The impact of divergent interest in an aided project process: the case of Swedish-Aided Folk Development Colleges in Tanzania

No Thumbnail Available
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
University of Dar es Salaam
This study explores how divergent interests influence the aid process with reference to Swedish-supported Folk Development Colleges (FDCs). The main research focus explores how the project process is a result of conflicts and compromises of the major actors in the aid process. Such conflicts and compromises do shape the very definition of the problem to be supported, the theoretical and operational objectives and determine to a large extent the form and content of the package although aid remains one among the most researched and published fields in the discipline of political science, little has been done to systematically explore how various divergent interests shape the very aid process. The literature which analyses the power relationship in the aid process for instance, tends to over-emphasise the unequal power relationship between donor and recipient governments. It tends to assume that the donor through the power of the purse, automatically sets the tune which the recipients dance to. This literature does not explain why donor interests are not always realised in the aid process. Such literature, moreover, ignores the actual and potential power which the target population has had in shaping the aid process. This study takes a critical review of the traditional power approach in the analysis of the aid process. My personal location and experiences have shaped the identification of the research problem which is being investigated, have shaped the theoretical position and to some extent the research tools employed This is a methodological departure from studies which tend to isolate the individual from the process of research. This study contributes to the research methodologies. The interdependence approach which has been adopted makes it possible to focus on the mechanisms and processes which shape the project outcome. This is a point of departure from the very many studies which have essentially focused on mere outcomes. In this way, the study has made a modest contribution to the " engineering of designed results rather than merely explaining the outcome ". The empirical findings and particularly the focus on the actual and potential power which the target population had in this particular project, challenges the traditional theories of power and conflict which tend to reduce the target population to passive and helpless victims who are manipulated by donor and recipient governments for interests external to them. This is a challenge to the aid practitioners and particularly those who are interested in supporting local initiatives for empowerment. The study raises some questions which are intended to motivate other scholars and aid practitioners to further pursue similar studies in this field of study. The Organisation of the Study. Chapter one discusses the background to the study. The choice of the problem area has resulted from the personal experiences and particularly the experience with the ' aid` process as evidenced in the scholarship and grant which facilitated my schooling. Chapter two summarises debates about aid and two theoretical positions are critically discussed. The study rejects the modernisation paradigm for its failure to merge theory and practice. While conflict theories and particularly the dependence perspectives have been a source of inspiration to this study, the study challenges the mechanical approach taken by most scholars in this paradigm. The chapter posits that there are gains and losses in the aid process because the very process results from conflicting interests and compromises. The FDC project and indeed the folk philosophy originates from complex processes with divergent interests, Chapter three explores the origin of the philosophy and institutions. It compares the philosophy of Grundtvig, the founder and chief architect of the philisophy and that of Nyerere, who was essentially instrumental for its incorporation in the Tanzanian context. The FDC project.resulted from a bilateral agreement between two states, namely, Sweden, the donor and Tanzania, the recipient. Each of the parties had its own interests which are examined in chapter four. Although the expected beneficiaries did not feature in the preliminary processes leading to the creation of the FDCs, the two principal actors defined the target population roles in a manner that the latter has had same significant impart on the project process. Chapter five examines the impart of the target population on the project process. A summary of major findings and conclusions arrived at in the course of this study is provided in chapter six, which also includes some recommendations. The conclusions underscore the transformative potential which the target population has in their own favour. It calls for progressive forces in the donor states to forge supportive mechanisms which will mutually benefit both parties.
Available in print form, East Africana Collection, Dr. Wilbert Chagula Library, Class mark (THS EAF HC885.M4)
Economic assistance, International economic assistance, Folk high schools, Tanzania
Meena, R (1995)The impact of divergent interest in an aided project process: the case of Swedish-Aided Folk Development Colleges in Tanzania, Master dissertation, University of Dar es Salaam. Dar es Salaam