International development work has experienced an exceptional surge of interest in politics, with a variety of initiatives and publications seeking to find new ways of understanding and addressing the most intractable problems in developing countries. For some time there has been general agreement about the broad tenets of this approach including utilising small scale projects that are ‘politically-smart’, locally driven, responsive to need and employing multiple entry-points, and captured most ably under the rubric of the Thinking and Working Politically and the Doing Development Differently coalitions.
There remains though a gap between the agreement over principles that inform such an approach and workable models for employing these insights in the design, delivery and measurement of international assistance projects. We have written previously about these issues and Global Partners Governance (GPG) is in a rare position in this field in that we undertake research, analysis, and evaluation for donors and implementing agencies but also deliver projects designed to strengthen representative politics. This set of ‘Politically Agile Programming papers’ is an attempt to capture the insights from our analytical work and our experience working in some of the most difficult and sensitive political environments.