priorities of youth, but must be contextualised within the much wider range of social and economic problems that young people face. 

This background means that I am interested in understanding both the causes of poverty (primarily in urban areas), but also the ways in which NGOs and other development actors conceptualise and seek to tackle poverty. My recent work with David Hulme and Michael Edwards has looked at the capacity of NGOs and other development actors to facilitate social justice and transformative change. This has led to an ongoing research project to Map the UK's Development NGO Sector in partnership with Professor Dan Brockington at the University of Sheffield. You can find out more about this project in the 'links' section above.


Research interests

My research situates development as a long-term process of transformation and social justice

With a particular interest and expertise in urban poverty, my work reconciles issues of structure and agency in poverty reduction, looking both at the lived experiences of different groups of urban residents (urban poor communities, women, youth) and how layers of disadvantage along social, political and economic lines can impose significant constraints on these groups.

In policies and programmes for poverty reduction, this plays out in the tension between meeting the immediate needs of the urban poor and addressing the longer-term issue of pursuing social justice and rights to the city. The extent to which NGOs and other development actors are able to meet these goals is another of my research interests.

Visit my current research page for my work on youth, poverty and inequality in urban Tanzania.


Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 1 - No Poverty
  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being
  • SDG 5 - Gender Equality
  • SDG 8 - Decent Work and Economic Growth
  • SDG 10 - Reduced Inequalities
  • SDG 11 - Sustainable Cities and Communities
  • SDG 13 - Climate Action

Research Beacons, Institutes and Platforms

  • Global inequalities
  • Global Development Institute
  • Manchester Urban Institute


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