International development through a complexity lens

Oxfam, Kenya

This study for Oxfam focused on the central question: in what way does a complexity perspective help to describe and understand programmes and their contexts and then help both to guide development intervention and inform evaluation methodologies?

Complexity theory challenges the dominant tradition of what is deemed ‘scientific’ and ‘professional’ and emphasises that the social and natural world is organic, systemic and shaped by history and context.

Mokoro consultant Jean Boulton, an academic specialising in complexity theory (, undertook the research involving a case study of the Turkana region in Northern Kenya and the work of Oxfam in that region.

The people behind the project

Jean Boulton