GPG Newsletter
November 2023

Mid-season transfer special

GPG is delighted to announce two major new signings this autumn, as Matt Carter joins as GPG’s new Director, and Leni Wild as Deputy Director. 

Matt brings more than two decades of experience in public sector reform, political advice and strategy from across the Middle East, Africa, and Asia. This includes over a decade at the UK’s Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office and the Department for International Development, and prior to that with the Tony Blair Africa Governance Initiative, the Policy Unit of the Prime Minister’s Office in 10 Downing Street, and the Cabinet Office. He said: 

“I am delighted to join GPG as Director at such an exciting time, having been a long-time admirer of the organisation’s work.

“GPG’s expertise and insight means it is uniquely positioned to support decision-makers and officials in some of the most complex political environments. I am looking forward to leading a talented and energetic team through the next phase of growth.” 

Leni brings wide-ranging experience from the research, policy, and think-tank worlds, including over a decade at the Overseas Development Institute and before that, work on international policy at the Institute for Public Policy Research. She has been a leading figure in the ‘Doing Development Differently’ and ‘Thinking and Working Politically’ communities and will be expanding our research and publications work – especially in the areas of political analysis, behavioural change, and adaptive programming. 

Our Founder, Greg “The Gaffer” Power, commented: 

“I am genuinely delighted to welcome both Matt and Leni to the team, especially as our work continues to grow.”

“We are though still looking for a defensive midfielder and someone who can play down the wing, especially if they speak Arabic.”
(Editorial comment: it is worth noting that neither Matt nor Leni are much interested in football, but Greg still thought the analogy was funny. So all complaints should be directed towards him.) 


Impact report launched  

We are delighted to share our impact report for the ‘Winning with Women’ initiative in Lebanon (2022-2023). This project aims to support women’s political participation in local elections and to build their skills as leaders within their communities.

Against a very challenging background, with municipal elections postponed and significant sectarian, religious, and political divides, we are proud of the programme’s progress. We now have a thriving network of women across Lebanon spanning the political spectrum with new skills in campaigning, community organising, and leadership. The women in our network have become confident political campaigners, but also leaders within their communities, speaking out on injustices and organising community-based support and recovery initiatives . 

The programme has learned that meaningful political participation from women can only be achieved through active support from men who dominate decision-making processes. We now work with a set of ‘male allies’ who are prominent political figures in Lebanon and who have contributed to podcasts, to public events, and developed an online petition to show their support for women’s participation and representation in future elections.


GPG’s work with Malawi Parliament accelerates with new activities 

Our Malawi programme, funded by USAID and delivered in partnership with Democracy International, has accelerated over recent months with the organisation of well-received training sessions and workshops with stakeholders in Parliament. This has included further training on Bill Analysis and updated guidance on essential legislative skills for non-lawyers. With the support of our expert Associates, we helped develop a standardised handbook for the Speakership and assisted the design of Parliament’s new strategy.  

In the coming months, we will be delivering strategic support on additional topics related to Parliament’s legislative and oversight functions. Our team’s steady efforts to engage Parliamentary Staff and integrate them into the project’s initiatives are already proving effective with a stream of new requests from staff for further collaboration aimed at improving efficiency in different areas.  

In our latest blog, (National Debt and Unchecked Borrowing) Project Manager Wisdom Lipenga reflects on recent efforts by Parliament towards legislative scrutiny, and priorities for our work in the future.


New phase of Iraq parliamentary support launches

GPG has worked with the Iraqi Council of Representatives for 15 years. Initially providing support to parliamentary committees, the work expanded so that GPG has operated at every level of government in Iraq, delivering strategic advice to successive parliamentary Speakers, providing guidance on the implementation of legislative reform, improving communication between ministries and parliament, and working with provincial government in places such as Nineveh and Basra.

The next phase of our work in Iraq will focus on improving parliamentary resilience, responsiveness, and representation. It will provide support and training to the Council of Representatives of Iraq, drawing upon our years of experience in the country and the expertise of our international Associates.


GPG research draws attention to human trafficking in Sudan

The violent conflict that erupted in Sudan in April of this year has moved into a protracted stalemate. While our staff and partners remain safe and well, the GPG team shares concerns of the international community around the heavy human cost of ongoing violence.

GPG has been delivering work to address the issue of Human Trafficking and Modern Slavery in Sudan since 2019. Following the start of hostilities in April, we have substantially pivoted our support to be able to carry out research on the impacts of the war on human trafficking in the region, with particular attention to its effects on the needs of people displaced from Sudan and the capacity of service providers and concerned institutions to assist them.

We expect to formulate recommendations from the data collected that should give policy-makers and service providers analysis and tools to identify and support those most vulnerable to trafficking and conflict.

Inside the Political Mind

Don’t forget: ‘Inside the Political Mind’, the new book from GPG’s Founder and Chair, Greg Power, will be published early in the new year. 

Why have efforts to strengthen the quality of governance in some of the world’s most troubled states so often failed?  Because they almost always ignore the human side of politics.

Drawing on his experience of working with hundreds of politicians in more than sixty countries, Greg Power explores how social norms, public expectations, and the personal interests of MPs influence the path of political development. Where states are weak, politicians solve problems by going around the state. From Tanzania and Nepal to Iraq and Ukraine, voters want MPs who can find informal fixes, and a reciprocal logic holds the system in place. But this also means that weak institutions tend to stay weak.

Combining insights from behavioural economics, change management, and comparative politics, this fascinating book argues for a different approach to political reform, one concerned less with institutional design and more with the existing logic of human behaviour. One that starts inside the political mind, and works outwards from there.

The book will be available in early 2024 – you can pre-order it now: