Dr. Ellie Chowns


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Ellie joined SIID and the Department of Geography as a Research Associate in June 2016, working with Professor Frances Cleaver on participatory water governance.  Previously she was a Teaching Fellow at the University of Birmingham’s International Development Department.  Before joining academia, Ellie worked for 10+ years for several international development NGOs, with a focus on peace and health programmes, and on monitoring & evaluation.

Ellie’s PhD was prompted by questions about the sustainability of development interventions, arising from her experience of NGO work.  Her research examined the political economy of community management of rural water supply in Malawi, arguing that this form of induced participation is often both ineffective and inequitable, and provides a figleaf for donors and states to abdicate responsibility for service provision.  Her current work develops this critique, focusing on the everyday politics of participatory water governance.

Chowns, E. (2015).  Is Community Management an Efficient and Effective Model of Public Service Delivery? Lessons from the Rural Water Supply Sector in Malawi.  Public Administration and Development 35 (4): 263-276.