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Dr Meera Tiwari

Reader in International Development

Centre for Social Justice and Change, Social Sciences

Meera Tiwari is Reader in  International Development with expertise in multidimensional understandings of poverty, engaging with what works in development and social impact evaluation of development interventions

  • EB 1.23, Docklands Campus
    University of East London
    Department of Social Sciences, International Development
    Docklands Campus
    E16 2RD
  • +442082237422

    I am Reader (Associate Professor) in International Development Studies at the University of East London, where I am also the programme leader for MSc NGO and Development Management. I was awarded my Ph.D. on rural non-farm employment in India from the University of Southampton. 

    My interconnected research interests are multidimensional understandings of poverty, exploring social and economic poverties within the Capability Approach, the Millennium Development Goals to Sustainable Development Goals as a discourse for poverty reduction, and how can globalisation be made to work for the most vulnerable communities. I have conducted fieldwork in rural India, Ethiopia and Tanzania. My book draws on my research on rural women's collectives (Self-Help Groups) spanning over 9 years since 2009 in rural Bihar, India.

    I have also conducted research for social impact evaluations of state supported programmes on poverty reduction and livelihoods as well as of grassroots interventions by NGOs in India, Lebanon and Brazil in various domains of development. Over the last one year (2017-2018) I have examined the impact of alcohol prohibition policy in Bihar on rural households since 2016.  My current research project on 'Understanding Challenges in Sanitation and Menstrual Hygiene Practice in Rural India' is supported by UEL's Global Research Challenge Funding. I am also co-leading a researcher capacity building project in two universities in Ethiopia.

    I have to date supervised five Ph.D. students to successful completions. I also lead the UEL's International Development Pathway in the ESRC funded UBEL partnership ( This year we have been awarded a studentship that proposes to examine the role of INGOs in disability provision in Somaliland. I am part of the supervisory team for this awardee.

    • Associate Editor for Journal Of International Development

    • External Examiner: Institutional Development Postgraduate Course, The Open University, 2013-

    • External Examiner: MSc International Development, University of Bath, 2015 -

    • Member of the Development Studies Association (DSA): Co-convener for Poverty Group (2003 -2018

    • Development Studies Association (DSA) Council Member, November 2008 – 2014

    • Member of the European Association of Development Research and Training Institutes (EADI) 2005 - 

    • Co-convener Multidimensional Poverty Group EADI, (2005 –2018)

    • Member of the Human Development and the Capability Association (2008 -

    • Co-convener of Sustainable Human Development Study Group of Human Development and the Capability Association (HDCA) 2008 -2016


    My research is underpinned by the multidimensional understanding of poverty within the Capability Approach in both southern and northern contexts. I have engaged with extending the boundaries of individual agency to collective agency through my research at the grassroots in rural Bihar and deprived communities in East and South London.

    I have conducted primary research to study the User Perspective of Information and Communication Technologies in Rural India (Madhya Pradesh and Bihar). Three of my journal articles are based on the data from this research. I applied the Poverty and Social Impact Assessment (PSIA) and Outcome Mapping tools to Livelihoods Policy frameworks to study the impact on poverty reduction in the state of Bihar in India (2009 – 2013). In 2015 I led the team to carry out a social impact evaluation of 'Save the Girl Child Project' run by the NGO Childreach International in India using mixed methods tools. I have been part of the team that carried out the

    My research in rural Ethiopia and Tanzania was focussed on understanding why some individuals, communities and grassroots organisation have progressed more than their counterparts. Recently I completed a UKIERI (UK India Education and Research Initiative) funded project (2012-14) on exploring good practice in overcoming deprivation in East London and Mumbai with Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai, India. My collaborative project with CFF (Crops for the Future), University of Nottingham in Malaysia (2014) was on Underutilised Crops and Livelihoods.

     Findings from my research in the different regions and domains of development is shaping my current work for the monograph on ‘why some development works’.  


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    Books and Book Chapters

    2014: Capability Approach: From Theory to Practice, (co-edited with Solava Ibrahim), Palgrave,

    2014: In search of models for Social Inclusion in India: case studies in rural and urban Bihar, chapter in ‘Traversing Bihar: The Politics of Development and Social Justice’, Black Swan,

    2009: Does FDI reduce poverty? The Indian cases, Chapter in TNC and Development Policy, Critical Perspectives (Eds) Rugraff, E, Sánchez-Ancochea, D and Sumner A., Palgrave.

    2009: After 2015: Growth, Governance And Globalisation, International Development Policy at a Crossroads – joint with A. Sumner, Palgrave

    Journal Articles

    Tiwari, M (2017), Exploring the Role of Capabilities in Social Innovation, Journal of Human Development and Capabilities. 2017, Vol. 18 (2), 181-196

    Tiwari, M (2015), Looking back to move forward: The MDGs and the road to post 2015', Introduction to the Journal of International Development special issue on reflections on the post 2015 debate', (2015), 

    Tiwari, M (2013), ‘Poverty in reality: what works on the ground?’ chapter in Development Co-operation Report 2013‘ Getting to zero on poverty: what should the international community do?’

    Tiwari, M (2013), The global financial crisis and self-help groups in rural India: are there lessons from their micro savings model?, Development In Practice, Vol 23(2), pp. 278-291

    Tiwari, M (2012), Re-Positioning Poverty: MICs, Measures and Methods, Introduction to the Journal of International Development 2011 Conference Issue, Vol 24(6) with Geof Wood as Guest Editors

    Tiwari, M (2012), Sustainable Human Development at the Grassroots:  Different Contexts, Similar Ingredients? (with S. Ibrahim), Oxford Development Studies, Vol 40(1), pp. 69-86

    Tiwari, M (2011)  Global Poverty Reduction to 2015 and Beyond, Global Policy, (with A. Sumner) Vol 2 (2), pp. 138-151

    Tiwari, M (2010), Didi’ of Rural Bihar: the real agent of change?, Economic and Political Weekly, Vol XLV (33), pp. 27-30

    Tiwari, M (2009), Meaning of wellbeing: a grassroots level perspective – how much of it is visible to the researchers? Social Indicators Research, Vol 90 (1), pp. 127-140

    Tiwari, M (2009), After 2015: What Are The Ingredients Of An MDG Plus Agenda For Poverty Reduction? (joint with Sumner, A), Journal of International Development, Autumn Vol 21(6), pp. 834 – 843

    Tiwari, M (2008), ICTs in Rural India:  User perspective study of two different models in rural Madhya Pradesh and rural Bihar, India Science, Technology and Society, Vol 13 (2), pp. 233-258

    Tiwari, M (2008),  ICTs and Poverty Reduction: User perspective study of rural Madhya Pradesh, India European Journal for Development Research,  Vol 20 (3), pp. 448-461

    Tiwari, M (2007), Chronic Poverty and Entitlement Theory, Third World Quarterly, Vol 28(1),  pp. 171-191

    Tiwari, M (2006), An Overview of growth in the ICT sector in India: can this growth be pro-poor?  In The World Review of Science, Technology and Sustainable Development.  Vol 3(4), pp. 298-315

    Tiwari, M (2005), Poverty and economic policy: what happens when researchers disagree? Journal of International Development, Vol 17 (6), pp. 791-801. (Joint with A. Sumner)


    Tiwari, M., Kraft, K., and Pickering-Saqqa, S. (2017),Lessons Learned Evaluation, Childreach International and Instituto Fazendo Historia, Sao Paulo,Brazil

    Tiwari, M., Kraft, K., and Pickering-Saqqa, S. (2016), Lessons Learned Evaluation: True Vine School, in collaboration with Merath (LSESD), Lebanon

    Tiwari, M., Kraft, K., and Pickering-Saqqa, S. (2015), Save the Girl Child Evaluation Report, written for Childreach International and Childreach India

    Tiwari, M (2013), ‘Poverty in reality: what works on the ground?’ chapter in Development Co-operation Report 2013 ‘Getting to zero on poverty: what should the international community do?’


      • Newton Funding (2017) seed money for research capacity building in the third sector in India and pilot for impact evaluation of alcohol prohibition policy in Bihar, India
      • Civic Engagement, UEL (2016)
      • Active Citizens, British Council, 2015
      • Exploring good practice in urban Social Cohesion in India and the UK – UKIERI Grant, June 2012- December 2014
      • Poverty and Social Impact analysis of Rural Livelihoods Programme in Bihar – Phase 3, funded by the University of East London, February – July 2013,
      • Poverty and Social Impact Analysis of Rural Livelihoods Programme in Bihar – Phase 2, funded by the University of East London, February – July 2011,
      • Poverty and Social Impact analysis of Rural Livelihoods Programme in Bihar, India. This was funded by a small ESRC-ICSSR grant to conduct the pilot for the Bihar component of the larger project, February – July, 2009
      • Can ICTs be Drivers of Growth for the rural poor - a case study of India: fieldwork at Dhar and Madhubani districts of Madhya Pradesh and Bihar, February – June, 2007, University of East London


      • Multidimensional poverty
      • Sustainable Development Goals
      • Poverty Reduction
      • Role of women’s collectives in addressing social and economic poverty
      • Capacity building
      • Poverty and social impacts of rural livelihood
      • Impact evaluations of policy interventions
      • The Capability Approach and its practical applications


      AI7201: Development Management in the International Context: MODULE LEADER
      AI7202: Project and Programme Design: lecture contributions
      AI7400: dissertation supervision (PG)
      AI4201: Introduction to International Development: Lecture contributions
      AI5201: Theories of Development and Globalisation: Co-Module Leader
      AI5202: Inequalities, Livelihoods and Sustainability: lecture contribution
      AI5203: Planning and Fundraising: Co-teaching  
      AI6200: Dissertation supervision