Governance and management in international aid projects
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The concept of Official Development Assistance (ODA) was put forward to modernise the economies of the underdeveloped countries in the late 1940s through financial and technical assistance. Over the years, its scope has been extended to promote democracy, freedom of speech, and human rights. At the start of this century, ODA was endorsed as an important tool to achieve the objectives of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). With this, issues regarding aid harmonisation and aid effectiveness have taken central stage raising questions about how to improve aid delivery in the presence of old and new multiple donors, multiple recipients and multiple policy objectives. Given this context, this study explores questions of aid harmonization, aid effectiveness and governance in Pakistan. Specifically, this study examines how people in one aid-recipient country, Pakistan, see the issue of aid and governance. In order to investigate these issues, this project focuses on the experiences, perceptions and attitudes of nine primary school teachers who were trained as part of the Educational Sector Reform Assistance (ESRA) project funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). This exploratory research project used the qualitative descriptive approach methodology from the perspective of the postpositive paradigm. Participants were selected through purposive sampling. The data was collected through semi-structured, in-depth interviews. The research design was non-emergent. Thus, the data was collected, analysed, and findings were reported in a descriptive fashion. The results of this study show that while participants recognised benefits of the training they did not see themselves as the owners of it. For them, the training was forced onto them and they did not take any responsibility for implementing what they learned during the training in the absence of a proper monitoring system. This study found that consultation or a grassroots approach in contrast to a top-down approach could increase a sense of ownership in the people of aid recipient countries and make foreign aid projects more successful.