At SDDirect we use social and political analysis to understand the norms and institutions that structure relations and processes within society. By systematically gathering information on social groups, social relations and institutions, we are able to analyse power relations between them and to understand the barriers which some groups face in accessing resources and opportunities.
In the field of international development, social and political analysis is key to understanding how development interventions will impact upon different social groups. SDDirect believes that social and political analysis is an essential tool to enable policy makers to understand opportunities, constraints and likely impacts of development. Social analysis can be undertaken at the micro-level, looking at how social relations, roles and opportunities are structured at the household and community level, but also at the macro-level of the state and market.
Social and political analysis ensures that social, cultural and political contexts are taken into account; and that the possible impacts of development initiatives are fully understood. It is undertaken at all stages of project design and implementation and involves people as meaningful partners in the analysis process.
Social and political analysts may choose to focus on specific aspects of social and political relations that are particularly relevant to a given context. These may include gender, social exclusion, social diversity, social institutions and social risks. SDDirect is particularly interested in the extent to which national and local policies reflect the needs of excluded and vulnerable groups, such as women, refugees, minority ethnic groups and youth, and ensuring that policies and programmes allow for equal access to resources.
SDDirect offers social development advisory support to development agencies, government ministries and agencies, non-governmental and civil society organisations and other consultancy organisations. Crucially, we contribute to sustainability by strengthening institutional and individual capacity to conduct social and political analysis.
SDDirect's Lucy Earle worked with independent consultant, Pat Holden, to provide support for the UK Department for International Development's (DFID) Africa Division to develop its Gender Equality Action Plan. A communications document outlining their commitments was published in September 2009 and is available for download from our site.