Global Development Academy

Poverty Alleviation Research projects

The Department for International Development (DFID) and ESRC are funding two Poverty Alleviation Research projects at Edinburgh studying linkages between poverty and violence.

Funded by DFID in collaboration with the Economic and Social Research Council both projects are hosted by the Centre for African Studies.

The first project, Social Media and Security in Africa ('SMS Africa'), led by Tom Molony, will help us understand the role social media plays in documenting and driving insecurity in East and West Africa. As more people connect to social media in Africa, their expectations for real-time information is changing, especially in terms of security and posing new challenges around the rapid flow of information.

This project will establish measures that can reduce the risks and impact of violence and instability that affect the poor. SMS Africa involves three Africa-based project partners: the Centre for Human Rights and Policy Studies, Kenya; the Department of Political Science and Public Administration at the University of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania; the Network Movement for Justice & Development, Sierra Leone. The project begins in July 2015 and will run for three years. For more information, visit the Centre for African Studies website.

Centre for African Studies website

The second project, led by Zoe Marks and Paul Nugent, investigates "A Comparative Analysis of Combatants' Economic and Social-Political Power during and after War". It aims to bridge the gap between causal theories of conflict participation and the growing empirical research on post-conflict development, by measuring subjective and objective empowerment and disempowerment in context.

It will answer the overarching question: How do discrepancies between individuals' wartime and peacetime opportunities and experiences affect their socio-economic reintegration, incentives to revert to violence, and pathways out of poverty? The research design gives particular attention to gender relations, military organizational structures, and social networks.

It seeks to explore and test cycles of poverty and violence through a mixed methods comparative analysis of armed groups and their fighters, followers, and commanders, in Liberia, Sierra Leone, and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). The research will map the organizational and survival strategies of armed groups, and identify post-war patterns and risk factors for poverty and violence in order to support developmental poverty alleviation and peace building initiatives.