Guest post from John Hammock of the Oxford Poverty & Human Development Initiative
In Duncan Green's thought-provoking blog ‘Hello SDGs, what’s your theory of change?’ he rightly identifies peer pressure as a potentially very effective means of governments coming to internalise the SDGs in their domestic processes and influencing others to follow suit. Let me give an instructive case study based on our experience at OPHI.
I think there is common ground that effective change must be owned by the implementers of change, not by donors or academics, not by consultants or think-tanks, not by well-wishers (or even bloggers). Change happens in government when the change is owned and this happens when the policy maker sees how the policy will help both deal with the problem in real time and help the government in power.
Let’s take the case of multidimensional poverty and its measurement. OPHI—an academic centre—developed at the end of 2008 the Alkire Foster method to measure multidimensional poverty, giving the world a practical tool to measure many deprivations that poor people face at the same time. Four years later, three ‘vanguard’ governments [to borrow Dunanc's phrase!], Mexico, Colombia and Bhutan, had adopted the measure but take-up elsewhere was painfully slow. Statisticians and geeks loved it, but governments were not following the starting three.