Community-based Micro Grids: Experiences in Rural Kenya

By Lorenz Gollwitzer I am standing in Olosho-Oibor, a small village three-hours from Nairobi, at the bottom of the Ngong Hills (famous as the place where Denys Finch Hatton crashed his plane and died in Karen Blixen’s autobiography Out of Africa). Beeping in my pocket, my smartphone has just received an email, yet the nearest connection to the national grid…

Technology & democracy: the story of Brazil’s Social Technology Network

A new STEPS working paper tells the story of a recent experiment in grassroots innovation – the Social Technology Network (STN) in Brazil. The paper, by Mariano Fressoli and Rafael Dias, is linked to our project on historical and comparative perspectives on grassroots innovation. Formed in 2004, the STN was a ‘hybrid’, involving social movements,…

Ebola: failures, flashpoints and focus

By Annie Wilkinson, post doctorate researcher, Institute of Development Studies As the worst Ebola epidemic on record shows no signs of abating in West Africa, fear and ignorance are increasingly said to be playing a role in its continued spread. Meanwhile, local practices such as the consumption of bushmeat and deforestation are the go-to explanations…

Missionary discourses: can the green economy bring climate justice to the South?

by Joanes Atela, researcher, political ecology of carbon in Africa project The green economy has become one of the most powerful political and social agendas in the era of climate change. This week, researchers have met in Dodoma, Tanzania at the Green Economy in the South conference – the first meeting of its kind. Central…

Mission-Oriented Finance for Innovation: top-down missions or bottom-up causes?

Andy Stirling, co-director of STEPS, will be a speaker at the conference Mission-Oriented Finance for Innovation on 22-24 July in London, which examines the important role of public sector agencies in tackling societal challenges through innovation. The conference is organised by Prof Mariana Mazzucato of SPRU with Prof L. Randall Wray (UMKC & Levy Institute,…

Antibiotics: Avoiding a return to the dark ages of medicine

By Annie Wilkinson, post doctorate researcher, Institute of Development Studies Listeners to BBC Radio 4’s Today programme woke up yesterday to Prime Minister David Cameron’s prediction of a return to the “dark ages of medicine” if the problem of growing antibiotic resistance is left unchecked. This doomsday scenario is one where routine infections which we have come to think…