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Shifting the power 

‘Shifting the power’ aims to change the narrative on ‘development’ and ‘aid’ and consider what it should evolve into in terms of supporting the global redistribution of wealth and power. It aims to shift decision-making and power structures away from the global north and support self-defined global sustainable development. 

Scotland’s International Development Alliance has been working on ‘shifting the power’ for several years, most recently by developing a research project for policy and advocacy purposes, and thinking about our approach to language.

NEW REPORT: From talk to transformation – how governments can really ‘shift the power’ towards global justice

This work, from the 200 strong membership of Scotland’s International Development Alliance (SIDA), explores the idea of ‘shifting the power’ to achieve global justice. It provides a powerful vision for transformative change based on four intersecting approaches of inclusivity, feminism, anti-racism and decolonisation, and calls on politicians to rethink how the UK engages globally. It argues that investing in transformative change at the global level and in the ‘how’ of relationships with countries in the Global South will positively contribute to justice at home and abroad. 

The project was led by SIDA’s policy committee, and Kate Nevens and Iffat Shahnaz from the intersectional feminist facilitation and research consultancy, the collective undertook this important work. 

Watch the short film below for a brief overview of our findings. The film was kindly supported by EMMS International.

SIDA have also published a set of 10 policy recommendations for consideration by the next UK Government.

Language policy

It’s important to reflect on our language in the context of anti-racism and decolonisation. Adopting a critical stance on the language we use can ensure that it does not cause people harm or perpetuate coloniality.  

We have developed our own language guide for staff, and encourage our members to consider doing the same.

We are not prescribing how our members should use language but encouraging them to reflect on its importance. We are happy to share our learnings through this process with anyone interested. 

SIDA Inclusive Language Guide – Scotland’s International Development Alliance (

Useful links

RINGO is the first globally-coordinated cross-sectoral effort to revolutionize the sector by interrogating the purpose, structures, power, and positioning of INGOs: Rights CoLab 

The #ShiftThePower Treehouse is a place for those who refuse to accept the status quo in philanthropy and development: Manifesto for Change – Another Way Is Possible ( 

NEWS: New research published – from talk to transformation

The research explores what a feminist, decolonial, equitable and inclusive approach to global affairs looks like, and how governments can really ‘shift the power’ towards global justice.

BLOG: What I Learnt About ‘Shifting the Power’ in my First Year of Grantmaking :: Corra Foundation

‘Shifting the power’ is a phrase that was often referred to, but also explored, when I first joined the world of grantmaking last summer.

BLOG & VIDEO: Should reparations be part of Scotland’s approach to global affairs?

How should Scotland acknowledge colonial legacies in our approach to global affairs, and what might that look like? Should our international development programmes focus on countries we have historically harmed?

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