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Alex Prats

Living in: Barcelona, Spain
Nationality: Spanish

 
 

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Inequality lead, Oxfam Intermón, Spain

Alex Prats has a bachelor’s and a master’s degrees in Business Administration (ESADE Business School, Spain, and McGill University, Canada), Master in Development Studies (Universitat de Barcelona, Spain) and MSc in Africa Politics (SOAS, United Kingdom).

He started his professional career in the private sector as a human resources manager in Asia-Pacific, based in Bangkok (Thailand). In 2003, he joined Oxfam, where he performed different roles until 2011, including Regional Director for West Africa and Maghreb. In 2011, he joined Christian Aid in the United Kingdom as Principal Economic Advisor, where he led the organisation’s global campaign for tax justice.

In 2014, Alex re-joined Oxfam as Deputy Regional Director in Horn, East and Central Africa, based in Nairobi, Kenya. Since September 2016, Alex is the Inequality Lead at Oxfam Spain. In this new position, Alex has led a process to define the organisation’s strategy against extreme inequality, and is currently collaborating with the LSE’s III to develop an Inequality Framework and toolkit for activists and practitioners.

 

Personal Statement

At Oxfam, we believe that the current levels of inequality are unfair, erode democracy and social cohesion, and undermine our efforts to eradicate poverty. In the past years, our global campaign Even It Up! has been effective in placing the inequality challenge in the public agenda and has defined specific policy recommendations to help build fairer societies where every person can live a decent life.

In order to improve Oxfam’s understanding of what is currently driving inequalities, and to identify the most effective solutions in countries where we work, we are partnering with LSE’s III through its Atlantic Fellows Programme to develop an Inequality Framework and Toolkit for Oxfam and other practitioners and activists. This project will make a meaningful contribution to our work on inequalities: it will bridge academic, activist and practitioner perspectives with the aim to support Oxfam in their ambition to design and implement relevant, solid and effective programmes for the reduction of inequalities at national and local levels.

Understanding inequalities properly in any given context -including their links to poverty dynamics, their main drivers, and the consequences for citizens- is a necessary condition for effective programming and policy-making. Yet, inequality is a complex multidimensional concept and phenomenon, and the lack of robust, but pragmatic frameworks and tools make it challenging for activists and practitioners to grasp inequalities with the width and depth required.

The Inequality Framework and Toolkit that we aim to develop from a collaboration between Oxfam and LSE will fill this gap and provide pragmatic conceptual and analytical guidance for activists and practitioners that seek to make a difference in tackling inequalities.

At Oxfam, we look forward to working together with other Fellows in the Atlantic Programme. We are convinced that this will help strengthen our capacity to fight inequality and contribute to putting an end to poverty.

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Ana Maria Munoz

Living in: Coruna, Spain
Nationality: Spanish

 
 

Researcher and Advocacy Officer, Oxfam Intermon, Spain

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Ana is a social researcher and advocacy practicioner with a degree in Law and development studies, specialised in participation, power, social and political change. She has 9 years’ experience working on advocacy and social mobilisation campaigns, exploring how ordinary people can influence and ‘do’ politics.

Her MA in participation, power and social change at the Institute of Development Studies (University of Sussex), helped Ana to better explore how social and political change happens. From a critical thinking and action learning approach, this MA deepened her previous experience as a practitioner and activist, linking it to her theoretical knowledge and academic skills.

Her action research project was awarded with the prize for the best dissertation of her year group. It focused on the processes of citizenship and empowerment that people affected by the mortgage crisis in Barcelona, Spain might have lived or not inside a social movement: the Spanish Platform of Mortgage-Affected People (PAH). It looked at the impact that the mortgage crisis and PAH might have had on people’s senses and practices of citizenship, which might contribute or not to building more critical active citizenship and equal and democratic societies.

Ana’s professional experience has mainly been developed with NGOs at national level; Oxfam, Amnesty International, Federations of NGOs - working on advocacy campaigns on human rights, social policies and Constitutional changes. Ana also gained some experience in the field of international consultancy, participating in monitoring and evaluation projects in advocacy.

Since 2016, she has worked for Oxfam, Spain doing research and advocacy on social policies, focused on income inequality and, particularly, wage inequality. Ana has co-authored the report ‘Wages fall, inequality grows’, which analyses the effects of wage inequality and low pay at a global level, and looks in detail at the Spanish situation before and after the economic crisis of 2008-2014. Furthermore, it considers concrete policy recommendations to reduce the pay gap.

Ana also works in Polétika -'politics + ethics'-, an alliance formed by 10 CSO networks, representing more than 500 organisations and social movements. This network analyses and monitors public political commitments on social policies against inequality and poverty, to hold politicians accountable.

 

Personal Statement

My interest in inequalities come from realising how different opportunities and access people have to basic needs and the exercise of their rights, depending on the nationality, race or ethnicity, gender and/or the economic power one has. My interest is mainly in 'other dimensions' of inequality - the social and political dimensions - beyond income and wealth, and the relationships among them. This project and the Atlantic Fellows programme will allow us to know better what social and political inequalities look like, deepening into how income and wealth distribution may affect the dynamics of politics and power.

As it has recently been acknowledged by the World Bank, reducing economic inequalities is crucial for economic growth to make a more effective contribution to poverty reduction. This proposal seeks to bridge academic, activist and practitioner perspectives to design and implement relevant, solid and effective programmes for the reduction of inequalities at national and local levels.

Understanding inequalities properly in any given context - including their links to poverty dynamics, their main drivers, and the consequences for citizens - is a necessary condition for effective programming and policy-making. Yet, inequality is a complex multidimensional concept and phenomenon, and the lack of robust, but pragmatic frameworks and tools make it challenging for activists and practitioners to grasp inequalities with the width and depth required.

The main aim of this project is to develop a robust and pragmatic Inequality Framework & Toolkit, that will help activists and practitioners improve their understanding of inequalities. The Framework & Toolkit will build on the latest academic research and integrates different perspectives and knowledges - theoretical and experiential - to produce a theoretically grounded yet practical product. We will pilot the inequality framework in Guatemala, so that we can identify what works and what does not, in a reflective action learning process.

My hope is that this project will help to understand the different dimensions of inequality and the relationships among them. Its practicality will shed some light on what policies might be the most effective against inequalities and under what conditions. Besides, my wish is that the diversity of approaches and backgrounds brought together in this team will contribute to bridge the gap between Academia and NGOs, having a broader vision of our complex reality.

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Claire Kumar

Living in: Rwanda
Nationality: Irish

 
 

Independent Consultant

Claire has over 20 years of experience working in international development, with a particular focus on social and economic policy issues. As policy advisor in Christian Aid for 7 years, she led work on economic justice – with a strong focus on inequality and fiscal policy - for the Latin America and Caribbean division. She produced many pieces of research during this time, including a regional inequality report, briefing papers on tax systems in Guatemala, Honduras and Brazil, a report on mineral taxation in Latin America and oil and gas taxation in Bolivia.

Since leaving Christian Aid and relocating to Rwanda Claire has worked for the last 5 years as a consultant. She has had a broad range of clients and have worked consistently with UNICEF and Save the Children on fiscal policy issues during this time. For UNICEF, she developed their ‘Public Finance for Children’ baseline analysis in relation to health and nutrition, education, social protection, water and sanitation and early childhood development. Two separate research reports were produced on national and district social sector budgets, as well as the production of a complete data set and tools to aid equity analysis in future monitoring efforts. Claire also worked with UNICEF and the Ministry of Education in Rwanda to develop a national plan for the expansion of pre-primary education in Rwanda. Work included extensive costing of options to scale up investment in pre-primary education, with equitable targeting a key element of this work. With Save the Children her work has focused on producing research reports and briefing papers around the tax system and tax reform agenda, as well as the education and social protection budgets in Rwanda. This work has included district level education budget and progress analysis, which has fed into advocacy regarding alternative, more equitable, education financing formulas for the country.

Claire has also continued other work in the tax and development field, conducting research for Christian Aid and the Tax Justice Network-Africa on tax and inequality in sub-Saharan Africa, and working with Transparency and Accountability Initiative (T/AI) to scope opportunities for US-based foundations interested in working on tax and illicit financial flows. Currently her client base includes Transparency and Accountability Initiative, the Global Alliance for Tax Justice – identifying options for their new strategic plan – and Oxfam. Her new work with Oxfam is in collaboration with LSE’s International Inequalities Institute, as part of their joint project: “Development, Testing and Publication of an Inequality Framework and Toolkit.”

Claire’s undergraduate degree was in European Law and French at Exeter University. After this Claire moved to Guatemala for 5 years and worked for an international development agency. She then returned to the UK and completed a master’s degree in Development Management at LSE, with a strong focus on economic development policy.

 

Personal Statement

I have worked consistently on inequality over the past decade. It has been a central issue for a lot of my economic and social policy work. Working in Rwanda directly on social policies and particularly the equitable financing aspect has really driven a strong interest in understanding much more about public policy design and evaluation from the perspective of inequalities. In addition the aspect of progressive taxation has also been a central focus of my work for many years. Being informed on the most recent research, thinking and debates regarding inequality reduction (or aggravation) as a result of tax systems, social policy design and public expenditure is of great personal and professional interest for me. This is why I am so excited to participate in Oxfam and III’s joint project ‘Development, Testing and Publication of an Inequality Framework and Toolkit’ and the Visiting Atlantic Fellows programme. I expect the development of this inequality framework and toolkit to contribute to a stronger understanding of the different dimensions of inequality and the main drivers of inequality in developing countries. Not only will this project advance understanding, it aims to provide easy-to-use tools and frameworks for developing country practitioners, assisting them to analyse inequalities and design appropriate programmes and policies in response.

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Dr Chiara Mariotti

Lives in: London, UK
Nationality: Italian

 
 

Inequality Policy Manager, Oxfam GB, UK

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Chiara Mariotti is a development economist trained at the School of Oriental and African Studies in London. Her PhD research looked at the involuntary resettlement of tribal people to be displaced by a mega-dam in Andhra Pradesh, India; extracts from her thesis have appeared in edited books and academic journals. She has taught economics and research methods at SOAS, Bath University and Greenwich University. After the PhD she joined the Chronic Poverty Advisory Network based at Overseas Development Institute, where she worked on policies to eradicate chronic poverty, especially social protection, private sector development, macroeconomic policies and pro-poor growth. She was one of the authors of the 2015 Chronic Poverty Report and has published research on Ethiopia, Viet Nam, Ecuador and Cambodia. In 2016, she joined Oxfam GB to be part of the Even It Up (inequality) campaign, which she supports leading the policy work on solutions to inequality.  Current areas of work include research and advocacy on the IMF’s inequality agenda and research and alliance-building around alternative economic paradigms as a solution to inequality..

Personal Statement

The Oxfam Inequality Framework & Toolkit Project sponsored by the Atlantic Fellowship puts together a unique combination of practitioners, prestigious academics and researchers with a vast and diverse range of expertise in development.

I am excited to be part of this project together with Oxfam colleagues and to see come together the world of academia and that of civil society. As an Atlantic Fellow, I will contribute to the project and to the programme by helping to establish connections and synergies between these two worlds. I will bring my understanding of the deep causes of poverty and inequalities at the micro level and of their macroeconomic drivers, and my experience of anti-poverty policies in different developing contexts. I will help to make sure that the framework deepens and at the same time simplifies our understanding of how inequality is produced and reproduced in different parts of the world and that the toolkit answers the research and analysis needs of Oxfam country partners.