Dr Nicola Banks

Lecturer in Urban Development

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Biography

My PhD at IDPM explored the ways in which employment can facilitate escape from poverty in urban Bangladesh. Using employment (in particular, access to employment) as a lens highlights vividly that we must understand urban poverty's political roots, as well as its economic and physical dimensions. 

I then spent a year living and working in Uganda as Head of BRAC's Research and Evaluation Unit where I managed the NGO's research portfolio in Uganda, Tanzania and South Sudan. It was here that my interest in young people was triggered. Young people make up nearly a third of the world's population, but have so far been overlooked by national and international 'development' policies and programmes. In Sub-Saharan Africa in particular, the needs of growing youth populations must be addressed more effectively.

My ESRC-funded research, Youth, Poverty and Inequality in Urban Tanzania explores young people's experiences of urban poverty in Tanzania. It builds upon my research into young people's lives in  Uganda. Issues of employment are central the priorities of youth, but must be contextualised within the much wider range of social and economic problems that young people face. 

This background means that I am interested in understanding both the causes of poverty (primarily in urban areas), but also the ways in which NGOs and other development actors conceptualise and seek to tackle poverty. My recent work with David Hulme and Michael Edwards has looked at the capacity of NGOs and other development actors to facilitate social justice and transformative change. This has led to an ongoing research project to Map the UK's Development NGO Sector in partnership with Professor Dan Brockington at the University of Sheffield. You can find out more about this project in the 'links' section above.

 

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