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Introduction : practitioner-led research in Africa

Document type: report
Download file(s): 115617 (183 KB)
Abstract: In this introductory paper to a ‘box’ of research papers on decentralization in Africa an attempt is made at answering the question whether the carrying out of the research contributed to a change in the relationship between SNV advisers and the local organizations, whose capacity they are aiming to build (their ‘clients’)? Such a change can be brought about, if the asymmetry in the relationship is acknowledged (thus paving the way for mutual learning) and if there is a search for the ”drivers of change‘ (which can guide the transformation process). The research papers reviewed do not appear to go very far in answering the question on the drivers for change within the society they study. It can be argued, that the question is largely a political one, i.e. that it is the African system of politics that is inimical to the type of development currently promoted. Development interventions are more conventionally seen as technically defined and politically neutral. From the research reviewed, it is clear that SNV has moved closer to politics with the foci of research including transparency and accountability and women in leadership. Yet, more fundamental political questions are not addressed. Presumably the contradiction noted by Ferguson (1990: 226) still applies: “To do what it is set up to do (bring about socio-economic transformations), a ‘development’ project must attempt what it is set up not to be able to do (involve itself in political struggles)”.
Authors: Klinken, R. van , Prinsen, G. , Slootweg, S.
Series Title: SNV publications
Category: Research
Serial number: H0702-00
Keywords: decentralization , aid programmes , political conditions
Language: eng
Organization: SNV - Netherlands Development Organisation
PAGE: 24
Place: The Hague
Publisher: SNV Netherlands Development Organisation
Year: 2007
Region: Africa South of Sahara
Right: © 2007 SNV
Subject: Development Cooperation General
Title: Introduction : practitioner-led research in Africa