SOAS University of London

SOAS scholar secures ESRC/DFID funding for research on parliaments and poverty reduction in Bangladesh and Ethiopia

10 April 2014

Dr Emma Crewe, a Research Associate in the Department of Anthropology and Sociology at SOAS, University of London has received a grant of £501,930 to research the role of MPs in public engagement and poverty reduction in Bangladesh and Ethiopia.

Funding for the three-year research project, Parliamentary effectiveness: public engagement for poverty reduction in Bangladesh and Ethiopia, comes from an Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) - Department for International Development (DFID) joint fund.

It is a collaboration between SOAS, Hansard Society – a research institute working in the UK and around the world to promote democracy and strengthen parliaments – and anthropologists and political scientists in Ethiopia and Bangladesh.

The project will examine the extent to which poverty reduction depends upon an effective parliament with MPs engaging with the public. It asks what makes MPs effective? How do they interact with different stakeholders? What roles do they play in poverty reduction and the promotion of equality? What do MPs, CSOs and citizens recommend for the future?

The research team will use qualitative methods of interviews, mapping, and observation, relying on anthropological, gender and actor-orientated approaches. SOAS and the Hansard Society will support in-country researchers to carry out this research and disseminate the findings widely in their regions and beyond.

Dr Crewe, Principal Investigator for the project, said: “The work of parliament and parliamentarians is changing within most nations: they can grow stronger as many countries develop processes of public engagement, but weaker in the sense that many citizens become still more disillusioned with their political leaders.  While political anthropology has greatly enhanced our understanding of how the state is embedded in society, this research will more specifically explore the relationship between parliament, parliamentarians and individuals and groups within the public.”

Professor Richard Black, Pro-Director (Research & Enterprise) at SOAS said: “Poverty reduction is a core area of research at SOAS - international development is continually assessed, critiqued and scrutinised by our scholars. This research project will highlight the many challenges faced by rapidly developing nations as they work to reduce poverty.”


International team by Bangladesh Parliament
International team by Bangladesh Parliament

The team consists of Professor Nizam Ahmed from University of Chittagong, Bangladesh; Professor Zahir Ahmed from University of Jahangirnagar, Bangladesh; Dr Meheret Ayenew, Director of the Forum for Social Studies, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia; Dr Emma Crewe, Principal Investigator, SOAS; Dr Ruth Fox, Co-Investigator, Hansard Society and Matt Korris, Hansard Society.

This ESRC-DFID joint scheme for poverty alleviation research funds world-class research on a broad range of topics to enhance the quality and impact of social science, and contribute to the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals.