July 29, 2020 — The Asia Foundation and the Australian Embassy in the Philippines today released a new publication, Thinking and Working Politically in Development: Coalitions for Change in the Philippines. Written by London School of Economics and Political Science Professor John T. Sidel and The Asia Foundation’s Jaime Faustino, the book examines the first phase of the Coalitions for Change program (2012-2018) and the contributions to key development policy reforms in the Philippines.
The book is a rigorous treatment of the Coalitions for Change program’s transformative policy reforms—alongside lessons from its failures—across diverse policy arenas and in a wide variety of cities and provinces. The chapters are organized thematically: excise tax reform (Chapter 2), land governance reform (Chapter 3), education (Chapter 4), electoral reform (Chapter 5), disaster risk reduction and management (Chapter 6), and subnational governance reform and conflict resolution in Mindanao (Chapter 7).
The co-authors together combine an independent, academic perspective on the program’s impacts (Sidel) with a front-row view of doing policy reform in the Philippines – both its political and technical dimensions (Faustino). Based on the empirical research and comparative analysis undertaken by the authors, the book articulates – and substantiates – a strong set of arguments that help to explain the program’s mixed pattern of achievements and disappointments.
Watch John Sidel’s commentary on the book as he explains the program’s outcomes and impacts. Listen to Jaime Faustino’s recent InAsia podcast where he details unexpected findings on and shares insights on entrepreneurial logic within development thinking.
Overall, the book concludes that the seven-year program achieved significant and sustainable impact using problem-driven, adaptive, and iterative approaches to developmental change. The authors assert the program was at the forefront of notable development approaches: aid effectiveness and development around thinking and working politically, doing development differently, and adaptive programming. Graham Teskey, an early advocate of ‘thinking and working politically’ explores how development agencies can replicate the conditions for success in his Afterword.
With illustrative case studies and analyses, the book provides valuable lessons for policymakers, scholars, bilateral agencies, think tanks, and anyone interested in successfully maneuvering the shifting dimensions of development in the Philippines and elsewhere.
The book is available for download. You can also view chapter highlights of the book:
The Asia Foundation is a nonprofit international development organization committed to improving lives across a dynamic and developing Asia. Informed by six decades of experience and deep local expertise, our work across the region addresses five overarching goals—strengthen governance, empower women, expand economic opportunity, increase environmental resilience, and promote international cooperation.