The purpose of this study is to go beyond typical project evaluations and single case studies and develop new research-based knowledge on the comparative impacts of aid on two crucial pillars of development – gender equality and food security.
Foto: Dan Banik
About the project
Even among the most ardent supporters of foreign aid, there is a recurring desire to ensure that disbursed funds are used efficiently and effectively to meet project and programme goals. Thus, we have witnessed, in recent years, a growing interest among aid agencies and consultants to monitor and evaluate what is often termed as “aid effectiveness”. The purpose of this study is to go beyond typical project evaluations and single case studies and develop new research-based knowledge on the comparative impacts of aid on two crucial pillars of development – gender equality and food security. Towards this goal, the study will contribute to a more knowledge-based Norwegian development policy based on an examination of development theories on the one hand, and development policy objectives, practices and effects on the other. The project thus adapts an integrated (theory-policy-practice) and interdisciplinary approach.
A large body of scholarly literature and evaluation reports on aid effectiveness is typically focused on the role of economic policies, often ignoring gender relations, rights-based approaches, political institutions and local factors. While undertaking a comparative study of the impact of selected projects and programmes funded by Norway and China in Malawi and Zambia in the past decade, we will pay close attention to local contextual factors and the processes by which policies are planned, adapted or modified and then implemented in practice. Towards this end, the use of a mixed methods approach, anchored in anthropology, human geography, political science and development studies, will be particularly useful. Following the Research Council’s programme document, we understand “impact” as “the extent to which development and poverty reduction has been achieved”. A related objective of the study is to contribute to a nuanced understanding of “attribution” in order to identify and explain the gendered impact of development assistance. Overall, the study will contribute to a better understanding of success factors and lessons learned in the process of implementing projects that promote gender equality and food security in particular, and development and poverty reduction in general.