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'Teach a Man to Fish': The Sustainability Doctrine and Its Social Consequences

Author: Swidler, Ann and Susan Cotts Watkins

An analysis of the social consequences of the commitment to ''sustainability" in donor-funded AIDS programs. Using survey, interview, and ethnographic data from rural Malawi, the authors examine how efforts to mobilize and empower local communities affect three strata of Malawian society: 1) the villagers whom these programs are meant to help, 2) the insecure local elites whose efforts directly link programs to their intended beneficiaries, and more briefly, 3) the national elites who implement AIDS policies and programs.

July, 2009

20 Years of Community Action for the Global Environment

Author: UNDP

The 1992 Rio Earth Summit emphasized thinking globally, but acting locally to address critical environmental problems and achieve sustainable development. In response, a restructured UN Global Environmental Facility (GEF) Small Grants Programme (SGP) became the financial mechanism to support action for the newly agreed-upon environmental conventions. This publication recounts the ground gained in the course of twenty years of supporting communities and civil society organizations in their efforts to implement environment-cum-development initiatives.

June, 2012

A Capacity Development Market? Stimulating the Provision of Local Capacity Development Support

Author: Ubels, Jan, Naa-aku Acquaye-Baddoo and Alan Fowler

Although the international development community invests billions of dollars to improve organizational capacity, real-life practice is poorly understood and undervalued as a distinct professional domain.This publication, written by practitioners for practitioners, is designed to fill these gaps. Practical illustrations draw on experiences from the civic, government and private sectors. A central theme presents capacity as more than something internal to organizations.

August, 2011

A Conceptual Framework for Institutional Sustainability

Author: UMD, USDA, & USAID

One piece of a larger effort to address the problem of development sustainability, sponsored by USAID's Office of Agriculture and Rural Development in the Asia/Near East Bureau (ANE). Earlier work approached sustainability inductively, reviewing relevant literature and field cases to derive a set of premises and recommendations. This paper attempts to elaborate deductively a theoretical framework that subsumes the earlier work within an integrated model that extends beyond simply systematizing existing practice.

July, 1988

A Leader's Framework to Decision Making

Author: Snowden, David J. and Mary E. Boone

Wise executives tailor their approach to fit the complexity of the circumstances they face.

November, 2007

A Revolution in Capacity Development? Africans Ask Tough Questions

Author: Missika-Wierzba, Bathylle, and Mark Nelson

From the World Bank task force on capacity development in Africa to the Paris Declaration on aid effectiveness, donors have signaled both the importance of the issue to African development and a new determination to improve results on capacity development interventions. For African practitioners, however, whether this new attention will result in real changes is still unclear. This brief examines some of the African reactions, gathered through a series of consultations, to growing attention on capacity development among donors.

May, 2006

Accountability in Practice: Mechanisms for NGOs

Author: Ebrahim, Alnoor

This paper examines how accountability is practiced by non-governmental organizations (NGOs). Five broad mechanisms are reviewed: reports and disclosure statements, performance assessments and evaluations, participation, self-regulation, and social audits. Each mechanism, distinguished as either a ''tool'' or a ''process,'' is analyzed along three dimensions of accountability: upward–downward, internal–external, and functional–strategic.

May, 2003

Accountability Myopia: Losing Sight of Organizational Learning

Author: Ebrahim, Alnoor

This article challenges a normative assumption about accountability in organizations: that more accountability is necessarily better. More specifically, it examines two forms of "myopia" that characterize conceptions of accountability among service-oriented non-profit organizations: (a) accountability as a set of unconnected binary relationships rather than as a system of relations and (b) accountability as short-term and rule-following behavior rather than as a means to longer-term social change.

March, 2005

Acumen Fund: Measurement in Impact Investing

Author: Ebrahim, Alnoor, V. Kasturi Rangan

Acumen Fund is a global venture capital firm with a dual purpose: it looks for a return on its investments and also seeks entrepreneurial solutions to global poverty.

May, 2011