Notes on becoming Bangladesh

This is my contribution to the conversation about Bangladesh at 50, a collection of pieces that asks ‘Are We Rich Yet?’ The essays are about the tragedies & the comedies of a country fast rising into its own. There are cyclones & famines but also celebrities, airports, palaces and a pair of diamond shoes.

Picturing accountability

What we learned from the photography of Rana Plaza

This is a collaboration with the brilliant photojournalist Ismail Ferdous in which we reflect on his experiences of photographing the Rana Plaza factory collapse in 2013. The piece explores the role of visual evidence in advancing claims to accountability.

Picture credit: Ismail Ferdous, 2013

New paper on the 10 Million Mothers program / the politics of social protection in Bangladesh

Primary School children of Bangladesh, 2017. Photo credit: Moajjem Hossain/Vespertunes. CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

As part of a larger reform of its social protection system, Bangladesh expanded coverage of its nearly 30 year old conditional cash transfer programme, so it now goes to all students at public primary schools. It is also sent by mobile money. This paper explores the political economy of these changes, looking at why the government of Bangladesh decided to cut out the political middleman and give cash directly to 10 million mothers on condition their kids showed up to school and passed exams. The research was conducted with the Development Research Initiative group, with support from the Effective States & Inclusive Development research programme at Manchester University. As always, feedback is very welcome.

New book chapter: the SDGs & the empowerment of Bangladeshi women

As a contribution to a new open access book about the SDGs, The Palgrave Handbook of Development Cooperation for Achieving the 2030 Agenda, a new chapter on women’s empowerment in Bangladesh available here.

Preventing child marriage through football
Image by Ricci Coughlan/DFID; used under Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0) licence

Preventing child marriage through football, 2016
The UK aid supported Banchte Shekha programme has helped to set up a girls football team in Narail district, helping girls from impoverished backgrounds to avoid child marriage.
The main criteria to be a member of the Joti Nari (meaning shining woman) Football Team is that girls need to be in school, thus preventing them from being married early.


Rickshaw art depiction of the diplomatic district of Baridhara, Dhaka, Bangladesh. By Mr S. M. Samsu.

I research and write about global development, often about Bangladesh. I currently work as a Research Professor at the Accountability Research Center at American University in Washington DC, on leave from the Institute of Development Studies at the University of Sussex in Brighton, England.

I have researched elite perceptions of poverty, food and fuel riots, disaster politics (cyclones, famine, industrial disaster), workers’ rights, women’s empowerment and the role of civil society in development.

This site hosts some of my publicly available work, and links to places where you can find details of the rest.

I can also be found on twitter @nomhossain and LinkedIn