International Aid and the Making of a Better World
To Be Published January 31st 2014 by Routledge – 192 pages
To Be Published January 31st 2014 by Routledge – 192 pages
The testing question for international development aid is how to support positive change and help prevent that which is bad. Rosalind Eyben, scholar-activist and lifelong development practitioner, seeks to answer that question through a vivid insight into the world of aid – its people, ideas and values. Inter-weaving auto-ethnographic narrative into a broader historical analysis of the contested ideals and politics of aid operations from the 1960s to the present day, she critically examines her own behaviour to illustrate the ironies and unintended consequences of aid practice.
Eyben discusses what happens when we try to improve people’s lives in far-away countries and warns how self-deception may construct obstacles to the very change desired. Eyben considers the challenge to traditional aid practices posed by new donors like Brazil, China and India who speak of history, culture and relationships. She argues that to help make this a better world, individuals and organisations – whether they are long-standing donors or from the emerging powers – must respond self-critically to the dilemmas of power and knowledge that shape aid’s messy relations, and should learn the habit of regularly reflecting on their own practice.
Written in an accessible way with vignettes, stories and dialogue, this critical history of aid provides practical tools and methodology for development practitioners, and students and researchers in development studies, anthropology and international studies to adopt the habit of reflexivity when helping to make a better world.
'This book breaks new ground by presenting a powerful and persuasive experience-based statement of the case for recognising communication and its evaluation as central to good development practice and social change. It hits many nails on the head, and draws on many sources and insights. Contriving to do this clearly and coherently is a tour de force. By skilfully drawing together and interweaving the threads and themes of complexity, participation, emergence and holism, and combining these in an approach that is critical, realistic and learning-based, the authors serve the development community well. They present a coherent and comprehensive alternative to the currently dominant approach of donors, adding impetus and credibility to the big push forward to more grounded, cost-effective and sustainable development practice.' – Robert Chambers, Institute of Development Studies, University of Sussex, UK
'We are told so often that communication for development cannot be evaluated, meaning: crops or cell phones are much easier to count. We’ve heard so much about the lack of indicators to measure processes of social change. By experience we know how hard it is for development managers to understand the role of communication as a participatory process and not as institutional visibility or information dissemination. Now, with this book, those who are reluctant to accept the role of communication in development and social change will lack good arguments. It presents a comprehensive framework for understanding how C4D can be evaluated and why it is indispensable for long-term sustainable development. This book is an extraordinary contribution to understandingC4D, not only from the evaluation perspective. It was so much needed.' – Alfonso Gumucio-Dagron, Communication Specialist, Bolivia
'This work valuably weaves together insights from years of experience with emerging trends in related fields, including complexity and systems thinking, to propose a practical framework for evaluating communication for development. It is an indispensable, accessible and much needed contribution, to guide evaluation practice in communication for development contexts and beyond.' – Ailish Byrne, Evaluator and Learning & Development Specialist, UNICEF Somalia
'This is a must read for both academics and professionals in the field of communication for development. For scholars, to understand the real problems in the real world. For practitioners, to learn that muddling through has never been a viable way to sustainable social change.' – Jan Servaes, UNESCO Chair in Communication for Sustainable Social Change
'The authors provide an excellent and accessible framework for a systemic, participatory learning approach to evaluation that fully takes into account the challenges of power and positionality in development programming. This book should be essential reading for busy reflexive practitioners working to support processes of social transformation.' –Rosalind Eyben, Convenor of the Big Push Forward http://bigpushforward.net, and Research fellow, Institute of Development Studies, University of Sussex, UK
'Lennie and Tacchi have written a much-needed, readable and original book, packed with conceptual insights and practical examples. They show the maturation of participatory methodologies in the field of communication and social change, and convincingly demonstrate the implications of recent theoretical debates and conceptual developments for assessing program impact. The analysis shows the authors' breath of practical experience, and nuanced combination of theory and methodology. The book is a trove of ideas for research and practice.' – Silvio Waisbord, The George Washington University, USA
1. Making Change Happen 2. Histories and Biographies 3. Doing Development 4. At Home in Aidland 5. Can Aid be Transformative? 6. The Politics of Policy Engagement 7. Relationships and Results in a Multi-Polar World 8. The Reflexive Aid Practioner
Dr Rosalind Eyben is a Research Fellow at the Institute of Development Studies, UK. She is a social anthropologist with a professional background in development policy and practice. In 2010 she launched the Big Push Forward initiative that has created an international network challenging the current audit culture in international development. She was awarded a CBE in 2000 and is a Board Member of UNRISD and Action Aid UK.