Does the way international assistance is organized make sense? Is it working as we mean it to? This book approaches these questions through the experiences of people living on the receiving side of international assistance. It reports on the ideas, insights, and analyses of almost 6,000 people across 20 countries where international aid has been provided. From such a range of locations and people, one might expect vastly different ideas and opinions. However, remarkably consistent patterns and common judgments emerged. In the midst of difference, there was striking unanimity and consistency about the processes and the effects of the international aid system. Using their words, their experiences, and their ideas, this book describes why the cumulative impacts of international aid efforts have not met expectations. It describes a way forward to make changes that, according to those on the receiving end, will lead to more effective and lasting results.
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Mary B. Anderson is the Founder and former Executive Director of CDA Collaborative Learning Projects. She began her international development career in 1961 in East Africa, in villages in Tanganyika (now Tanzania). Since then, she has worked in over 70 countries in the fields of education, local technology development, conflict analysis and peacebuilding. She is the author of numerous articles, programming documents, and several books, including Do No Harm: How Aid Can Support Peace-or War, Rising from the Ashes: Development Strategies in Times of Disaster, Getting it Right: Making Corporate-Community Relations Work, Confronting War: Critical Lessons for Peace Practitioners, and most recently Opting Out of War: Strategies to Prevent Violent Conflict. She retired from her position at CDA in 2009. Dayna Brown is the Director of The Listening Program at CDA Collaborative Learning Projects. She began her career in international development as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Kenya 20 years ago, and has worked in humanitarian and development programs with Mercy Corps, Habitat for Humanity and the US government. Dayna has lived and worked in Indonesia, Kenya, Kosovo, and Tanzania, and has undertaken short-term assignments in many other countries. Isabella Jean is the Director of Evaluation and Learning at CDA Collaborative Learning Projects. She led many of the field-based Listening Exercises and has worked with CDA’s Reflecting on Peace Practice and Do No Harm Programs. Isabella has also been involved with community development projects in the US and has conducted field research on peacebuilding and coexistence initiatives in a number of countries.
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