By Steen Folke, Henrik Nielsen (eds.)
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Extra resources for Aid Impact and Poverty Reduction
Gould draws upon research done in Tanzania, analyzing the modalities of the new generation of sector program aid. He draws attention to the mechanisms of consultancy and the prominence these have acquired in policy formulation in recent years. , through acquired “ownership”) vis-à-vis the state, as this presumes a formal state unity that is not present. The idea of the state in African countries as a unitary sovereign authority entrusted with overseeing authority is at odds with empirical evidence.
But alternative “theories” must also be tested, for example that social fund projects are subject to elite capture. Fieldwork in four countries—Zambia, Malawi, Jamaica, and Nicaragua—revealed that subproject selection was usually dominated by a few influential persons and could not be seen as a unified AID RELATIONS, AID IMPACT AND POVERTY REDUCTION 23 expression of community will. Ordinary, poor people’s involvement was in the form of passively attending meetings and contributing labor. But the vast majority of beneficiaries were satisfied with the project outcomes.
In this introduction we have primarily dealt with alternatives to the dominant instrumental views on aid management and the associated planning, monitoring, and evaluation approaches such as logical framework. In particular we have outlined approaches to impact assessment and more thorough impact studies that focus on the complex societal development processes engendered by any development intervention. It is important that researchers, NGOs, and development practitioners with a critical mind continue to challenge the conventional wisdom and the powerful vested interests to which it is linked.