Rapid changes are taking place in international development. The past two decades have promoted the ideals of participation and partnership, yet key decisions affecting people's lives continue to be made without sufficient attention to the socio-political realities of the countries in which they live. Embedded working traditions, vested interests and institutional inertia mean that old habits and cultures persist among the development community. On this premise, the authors of this book describe the need to recognise the complex, non-linear nature of development assistance and how bureaucratic procedures and power relations hinder poverty reduction in the new aid environment. The book begins with a conceptual and historical analysis of aid, exposing the challenges and opportunities facing aid professionals today. It argues for greater attention to accountability and the adoption of rights based approaches. In section two, practitioners, policymakers and researchers discuss the realities of power and relationships from their experiences across 16 countries. Their accounts, from government, donors and civil society, expose the highly politicised and dynamic aid environment in which they work. The book then explores ways forward for aid agencies, challenging existing political, institutional and personal ways of working. Breaking the barriers to ensure more inclusive aid will require visionary leadership and a courageous commitment to change. The authors show how translating rhetoric into practice relies on changing the attitudes and behaviours of individual actors. The book aims to present a contribution to the understanding of how development assistance and poverty reduction can be most effectively delivered by the professionals and agencies involved.
Reflections on the e-forum and Prajateerpu report by the UK Department for International Development, India
This article presents a response by DFID-India to the Prajateerpu report and the e-forum which discussed its findings, in which the organisation is implicated as having acted callously in displacing large numbers of poor farmers from their lands and imposed policies and programmes that would adversely affect their livelihoods. It begins by outlining DFID's approach to tackling rural poverty and agricultural development, highlighting that it does not wholly endorse a highly industrialised approach, and that it recognises that complexities and difficulties associated with rural poverty. It then presents DFID's programme strategy and approach, stating the value placed on participation and consultation, and gives examples of interventions in Andrah Pradesh which poor people directly benefited from.
Report of the Joint Participatory Evaluation of Society for People Education and Economic Change (SPEECH) and The Activists for Social Alternatives (ASA)
This report concerns participatory evaluations of two Indian NGOs "by the grassroots people themselves". The reasons for undertaking this form of evaluation are discussed, together with the expectations of the organisations involved: Society for People Education and Economic Change (SPEECH), Activists for Social Alternatives (ASA) and Oxfam (India), with whom both NGOs have close contacts. Ten phases of evaluation process are outlined, the questions and issues discussed are presented, and the process of evaluation is documented. The bulk of the report (Chs. 1 and 2) report the results of the two evaluations. A final chapter reports reflections on the participatory evaluations by the evaluators and the external resource person from Oxfam. Annexes include discussions of key aspects of the training of evaluators (including trust building, listening and communication skills, and situation analysis).