Helen Dempster

Helen holds an MSc in Africa and International Development from The University of Edinburgh, during which she focussed on capacity building issues for local government staff in Uganda. She also holds an LLB and a BA (Public Policy and International Relations) from Victoria University of Wellington in New Zealand. Prior to undertaking her masters, she worked in policy development for the New Zealand Ministry of Education, as well as being involved in education based NGO’s in Kenya, Scotland and New Zealand. Her primary interests are state capacity building, governance and accountability, local government, public sector reform, South-South knowledge sharing, and education policy.

Content by Helen Dempster
  • Blog post

    Escalera: Stairway to better education, evidence from rural Mexico

    As a basic input to human capital development, access to quality education remains a significant barrier to growth in most developing countries. Today’s blog looks at evidence of an innovative NGO approach that has been tested in Chiapas, Mexico’s poorest state. However you look at it, Chiapas is the poorest state in Mexico. Its per capita income (34,751 pesos, or just...

    18 Feb 2016 | Helen Dempster, Zachary Intemann

  • Blog post

    Demons of density: Growth of the violent city

    The rise of the fragile city in the last 20 years has contributed to higher concentrations of poverty, crime, and violence in urban centres, often overwhelming both public and private responses. Not limited to developing countries – most urban settings have homicide rates far above national averages. This blog explores the relationship between rapid urbanisation and...

    28 Jan 2016 | Helen Dempster

  • Blog post

    Demons of density: Delivering water and sanitation to the poor

    As rates of urbanisation continue to grow, particularly in the developing world, so does the challenge of overcoming barriers to clean water and sanitation. This problem is particularly acute for the growing numbers of urban  migrants that move into expanding informal housing settlements, or slums. Despite high initial costs for infrastructure investments, expected...

    25 Jan 2016 | Helen Dempster

  • Blog post

    Getting the most out of local government: Lessons from Uganda

    For local government to serve as a meaningful democratic check, greater emphasis must be placed on building capacity through training and ensuring sufficient revenues are decentralised to local levels to allow high-quality public services to be delivered. Recent estimates suggest that at least 80% of developing countries worldwide are pursuing a policy of decentralisation....

    24 Jun 2015 | Helen Dempster

  • Publication - Growth Brief

    Growth brief: Contagion, crime, and congestion - overcoming the downsides of density

    With rapid urbanisation in the developing world comes contagion, crime, and congestion. Overcoming these is one of the great policy challenges of the 21st century. This brief outlines why these issues are so important to the prosperity of cities and discusses ways to tackle them, providing useful lessons for policymakers. It also identifies opportunities for...

    19 May 2015 | Edward Glaeser, Helen Dempster