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Dr Solava Ibrahim

Dr Solava Ibrahim

Affiliated Lecturer, Centre for Development Studies, University of Cambridge.

Lecturer in International Development, Institute for Development Policy and Management (IDPM), The University of Manchester.

BA Pols (American University in Cairo), MA Pols (American University in Cairo), MPhil Dev (Cambridge) PhD (Cambridge)

Currently not taking PhD Students


As a research fellow at the Chronic Poverty Research Centre (CPRC) and the Brooks World Poverty Institute (BWPI), Solava was actively engaged in drawing lessons from this 10 year DFID research consortium which explored poverty dynamics and the intergenerational transmission of poverty in developing countries.  In 2007, Solava consulted the Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative to develop indicators that measure agency and empowerment. She was also part of the team led by the Centre for Analysis of Social Exclusion (CASE) at LSE that developed indicators for the Human Rights Commission to measure the state of inequality in the UK. In Egypt, Solava worked as Assistant Professor in Political Science at the American University in Cairo and worked for UNDP Egypt and the GTZ in addition to consulting the Arab Women Organization and Bibliotheca Alexandrina.

Research Interests

Solava's main research interests include poverty reduction, human development, wellbeing, aspirations, grassroots organisations, agency and empowerment, civil society, governance and state-society relations. Her developed framework to explore collective capabilities expands the capability approach from the individual to the collectivity to allow for its wider application in developing countries' contexts. More recently, her work focuses on developing a grounded theory of wellbeing and exploring the roles of aspirations and collective agency to achieve sustainable human development. Her research on state-society relations, self-help and governance in Egypt helps shed light on the socio-economic and political roots of the January 2011 revolution. Her current work compares wellbeing perceptions in the Global North and the Global South and examines the dynamics of sustainable human development at the grassroots.


Solava's experience is mainly in postgraduate teaching on topics ranging from 'poverty', 'pro-poor growth', 'human development' as well as 'agency and empowerment'. She teaches in Paper 1'Development Economics' and Paper 3 'Politics and Sociology of Development' for the MPhil in Development Studies.

Key Publications

Tiwari, M. and S. Ibrahim (2012) ‘Sustainable Human Development at Grassroots: Different Contexts, Similar Ingredients?’ Oxford Development Studies, 40 (1), pp. 69-85.

Ibrahim, S. and D. Hulme (2011) ‘Civil Society and Poverty Reduction’ in M. Edwards (Ed.) Oxford Handbook for Civil Society. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Ibrahim, S. (2011) A Tale of Two Egypts: contrasting state-reported macro-trends with micro-voices of the poor, Third World Quarterly, 32:7, pp. 1347-1368

Ibrahim, S. (2011) 'Poverty, Aspirations and Wellbeing: Afraid to aspire and Unable to Reach a better Life – Voices from Egypt, BWPI Working Paper no. 141, University of Manchester.

Alkire et al. Developing the Equality Measurement Framework: Selecting the Indicators. Equality and Human Rights Commission Research Report no. 31. Manchester: Equality and Human Rights Commission.

Ibrahim, S. and S. Alkire (2007) ‘Agency and Empowerment: A proposal for internationally comparable indicators’, Oxford Development Studies, vol. 35 (4) pp.379-403.

Ibrahim, S. (2007) The Role of Local Councils in Empowerment and Poverty Reduction in Egypt, Cairo, American University in Cairo Press, ISBN:  9774160142. 

Ibrahim, S. (2006) ‘From Individual to Collective Capabilities: the Capability Approach as a Conceptual Framework for Self-help’, Journal of Human Development, vol.7 (3) pp. 397-416.


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