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Establishing Local Capacity Development Facility (LCDF) in Cameroon: A Journey of Discovery

Author: Van Eijnatten, Judith

In the developing world, provision of capacity development services is most often supply-driven rather than based on genuine user demand. This case study presents an alternative delivery mechanism to address this challenge--Local Capacity Development Facility (LCDF) --and describes how it was realized in Cameroon.


December, 2010

Foreign Aid: Diplomacy, Development, Domestic Politics

Author: Lancaster, Carol

A twentieth-century innovation, foreign aid has become a familiar and even expected element in international relations. But scholars and government officials continue to debate why countries provide it: some claim it is primarily a tool of diplomacy, others argue that it is largely intended to support development in poor countries, and still others point out myriad other uses. The author effectively puts this dispute to rest by providing the most comprehensive answer yet to the question of why governments give foreign aid.

December, 2006

Good Enough Governance Revisited

Author: Grindle, Merilee S.

The concept of "good enough governance" provides a platform for questioning the long menu of institutional changes and capacity-building initiatives currently deemed important (or essential) for development. Nevertheless, it falls short of being a tool to explore what, specifically, needs to be done in any real world context. Thus, as argued by the author in 2004, given the limited resources of money, time, knowledge, and human and organizational capacities, practitioners are correct in searching for the best ways to move towards better governance in a particular country context.

September, 2007

Good Intentions: The Dilemma of Outside-In Help for Inside-Out Change

Author: Ellerman, David

Philanthropic interventions into poor communities can build on or bypass community assets. Bypassing them can shortcut community sustainability. What should philanthropy consider? The author examines "a fundamental conundrum built into the helping relationship that confounds so many well-meaning attempts to be effective in both the aid business and the philanthropic sector."

September, 2006

Governance Reform: The New Analytics of Next Steps

Author: Grindle, Merilee S.

"In most recent writings about governance reform and development, recipes are out. So are 'one size fits all' and idealized end states," says the author. "Instead, a new generation of thinking emphasizes the importance of knowing the context in which reformed policies, institutions and process are to be introduced and designs interventions that are appropriate to time, place, historical experience, and local capacity."

July, 2011

Grantmaker on the Receiving End

Author: Hobson, Sarah

It's not often that funders expose themselves to a review of their own performance by their grantees. In the funding world, standard practice is for grantmakers to require performance and outcome evaluation by those receiving the money, not the other way round. Thanks to a grant from the Ford Foundation, International Development Exchange (IDEX) had the chance to turn standard practice upside down.

December, 2003

Has Civil Society Helped the Poor? A Review of the Roles and Contributions of Civil Society to Poverty Reduction

Author: Ibrahim, Solava & David Hulme

This paper sets out to explore the achievements of civil society in the area of poverty reduction. The focus is mainly on three domains: 1) Advocacy; 2) Policy change and 3) Service delivery. Three case studies illustrate how poverty can be addressed at various levels through different approaches.

March, 2010

Hearsay Ethnography: Conversational Journals as a Method for Studying Culture in Action

Author: Watkins, Susan Cotts and Ann Swidler

"Social scientists have long struggled to develop methods adequate to their theoretical understanding of meaning as collective and dynamic. While culture is widely understood as an emergent property of collectivities, the methods we use keep pulling us back towards interview-situated accounts and an image of culture as located in individual experience," according to the authors.

April, 2009

Helping People Help Themselves: Towards a Theory of Autonomy-Compatible Help

Author: Ellerman, David

How can an outside party ("helper") assist those attempting to undertake autonomous activities (the "doers") without overriding or undercutting their autonomy? The answers could have implications for the helping agency itself. If development is seen basically as autonomous self-development, then there is a subtle paradox in the whole notion of development assistance: How can an outside party ("helper") assist those undertaking autonomous activities (the "doers") without overriding or undercutting their autonomy?

October, 2001

Hirschmanian Themes of Social Learning and Change

Author: Ellerman, David

The purpose of this paper is to map today's debate about the effectiveness of conditionalities and adjustment lending back into the older balanced versus unbalanced growth debate. A 'Christmas tree' of conditionalities on an adjustment loan is in general ineffective in developing 'ownership' or in generating sustainable change. Development agencies need to select for genuine commitment to policy reforms on the part of client governments rather than think that such commitments can be 'bought' with aid.

April, 2001