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A GSF webinar on the Oct 13: Why some communities deliver and others do not

News: Oct 16, 2020

Some communities are able to provide basic services, secure environments, good education and healthcare that encourage human development. However, some fail to do so – what is the difference?

The differences in capability to deliver what the citizens need and want form the fundamental question for Ellen Lust, Professor at University of Gothenburg and founder of the Governance and Local Development programme at the Dept of Political Science. On 13 October she was the speaker at a webinar in Global Sustainable Futures’ series focusing on collaboration with partners in low- and middle-income countries.

“In our research we engage with communities across the world to develop tools and gather data for analyses”, explains Ellen Lust.

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The GLD team has developed a Local Government Performance Index, LGPI. The index focus on citizens’ experience and and perception of the governance of their communities. This includes not only state or public authorities but also non-state actors, such as the churches.

“From our research we try to understand where reforms and development programmes are most likely to succeed and to provide citizens with advocacy tools”, says Ellen Lust. The tools are designed to help people take action themselves where they meet with challenges that need to be addressed. One such action may be “informal” or “additional” payments.

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“We don’t call it bribery or corruption. We try to understand the action”, Ellen Lust continues.

Gender, education and income

The LGPI helps the researchers to explain and provide multi-sectoral analyses of governance and service. The team has looked at different sectors, such as, health, education, welfare, elections, participation, electricity, land and how disputes are resolved.

“Higher education and higher income respondents sometimes tend to be less satisfied with the services provided”, says Ellen Lust. But there are also gender and class issues, she tells the audience:

“Access to water is more impacted by class than proximity.”

The GLD researchers work in many countries in Africa and elsewhere. The impact of the research is largely dependent on trust. For this reason, Professor Lust and her team work with selected respected and trustworthy partners in the different contexts and countries.

“That is a way to build trust into the information we provide”, she concludes.


Bwandilo Market, Lilongwe, Malawi. Photo by Black Chitsulo on Unsplash.com


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