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Title: The principles and reality of bilateral aid
Author: Jacobsgaard, Mette
ISNI:       0000 0004 7231 8712
Awarding Body: University of Cambridge
Current Institution: University of Cambridge
Date of Award: 2017
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This thesis explores how Danish aid policies have been implemented to support poverty alleviation through participatory approaches in bilateral aid. I have chosen to look at bilateral aid, in particular Danish bilateral development assistance to India during a specific period: the mid-1980s to mid-1990s. The reasons for this are threefold: firstly, I was posted to the Danish Embassy in New Delhi during that time and had direct and detailed experience of the projects I have used as my case studies. Secondly, the period represents a time when the Danish aid agency, Danida, posted advisers who could potentially influence the participatory approaches used in the projects. Finally, although aid policies have changed over the years, many of the principles guiding the policies, and in particular the mechanisms driving the delivery of aid, remain the same – bilateral (and multilateral) aid is delivered through bureaucracies with the purpose of improving conditions for people in recipient countries. The thesis looks at the purpose and character of the ideal bureaucracy, as perceived by Max Weber, as a benchmark for the development and variations in Danish and Indian bureaucracies during the decade in question. I show that differences between the bureaucracies are influenced by the differences in the history and cultural traditions of Denmark and India. This influences the relationship in the implementation of bilateral development aid in this period, as in any other. I consider the functions of the bureaucracy with respect to policy, planning, and implementation of development aid, and how these functions differ in Denmark and India. Participation is at the centre of this thesis; therefore the thesis looks at the history of participation and the aspiration to participate in development aid. I have chosen to work with two main interpretations of participation: empowering participation and instrumental participation. I find that the Danish aid policy leans toward empowering participation, while in practice instrumental participation is used in the implementation of the aid. Despite a vast literature on participation, I find that participation as a concept is ambiguous. In considering the relationship between participation and bureaucracy, I find that it is not an easy one. I show that there are fundamental and paradigmatic incompatibilities if participation is meant to empower the groups targeted for aid. The theories of bureaucracy and participation are tested against the actual progress of four Danish-supported water and sanitation projects in four different Indian states. While describing events in the projects as they unfolded, I bear in mind a number of questions relating to interpretation of policies and variations in the same; how the Danish and Indian bureaucracies influenced and controlled the implementation of aid; relationships with local power structures; and finally, about the accomplishments of the projects. The questions are further analysed and answered in the concluding chapter of the thesis.
Supervisor: Myall, James Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: development ; aid ; bilateral