Translating Participatory Theory Into Practice: Insights From Honduras On Relationships Between International Aid Organizations, Communities, And The Government Within The Setting Of Disaster Related Projects

University essay from Lunds universitet/LUMID International Master programme in applied International Development and Management

Abstract: As foreign aid money is continually spent in developing countries, it is incumbent that international aid organizations work towards improving the effectiveness of their projects. In the setting and context of disaster risk reduction and disaster recovery projects, this thesis aims to understand how foreign aid organizations can make Honduran communities less dependent on foreign aid through specific aspects of their relationships with communities and the local government. This research was done with a qualitative research design where ten international aid organizations were interviewed about community participation and working with the government. A framework and theory of participatory development was used to analyze the findings and the research was conducted through the perspective of the organizations. This thesis found that many organizations blur the lines between the ‘community’ and ‘local government leaders’, and participation is all too often used as a cosmetic label where communities ‘participate’ through contributing physically. Recommendations for international aid organizations include: making it clear internally who the organizations want to benefit, having an honest dialogue with the community without the presence of the government, being clear about the level of participation the organizations want in the project, and fund projects pre-identified by the community themselves.

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