MRP/MRT Projects

Lake Atitlan, Guatemala (2014)

Lake Atitlan, Guatemala (2014)


Our students have conducted exciting research in a variety of areas over the years.

MRP / Thesis Abstracts

Baba, Asuman

The Role Of Turkish ODA In International Development Assistance

The global aid architecture is rapidly changing due in part to the emergence of new aid providers. The development co-operation landscape is becoming more complex and diverse with new approaches and attempts introduced by emerging actors. In the past ten years, Turkey increased its development assistance and demonstrated its ambition to become more active in promoting global development. Given such changes, the main objective of this research paper is to understand the role of Turkey in development cooperation. It aims to examine the reasons why Turkey is becoming increasingly involved in development assistance programs. In particular, it seeks to know if Turkey is emerging as a distinct donor that has interest in changing the global aid architecture. The study finds that Turkish development assistance is an integral aspect of its new foreign policy as the country aims to restore its past imperial image through its development assistance programs.

Chawla, Satyam

Friends With Benefits:  Chinese Development Finance In Zambia

Over the past decade, China has solidified its role as a development financier. However, to date there remains a gap in the understanding of Chinese finance, its methodology and the extent of its funding to Africa.  This Major Research Paper (MRP) analyzes Chinese finance in Africa with a particular focus on Zambia.  First, it distinguishes between finance and aid - a concept often misconstrued in literature.  Rather than focusing solely on the amount of finance China is providing to Zambia, this paper places emphasis on Zambia’s attraction to this finance vis-à-vis traditional donor and international financial institutional (IFIs) aid.  Through case studies, the types of finance available and the associated risks are also identified and examined.  During the course of my research, it was established that although Chinese finance is useful and attractive to the Republic of Zambia, it is mainly focused on infrastructure development as opposed to social and political development.  Thus it remains complimentary to traditional sources of finance.  Additionally, although existing literature suggests that China provides finance in Africa in exchange for resources, the Zambian case suggests otherwise

Jaafar Dirie

Development Cooperation in Somaliland: Working in a Precarious State

Development discourse frequently limits development cooperation within the boundaries of nation-states, yet this must be redressed as many countries in Africa are experiencing political instability and fragility. This paper is a case study on Somaliland, an internationally unrecognized state, founded in 1991 following the collapse of the federal government in Somalia.

The purpose of this Major Research Paper is to illustrate how development cooperation currently exists in Somaliland and how the government of Somaliland has managed to navigate its particularly precarious unrecognized status, while pursuing its development agenda with local and international stakeholders. Three core themes are addressed in this study to illustrate how development cooperation has been established in Somaliland. The first is the country’s domestic and grassroots success in nation-state building, using both traditional and modern forms of governance. Secondly, Somaliland’s development agenda and its implementation will be addressed. Lastly, the creation of a unique approach to development cooperation that takes place outside the conventional partnerships between recognized nation-states and development stakeholder.

Earle, Janice

Finding Opportunities for Sustainable Growth:  Women and Youth BPO Workers in Jamaica

Women and youth workers are the backbone of the business process outsourcing industry in Jamaica.  It is an industry driven by the pre-eminence of the market and transnationalism that is very much a feature of globalisation.  Those elements are the greatest influencers on working conditions within the industry and are determinants on how countries engage in the global economy.  Therefore, an understanding of the factors that support or hinder workers’ ability to establish economic stability through BPOs is critical if the industry is to be seen as part of the strategy to improve their living conditions and that of their families.  Given Jamaica’s fragile economy, proponents of the industry see the expansion of export services as a strategy to improve the economy and as a result, have been promoting information processing as a tool to generate growth.  While the industry holds some promise, policymakers cannot ignore the inherent challenges and should therefore, ensure that gender equality and youth concerns form a significant part of these discussions.

Haque, Sarah

A Study on Freedom of the Press and Human Development in Bangladesh

This paper contends that politicisation and corporatisation of press in Bangladesh have negatively affected its ability to perform its core functions of providing accurate information and offering a forum for diverse opinions and perspectives.  As a result, press failed to contribute to build an effective and transparent public sphere and in consequence it was ineffective in fostering the country’s human development.  In making the argument this paper resorts to Amartya Sen’s philosophy on human development in terms of Capability approach and Edward’s premise on public sphere.

Harrott, Janine

Religion, Spirituality, and Maternal Health Seeking Behaviours Cape Coast, Ghana:  A Case Study

How relevant are religion and spirituality to maternal health seeking behaviours in Cape Coast, Ghana?  This is the primary question that will be addressed in this paper.  It seeks to establish whether or not there is a connection between pregnant women’s religious and spiritual beliefs and their decision-making with regard to prenatal care, labour, and childbirth.  The study focuses on the experiences of women in Cape Coast, which is in the Central region of Ghana.  This paper seeks to problematize the idea that religion and what has been called “traditional spiritual belief” exist as two separate belief systems.  Instead, I argue that these so-called “traditional” beliefs intersect and combine with Christian beliefs, and vice versa, in resulting in belief systems that incorporate both God and the ‘smaller gods’, and that this concept has significant bearing on the topic of maternal health seeking behaviours.  It is important to understand the nature of belief systems in the Ghanaian context, and to understand the contribution of what I will term both religion and spirituality to maternal health seeking behaviours.  Findings indicate that religion and spirituality, conceived of here as a conceptual whole, have  direct influence on maternal health seeking behaviours in Cape Coast, particularly with regard to the behaviours and decisions made during pregnancy, as well as the choice of where, and with whom, to deliver.

Kattan, Ban

Serving your guests: Capacity Building Among Local Refugee-serving NGOs in Jordan

With hundreds of thousands escaping armed conflict in Syria, the neighbouring Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan is currently experiencing the largest presence of refugees on its land to date. United Nations organizations and international NGOs are actively operating in Jordan to respond to the Syrian crisis until their finite resources are called upon to address situations in other parts of the world. Here, the local government and NGOs are called upon to step up and fill the gap created by the absence of international aid. However, despite seven decades of experience hosting refugees from the region, local civil society still takes a back seat in meeting the needs of displaced populations seeking refuge in Jordan.

My research explores the position of local NGOs in the aid sector in Jordan today and their development needs. It focuses on knowledge transfer as means of capacity building via partnerships between local and international NGOs in the field. The research goes on to highlight other factors that present challenges to building the capacity of local non-profit organizations such as conditional aid, NGO corporate sociology, and government support. It concludes by offering recommendations for overcoming obstacles to empowering NGOs in the local Jordanian context in order to promote the growth of a democratized, empowered civil society in the Kingdom.

Khan, Adrian

From the Peaks and Back: Exploring the Educational Journeys of Trans-Himalayan Students in Kathmandu, Nepal

In a rapidly modernizing Nepal where urbanization is on the rise, families in rural areas participate by sending their children to urban schools, vast distances from home. Children/youth who have migrated to Kathmandu from Trans-Himalayan regions of Nepal, who experience interconnected and multidimensional conditions of poverty are the focus of this study. The journey these students undertake to Kathmandu span thousands of kilometres and often results in long-term (multi-year) family separation. The children in this study who migrated were between the ages of 4-10 and did not return for several years, with very minimal and/or no contact with family during this period of family separation. This thesis explores and chronicles the journeys taken and rationales for such acute family migration experiences; educational integration of Himalayan students into boarding school residency in Kathmandu; and emotional articulations of return visits back to their remote villages.

Kim, Jessica

“Education Helps Girls Stop Being Traditionalists”: Negotiating Gender Identity in Contradictory Discursive Environments

Girls’ education in developing countries has been narrowly framed in global discourses, particularly in terms of access and potential for economic growth. This study contests the prevailing overemphasis on the economic gains of girls’ schooling, and situates girls’ lived experiences of education in Nairobi, Kenya’s schooling environment. The qualitative study seeks an understanding of how girls’ education discourses are interpreted, globally and locally, and how these interpretations are drawn upon, distilled, and navigated by girls themselves. Interviews with secondary school students in Nairobi revealed that the participants were compelled to negotiate and accommodate conflicting demands regarding appropriate gender roles, which had harmful effects on their experiences of schooling. The participants were revealed to be embedded in contradictory discursive environments, which stretched them in multiple directions – encouraging them with hopes of endless possibilities through education, while limiting those very possibilities by disciplining their attitudes and beliefs within the school.

Kim, Ki Hwan

A Focus on Anti-Trafficking and Related Policies in Thailand:  The Findings and the Influences During the 2014 Coup D’ẻtat

Past studies critiqued the Thai government for its lack of adequate results and improvement in their anti-trafficking efforts despite their formal agreement to comply with UNODC’s Protocols to trafficking in persons. Due to circumstances, this research primarily focuses on answering why there is an implementation gap in Thailand’s anti-trafficking policies. This research collected data by conducting participant observation to collect relevant information during the on-going coup d’état; policy analysis on all Thai policies relevant to anti-trafficking; and semi-structured interviews with participants from various NGOs. The findings of this research reveals that at a policy level, Thailand sufficiently shows compliance with UNODC’s Protocols. However, at a practical level, there is a significant implementation gap of these policies. There is certainly a pattern revealing the importance of Thailand’s reputational status between its neighbouring countries and to their international audience.

Liverpool, Kizel

Marginalization, Violence and Intra-Urban Displacement:  A comparative case study of La Loma and Moravia in Medellin, Colombia

This Major Research Paper discusses the relationship between internal displacement and marginalization in Medellin, Colombia. It examines whether internal displacement increases a person’s/group’s marginality, which in turn may increase their chances of being displaced in the future. It also explores what role the state plays in the lives of those facing these conditions and whether those who are marginalized by displacement possess agency to break this cycle. This research explores and responds to these questions by reviewing data collected using qualitative research methods (i.e. semi-structured interviews and participant observation) over a 14-week period from two communities – La Loma and Moravia – in Medellín. Both communities differ from each other in terms of culture, history, and ethnic/racial demographics, yet they have both experienced, or are currently experiencing, intra-urban displacement--internal displacement that occurs within urban spaces, whose victims resettle within the same municipality from which they were evicted. The findings from this study indicate that not only both communities were extremely marginalized before they were displaced due to poverty, race/ethnic inequalities and unfavourable/distant geographic location, but that their marginalization increased after their displacement. Moreover, following displacement the communities were more vulnerable to violence and more susceptible to future displacement. The communities however were not without power, even if it was modest, to affect and possibly change their circumstances. The communities were able to use social capital as way of gaining political and social leverage in order to see their needs and aspirations met. In addition, the findings showed that the municipality’s role in the communities was often contradictory and its actions were perceived by community members as responding to the strategic interests and urban development plans of the state rather than the interests of the people in the communities.

Lo, Michelle

Normalizing the Abnormal or Abnormalizing the Normal?  Locating Taiwan in Today’s Global Aid Architecture

Despite decades of providing international development aid, Taiwan’s image as an aid provider has often been overshadowed by its infamous use of ‘dollar diplomacy’ and its unrelenting pursuit of sovereignty. Yet in 2008 with the Ma administration’s “viable diplomacy” policy and the proposed diplomatic truce to cease cross-strait aid rivalry, one comes to question its implications on Taiwan’s aid programs and how Taiwan as a donor figures in the current global aid regime. Using updated literature as well as primary data and insights collected through interviews with government officials, ex-officials and experts on Taiwan’s development assistance, Taiwan’s present aid approach was found to be neither “North” nor “South”. While at the level of discourse it mimicked the North in striving for “normality” in the international community, in practice however, its past aid traditions were largely maintained. Although Taiwan’s “normalcy” is undermined by its abnormal circumstances, namely its contested sovereignty and the ongoing cross-strait tensions, like other “normal” countries, it relies on a myriad of aid strategies to engage in the current global order.

Rappaport, Joanne

Determinants of Health: The Role of Small Non-Governmental Organisations in The Delivery of Maternal Health Care Services in Highland Guatemala

Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) are the main providers of health care in rural Guatemala and offer a viable alternative to state services. Examining how small NGOs fit into this complex health system and how and what they offer in terms of health care services is the focus of this study. Twenty-two interviews with NGO and public health care staff, midwives and mothers were conducted in Highland Guatemala and the collected data compared and contrasted contracted and independent NGO approaches to maternal health care. The findings of this study reveal that small health NGOs play an important role performing the responsibilities of the state and often offer the only health care available to rural communities. Contracted NGOs offer a minimum of health services in areas that the state and independent NGOs are unable to access and mothers will travel to independent NGOs for fast, quality, respectful and affordable health care.

Siddiqi, Rudaina

Participation, Community, and Self-Help: Buzzwords or Tools for Social Power? A Case Study of “Khuda Ki Basti” In Pakistan

Participation, community driven development, and self-help are terms frequently used in development theory and practice, which imply local and grassroots alternatives for human development. However, their meanings and implications for human development are often vague and context-dependent. This Major Research Paper (MRP) will explore the meaning of these three terms in the context of a local initiative called, “Khuda ki Basti” (KKB), a housing project initiated by a local non-governmental organisation (NGO) in Pakistan called Saiban. How these concepts are currently manifested at KKB and how they impact the agency of the beneficiaries are explored in this study. The main goal is to carefully examine the purpose of the usage of these three terminologies. Are they becoming buzzwords or can these concepts be used as tools to promote human development in a way that transforms the current power structures, and help the beneficiaries of KKB to challenge the status quo?

Ali-Mohammed, Sanaa

Women’s Higher Education in Saudi Arabia and Gender In/equality: Tensions, Contestations and Relationships

While Saudi women continue to graduate from post-secondary institutions in Saudi Arabia and abroad in ever increasing numbers, the reported state of gender inequality in the country according to institutions such as the UNDP remains inexplicably high. This study attempts to understand why this is the case by critically examining the relationships between post-secondary education and gender inequality in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. It does this by attempting to understand the perceptions and experiences of Saudi female university students and recent graduates of gender inequality. It also explores the responses of these women to the presence or absence of gender inequality they experience in the city. This is accomplished by investigating the perceptions and experiences of women from two perspectives. The first is a critique of Amartya Sen’s capability approach, known as the social power approach to human development. This approach holds that the ultimate purpose of development processes is social justice, not human development. Gender justice through reduction in gender inequalities constitutes one form of social justice, and the possibility of its achievement through women’s higher education is examined through this work. The second perspective is a critical faith centred framework, which creates space for understanding the agency of women of faith within anti-racist discourse. In this research, this framework allows one to understand the responses of Muslim women living in a highly Islamised context to gender inequality experienced and/or perceived.

Keywords: Gender (in) equality, Saudi Arabia, social power, higher education

Arnold, Keresa

Power, Gender and HIV: How Behaviour Change Communication Facilitates Garifuna Women’s Use of Condoms for HIV Prevention in Dangriga, Belize

Behaviour change communication (BCC) is a crucial aspect of HIV prevention, especially as it aims to modify specific behaviours that contribute to HIV vulnerability. In this study, I explore the role of BCC in how Garifuna women use condom for HIV prevention in Dangriga, Belize. I focus specifically on BCC strategies adopted in Belize, the role of women’s empowerment and agency in condom use, knowledge of HIV and condoms, as well as the main barriers to condom use. I conclude that among the Garifuna population in Dangriga, behaviour change interventions have proven beneficial in educating women and men about HIV, increasing women’s empowerment and agency, as well as influencing increased use of condom. However, there is inconsistent translation of that information/education into knowledge for social change. Despite Garifuna populations having high levels of condom knowledge, this does not always result in practical use in relationships. This inconsistent use, however, goes beyond the personal level and must be understood within the broader political, social and economic structures that impact on the ability of target populations to successfully adopt condom negotiating behaviour.

Castilla, Myriam

Breaking Poverty Traps with Band-Aid Solutions:  The Impacts of Conditional Cash Transfers in Columbia

There are positive results on Conditional Cash Transfer’s (CCTs) outputs and outcomes, as stated in the quantitative and qualitative assessments completed.  Nonetheless, CCTs´ effectiveness in human capital building, poverty reduction and inequality have not been properly evaluated. An independent theory-based evaluation of Colombia’s CCT was conducted to assess its efficacy and effectiveness. CCT´s theory was designed to guide this evaluation. The study found that the initial assumptions for this program were misleading, and the expected impacts on poverty and inequality reduction were not achieved and will not be achieved if the set conditions remain the same. Furthermore, the study found that CCTs do not break the vicious cycle of intergenerational poverty. Reasons for implementing and expanding CCTs could have been influenced by socio-political benefits. Regardless of these findings, subsidies without conditionalities are required to satisfy the basic needs of the poorest populations since the labour market cannot generate enough employment.

De Boer, Joella

The other side of gender: Understanding how gender roles affect male restavẽks in Port-au-Prince, Haiti

This research explores the significance of a gender-focus in targeting child labour in domestic work. As manifested in research and support services, the tendency is to almost exclusively focus on strategies tailored for females and their concerns. This case-study in Haiti attempts to fill the gap by expanding the analysis of the victim of child labour in domestic work and recognizing the different experiences and needs of male and female victims. The purpose is not to detract from girls, who are clearly at a higher risk of exploitation and abuse, but to recognize that boys are affected too. By focusing on the agency of males, their perception as victims and survivors is often veiled. Thus, there is a great deal of need to reflect on how prevailing gender norms affect both males and females. In this light, this research aims to critically examine the relationship between gender and child labour in domestic work in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. In particular, it critically examines the social constructs of males and females in Haiti in order to explore how this affects the experiences, risks and consequences of child labour in domestic work. Additionally, it explores the theoretical and practical implications of child labour in domestic work for policies and programs. The case-study in Haiti clearly illustrates how the experiences and impacts of exploitation for both males and females are influenced differently by the social expectations which shape their identity. The findings of this study are meant to suggest that the particular forms of gender analysis are one-sided and require further inquiry into the experiences and needs of boys than is currently given by international institutions and policy-makers. Additionally, these insights into the experiences and consequences of child labour in domestic for boys can contribute to the formation of gender-focused tools, programs and strategies for children labourers in domestic work.

Donald, Heather

Preparing for Uncertainty: Exploring Access to Higher Education in Dzaleka Refugee Camp, Malawi

Against a backdrop of increasingly protracted refugee situations worldwide and on the continent of Africa in particular, education is imperative to facilitate the ability of displaced persons to voice their concerns and ambitions. Drawing on fieldwork carried out in Dzaleka Refugee camp in Malawi during Summer 2013, this thesis adopts an Afro-centered approach to studying the relationship between education and development. Utilizing oral histories and interviews, it explores educational access, the displacement of young people and their desire for higher education. This desire is linked to first, a self-realization that is expressed as control over their lives in a context of heightened uncertainty and second, an increased potential to contribute to the current betterment of their own and their families’ lives. Despite increasingly protracted situations for refugees and mixed migrants in Malawi, it is extremely difficult to find cartographic evidence of Dzaleka’s existence amongst other documentation of forced migration in the region. This thesis works collaboratively with refugee youth narrators to bring visibility to the place they live. Moreover, this work contributes to the view that those described as refugees in protracted refugee situations can contribute to a discursive and structural shift by ‘self-authoring’ their own development. Access to higher education is recognized as one of the key ways to enable and support this shift.

Ellis, Everton

A Critical Gaze at Male Underachievement in Two High Schools in Rural Jamaica

Since the 1990s, studies on gender differential education have placed a huge emphasis on the recurring problem of boys being outperformed by girls. Using data obtained in a qualitative study conducted at two high schools in Manchester, Jamaica, this paper seeks to critically examine the gendered relationship between boys’ underachievement and the educational policies. Using combination of the masculinity and intersectional frameworks as well as a discourse analysis of  neoliberalism, this paper argues that boys underachievement transpire in the complexities of gender in relation to patriarchy, region (rural area), class, culture, institutional and governmental along with socio-economic factors. The paper highlights the problematic issues relating to the use of the rote pedagogy and Jamaican state’s scant attention to the boys’ underachievement.  The paper then proceeds to suggests working policy interventions to resolve boys’ underachievement and bring about human development.

Keywords: Jamaica; Boys’ Underachievement; Secondary Education; Gender Intersectionality; Neoliberal Discourse

Firempong, Jesse

Disciplining South-South Cooperation:  The Case of Ghana-Brazil Trilateral Cooperation in Social Protection

Rising powers from the Global South such as Brazil, China, and India are intensifying their development cooperation with African countries. Yet, despite recent interest in the foreign policy implications for rising powers, scholars have neglected the processes and outcomes of these emerging relations from the perspectives of African countries. Consequently, a significant narrative is omitted from the discourse on South-South cooperation. This critical case analyses three Ghanaian social protection programmes created in collaboration with Brazilian policymakers and multilateral donors: the Livelihoods Empowerment against Poverty (cash transfers), Homegrown School Feeding, and Purchase for Progress (local procurement). The study draws on data collected from semi-structured interviews, participant observation, an analysis of social artifacts, and existing scholarly literature. Findings showed emerging complementarities between social protection interventions and increased domestic support for rights-based approaches to poverty reduction. However, decision-making power and epistemic privilege remain highly concentrated in the hands of multilateral donors, circumscribing and disciplining South-South cooperation.

Hoffman, Kristy

SAWP: Lost in Translation. The Official Contract Versus Civil Society Organizations’ Language Training to Protect Migrant Farm Workers in Southern Ontario

Focusing on Canada’s “best practice” program on labour migration, the Seasonal Agricultural Workers Program, this paper will critically analyze and deconstruct the official employment contract and uncover the human rights violations that are institutionalized within the program. It will prove that the bilateral agreement and official contract between Canada and Mexico is inadequate in protecting the rights of temporary migrant workers in Canada. On the contrary, the agreement institutionalizes structural barriers, one of which includes restricting their language acquisition, which severely limits Mexican workers’ ability to access and/or protect their rights. Further, this paper will examine the role language plays in compounding the structural barriers plaguing the experiences Mexican migrant workers in Canada. Lastly, I argue that civil society organizations can play a critical role in providing the kind of support, empowerment, and education that could transform the capacity of migrant workers to demand and protect their rights in Canada.

Huq, Nusrat

Can Social Business Promote Development? A Case Study of Grameen Danone Food Ltd. in Bangladesh

My research explores how social business affects the conditions in Bangladesh. It undertakes a qualitative approach and adopts a case study method to investigate a market-based for-profit organization working towards addressing social problems within the context of a developing country. A case study was carried out on Grameen Danone Foods Limited (GDF), a social business in Bangladesh. GDF is a social business with the aim to provide an affordable and easily available dairy product developed to fulfill the nutritional needs of Bangladeshi children. The paper examines how GDF interacts with its stakeholders who are socially and economically vulnerable. It seeks to understand how its relationship has developed and how it has influenced and shaped the economic and social position of these marginal stakeholders and, in turn, support poverty reduction. It also examines the challenges faced by a social business working in a rural area in Bangladesh. The study found that the marginal stakeholders do benefit from their relationship with GDF: improvements in interpersonal and marketing skills, livestock management know-how, and increase in additional income. However, the women participants remain in a precarious position ─ no job security, which needs to be addressed. In addition, social business models require longer time to become sustainable. Therefore, it is very important to manage expectations among its internal staff and external partners.

Keywords: Social business, social enterprise, social development, economic development, stakeholder, Bangladesh

Kamel, Samiha

Economic Crisis and Migration: Syrian Asylum Seekers in Athens

As a signatory of the 1951 UNHCR Convention for Human Rights, Greece has committed to recognizing asylum-seekers and upholding their rights as specified under that Convention. But the 2008 economic crisis has put considerable stress on the Greek state and local population, with devastating effects on asylum seekers in Greece. This paper engages with the ways by which the economic crisis in the Eurozone and resulting austerity measures have limited the ability of the Greek government to provide care and safety to its asylum-seekers. Through its inability to maintain and protect the human rights of those seeking protection overseas, Greece has been deficient in addressing the humanitarian needs of its asylum seekers, shirking its responsibilities towards refugees under international law.

March, Azia

Rethinking Health: A Case Study of the Mymensingh Brothel in Bangladesh

Globally, sex workers are targeted for development intervention. Primarily this intervention revolves around the prevention, and spread of HIV/AIDs that is a part of, or encompasses reproductive health programs. This study argues that although NGOs have an important role in providing health care services to sex workers, the scope of health-related development programming available in Mymensingh Sadar, Bangladesh does not fully address sex workers’ health. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 23 participants of whom many live at the Mymensingh Sadar brothel in Bangladesh. The study finds that while preventative intervention around HIV is necessary, there are other health issues to consider that are of importance for sex workers’ health.

Nondo, Chali

Informalisation and Precarity: Understanding the Lived Experiences of Workers in the Informal Textile Production in Lusaka, Zambia

This paper is based on fieldwork research study in Lusaka, Zambia. It provides an overview of how Structural Adjustment Programs (SAPs) through privatisation, deregulation and trade liberalisation have impacted the livelihoods of the majority of the population. The introduction of SAPs in Zambia during the early 1990s resulted in the contraction of the formal economy and gave rise to the expansion of the informal economy that is largely concentrated in the urban setting. While the informal economy has existed in Zambia since the first post-independence government of United National Independence Party (UNIP) government of Dr. Kenneth Kaunda, the current informal sector has degenerated and become associated with increased poverty and precarious working conditions. The study focuses on the informal domestic textile and clothing production sectors operating within the capital city of Lusaka where more than two thirds of the population are dependent on the informal economy for their livelihoods in the midst of the diminishing job prospects in the formal sector. It shows how the loss of jobs in the formal sector gives rise to the expansion of a precarious and informal sector that has a multiple negative effects on the lives of affected households. The paper also shows how the liberalised economic policies have brought about a surge of cheap imports of Chinese manufactured textiles and used clothes from Western countries that have chocked the retail textile market of Lusaka, hence affecting local production and skills.

Rossiter, Jennifer

What’s Love Got To Do With It?  Policy, Practice and Perspectives on Alternative Orphan Care in Uganda

According to UNICEF, there are currently over 132 million orphans in the world. In Africa, this situation is predominantly explained as one of the consequences of HIV/AIDS, conflict, and poverty. Children are placed into orphanages for numerous reasons, often without consideration of the capacity of extended family to care for them and without an understanding of the social conceptualizations of institutional care. In Uganda, there has been a significant increase in the number of orphanages, from which children are eligible for both domestic and intercountry adoption. Intercountry adoption practices over the last two decades have increased the vulnerability of Ugandan children, placed them in precarious situations with weak protection and care, and put pressure on a particularly weak national childcare system. Domestic solutions are being sought to overcome these challenges and to preserve cultural traditions and structures. Alternative care policy and practice, however, are at odds with one another, despite government and NGO attempts to formulate a strong domestic framework to provide security and stability for Uganda’s vulnerable children.

This paper presents findings from fourteen stakeholder interviews conducted in Kampala in summer 2013 with Ugandan adoptive parents and representatives of local and international NGOs, government, and academia. All interviewees were involved with vulnerable and orphan childcare policy or practice. The paper presents stakeholders’ perspectives on the challenges and opportunities related to alternative care interventions in Uganda. It also discusses the implications of these findings for childcare practitioners, potential intercountry adoptive parents, and policymakers.

Zaidi, Durriya

Making the Case for Development: Exploring Corporate Social Responsibility in Pakistan

With resurgence of interest in the role of the private sector in development, CSR in Asia is on the rise. Pakistan is no exception, although most of the literature coming out of the country is management-oriented, focusing on the 'business case', or the benefits corporations can enjoy by engaging in CSR. On the other side of this debate are questions among development scholars around the potential of effective CSR to contribute to ‘solving’ development problems. This perspective is known as the 'development case', which focuses primarily on beneficiary experiences and benefits. This MRP explores a particular CSR project of Shell Pakistan, an MNC seen as among the forerunners of CSR in Pakistan. Through qualitative research, this research explores how company rhetoric around CSR engagement compares to the reality of beneficiary experiences. This paper finds that there is a significant disjuncture between rhetoric and reality, identifying three areas. The research methodology used is valuable in understanding beneficiary perceptions of any CSR project.

Akollor, Lionel

China’s Agricultural engagement in Africa: An Overview of Chinese Private Direct Investments in Ghana’s agricultural Sector and the implications for South-South Relations

This research project is concerned with the changing nature of investments and
development partnerships between China and Africa. Using Ghana’s agricultural
sector as a site of analysis, the paper explores China’s agricultural
engagement in Africa and how it affects African development. The objectives of
this  paper is to understand processes by which Chinese agricultural
entrepreneurs have engaged in Ghana, what are the dynamics of their activities
and what might be the implications for the ongoing debate. It is argued that
African governments have leverage and agency in orienting and shaping China’s
development interventions in the pursuit of national development agendas.
Furthermore, it is suggested that private small scale enterprises are
increasingly the drivers of China’s agricultural engagement in Ghana as a
result of a fragmented authority or disjunction in the policy formulation and
implementation of China’s Africa policy. The relative autonomy of these
profit-driven individual enterprises has the potential of altering the nature
of south-south cooperation between the two regions. Ultimately, the paper
submits that despite its innovative approach to development cooperation, China
has not revolutionized nor expanded the ideological space for development
theory or practices but in fact continues to work within and reinforce a
market-oriented development paradigm of which it has become a strong proponent.

Antonio, Krista

Examining the Contributions of Local Civil Society Organizations to the Migrant Justice Movement in Virgil, Ontario

The Seasonal Agricultural Worker Program (SAWP) has brought thousands of migrant agricultural workers from the Caribbean and Mexico to the orchards, vineyards and greenhouses of Virgil, Ontario in the years following the Program’s inception in 1966. Despite the historical presence of migrant workers in this town, there is a clear disconnect between workers and local community members. Over the years, civil society organizations (CSOs) have emerged in an effort to promote the social inclusion of migrant workers and provide them with access to health care and administrative support services. The role these CSOs have assumed as service providers is burdensome on time and resources and limits their ability to work towards their other goal of facilitating social inclusion. This paper argues that the retreating presence of the state as a guarantor of access to rights and entitlements has forced CSOs to fill this gap and assume the role of service providers, causing them to undermine their potential intervention in challenging the social exclusion migrant workers experience in Virgil.

Araf, Mohammad

Social Networks and “Agency”: Exploring Afghan Male Refugees’ Settlement Experience in Toronto

Most of the literature on the settlement experience of refugees in Canada has narrowly focused on employment and labour market participation within either a human capital or social capital framework. Having interviewed six young Afghan refugees about their settlement experience in Toronto, I argue in this paper that both human capital and social networks of refugees are important in their successful settlement. I argue that while human capital alone cannot adequately explain the settlement experience of refugees, it is an important enabler of refugees’ agency. In addition, using the structuration theory, I further argue that structures as rules, such as lack of recognition of foreign credentials, can constrain refugees’ agency to successfully settle in their new home whereas structures as resources, such as social networks of friends, may be enabling.

Bhari, Javed

The Attitudies of Afghan Men on Gender Equality and Women’s Rights in Afghanistan

Much research on gender issues and the status of women from the perspective of scholars, researchers and development agencies has been done in Afghanistan since 2001 when NATO forces ousted the Taliban government, most of it focused on women’s issues. There is however, a lack of direct local research on how Afghan men view these efforts to promote gender equality and women’s rights. As a result of a four month research project in Kabul, I found that the efforts of the international community to promote gender equality and improve conditions for women in Afghanistan have not worked. In contrast, they have provoked Afghan men into more defensive and conservative positions, rather than convinced them that women are equal to men. This holds true regardless of education levels and urban or rural residence in the province of Kabul, based on focus groups with Afghan men and interviews with local experts knowledgeable about the implementation of gender policies. I further argue that the international community has failed to uncover and respond to the objections and rationales against gender equality by which Afghan men justify their position. This lack of cultural and religious sensitivity by the international community is a major factor in the decrease in support by Afghan men for gender equality and women’s rights.

Bobala, Michelle

Empowering Women and Improving Gender Equality?: The Relevance of Mdg3 in the Context of Georgetown, Guyana

By overemphasizing growth through neoliberal economic policies, the World Bank and International Monetary Fund have influenced mainstream development initiatives in a way that has integrated the concepts of ‘gender equality’ and ‘women’s empowerment’ into Millennium Development Goal 3 (MDG3) in loose and limited ways devoid of their original political meaning. Numerous scholars have therefore criticized the MDGs for being insufficient for promoting substantive equality. However, little research has focused on the relevance of the MDGs at the local level. This thesis discusses the extent to which MDG3 is on the development agenda in Georgetown, Guyana, while interrogating the relevance achievements on this goal have for grassroots women.  Through an assessment of MDG3 programming, and an examination of the lived experiences of grassroots women from Georgetown, I argue that MDG3 is not being addressed at the organizational level in Guyana, nor does it speak to urban Guyanese women’s needs and priorities.

Gomez, Stacey

Maya Women in Defence of Territory and Madre Tierra in Guatemala: The Case of San Juan Sacatepéquez

This paper takes as a case study the conflict between Maya-Kaqchikel communities and the company Cementos Progreso Ltd. (CEMPRO) in San Juan Sacatepéquez. The Movement of the 12 Communities has been opposing the CEMPRO project, geared towards cement production, since 2006. This paper takes Maya women’s narratives as a departure point in seeking to understand the situation in San Juan Sacatepéquez. Findings suggest that the CEMPRO project, and the ensuing conflict over its implementation, have had differential impacts on rural Maya women. Findings also suggest that Maya women are playing a crucial role in efforts to halt the project. Moreover, findings suggest that the conflict has catalyzed greater political engagement by Maya women, who have faced historical exclusion and ongoing marginalization, reconfiguring unequal gender relations locally.

Hassan, Yassir

Building Program Evaluation Capacity through Information Technology within Development Organizations:  a Case Study of the DREAM Project in Dominican Republic

This study is anchored in the following main question:  how do organizational and contextual contingencies influence the adoption and assimilation of technological applications used in Evaluation Capacity Building (ECB)?  The researcher looks at the factors, which both impeded and facilitated the DREAM Project’s Evaluation capacity building strategy, which was based on one ‘Cloud’ application of Information and Communications Technology (ICT).  The focus here is on the processes of technology adoption and assimilation for the purposes of enhancing evaluation capacity in small International Development organizations.  It is hoped that insights from this study would contribute to the broader discussions concerning the role, which ICT can play in the evaluation field and development at large.

Hossain, Mohammed

The Network and Neighborhood Aspects of Social Capital and the Economic Wellbeing of the Women Borrowers: A Case Study of the Grameen Bank’s Microcredit Program in Sylhet, Bangladesh

This major research paper investigates how social capital as networks and neighborhood relationships composed of mutuality and confidence influences the economic wellbeing of the members of the Grameen Bank.  Drawing on a case of a branch of the Grameen Bank in Sylhet, Bangladesh, this study shows that microcredit nurtures a network of social relationships among the members of the Bank, and is constantly changing economic conditions of the participants in the area.  The lack of efficiency in the mobilization of resources from the networks and the inability to invest the loan in a commercial enterprise are the major obstacles to the economic wellbeing of rural women in Mullargaon.

Inokuchi, Hiromi

The Missing Linkages:  Value added and the Tanzania Textile and Garment Sector

Industrial activity is important to economic diversification and improved livelihoods, which underpin inclusive growth.  Industrialization is contingent on state’s policy autonomy and capacity to develop and implement industrial stages.  For primary commodity export-dependent countries such as Tanzania, economic diversification is best achieved through the promotion of value-added industrial activities, as has been asserted in the state’s recent Integrated Industrial Development Strategy 2025. However, international financial institutions, and the World Bank in particular, continue to promote a narrow focus on export-oriented foreign direct investment-led growth, favouring primary commodity export.  This paper will explore Tanzania’s incipient efforts to industrialize in a post-adjustment era, through analyzing the textile and garment sectors.  Textile sectoral strategies from 2000 onwards will be examined to assess alignment with broader value addition goals, and the factors that may affect policy implementation.  This paper will suggest that sectoral strategies have been beset by policy coherence and coordination hurdles.  Most striking is the omission of policy interventions to increase value addition and improve domestic linkages, which may be indicative of the difficulty in challenging dominant policy prescriptions.

Malcolm, Emma

Averting the Resource Curse in Ghana: The Role of Civil Society Prospects and Limitations

While the resource curse is still contested at a theoretical level, in practice there is some concern about the harmful potential effects for countries overly dependent on natural resources. As a result, a number of resource-rich developing countries are increasingly adopting different multi-stakeholder initiatives in an effort to avoid the resource curse phenomenon. While civil society is often expected to play a key role in these multi-stakeholder initiatives there has been very limited efforts to explicitly consider how civil society groups understand the resource curse, see their role in the fight to avoid the resource curse and the extent to which civil society is able to effectively play this role. This is particularly true in the context of Ghana where oil has recently been discovered in commercial quantities. Hence, while popular discourse, including governmental and civil society rhetoric, is shaped by how Ghana can avoid the Nigerian experience, and follow in the steps of their role model, Norway, the extent to which civil society can live up to the expectations of it in multi-stakeholder initiatives remains unexamined. This Major Research Paper seeks to critically examine how civil society groups understand the resource curse, and the nature of their efforts to avoid the resource curse vis-a-vis multi-stakeholder initiatives. This Major Research Paper will argue that while civil society in Ghana accepts the concept of the resource curse as having practical implications, its ability to play an effective role to help avert it remains limited and at times contradictory. This Major Research Paper concludes by considering the implications for efforts to avoid the resource curse phenomenon in resource-rich African countries.

Shea, Tashiana

Food A Gateway to Political Change: Transverse Solidarity and the Stop Community Food Centre

The Food Movement is fragmented in three groups, social service providers, alternative food initiatives, and advocacy and action as it reacts toward the lack of democracy in the food system.  Tension exists between the fractions as pragmatic solutions are criticized for allowing the state to download its responsibility onto civil society and policy reform advocates are criticized for not having concrete plans for achieving change or taking a long time, using a lot of resources, and having very little to show for it.  A class dimension is added to the tension, creating an even bigger divide within the movement, as how one accesses food is directly linked to ones access to resources, therefore certain forms resistance are only available to those who have the resources to engage. A case study of one Toronto organization, The Stop Community Food Centre, highlights the opportunities and challenges associated with housing all three approaches within one organization for building transverse solidarity that could lead to engaging the state in the movement’s cause.

Veller, Kimberly

Investigating Conceptual Approaches to Sexual Violence in Refugee Contexts: Case Illustrations from Kampala, Uganda

Organizational responses and media representations of sexual violence in conflict tend to reinforce a damaging dichotomy of woman/victim and man/perpetrator. Women and girls face disproportionately higher levels of sexual violence in times of war as well as peace, but men and boys can also be victims. In a refugee context, where traditional gender roles are challenged and sometimes overturned, issues of gender-based violence must be carefully addressed. Given that it is the unequally powered gender relations that facilitate and even encourage sexual violence; this paper begins with the understanding that those gender relations and the harmful stereotypes therein must be prioritized in responses as well as efforts towards prevention. Based on 23 interviews conducted with NGO staff and duty-bearers in Kampala, Uganda, it was found that unique approaches to incorporating male victims may prove beneficial for men and boys, but also, for women and girls. The results are used to argue that dominant discourses around sexual violence, conflict and refugees fail men and boys by excluding them, but also, fail women and girls by missing opportunities to interrogate the very gender relations that support violence in war.

Webb, Christopher

Precarious Landscapes:  Labour Restructuring and Trade Union Response in Western Cape Agriculture

Base on intensive fieldwork research carried out on fruit and wine farms in the Western Cape province of South Africa, this paper examines the process of labour restructuring underway in commercial agriculture and the responses of trade unions.  Job losses and labour market segmentation in agriculture have accelerated rapidly in recent years as the post-apartheid state dismantled regulatory structures, abolished subsidies and liberalized trade.  The state’s pursuit of these neoliberal policies has significantly undermined its own labour legislation, which has allowed for the proliferation of atypical work arrangements.  There is an increasing divide between permanent workers who have remained on farms and the precariously employed reserve armies of labour.  Trade unions have largely failed to organize those precarious workers who constitute the majority of the province’s agricultural labour force.  This paper situates this discussion within the broader literature on the agrarian question in the era of globalization, and examines the implications for future trade union strategy.

Weisman, Steven

Opportunity Lost:  An Examination of Possibilities and Challenges to Israeli-Palestinian Joint Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) and their ability to Actuate Change

Before the formal declaration of the state of Israel in 1948 Dema’s grandfather, a Palestinian, worked side by side with Jews.  He never had any ill will towards them, and his neighbours, regardless of religion or ethnicity shopped at his wife’s store and traded with them openly.  There was no divide between East and West Jerusalem, and they all did business together and traded with each other.  In 1948, when the Israeli state was created, chaos hit Dema’s family as it did for Jews and Muslims alike. In the anarchic state that existed in that period, Dema’s grandfather was killed along with two of his children.  Though not many details are known about the circumstances, he and two of Dema’s would-be-aunts were among the many souls lost to the conflict.  Dema’s father, rather than hating the Israelis who had now come, worked with them in business and in life in the same way his parents had done before him.  He grew up before the West Bank became a part of Israel and before a wall was constructed to separate the Jews in Israel from the Muslims on the other side.  He grew up in a time when you could not live in Palestine without seeing an Israeli, a time in which space was shared between Palestinians and Israelis like his parents before.  He worked with them, he lived with them and many of his close friends were Israelis.  During the 60’s, the integration between the two groups was so high that most Palestinians spoke Hebrew themselves.

Akhtar, Sarah

‘Rickshaw’nomics and ‘Morales’ization: Perspectives on Rural Healthcare in Bangladesh and Bolivia

Recent buzzwords in development such as participation and empowerment perhaps warrant rethinking the way women are incorporated into decision-making governance processes. Here, the perspectives of social actors in both Bangladesh and Bolivia’s disparate medical settings are addressed. The work presented here captures two perspectives – that of the top-down narrative presented by health officials that promote the particular form of governance adopted in each country, and the bottom-up narrative of the women who utilize the services created. With reference to a private governance system of healthcare delivery – Grameen Kalyan in Bangladesh, and a public system in Bolivia – the MAS government, the relationship between the form of governance and women’s satisfaction with healthcare services is examined. By contrasting the views of rural women with official discourses the research presented here argues that there is a discrepancy between the two views. It seems to be the case that the more involved women are, and the more they can relate to the form of governance and participate in the decision making process, the more satisfied they are with the health-care system. The argument and findings here show that despite the disconnect between the two perspectives, the more women are permitted to feel that they are participating in the governance system of healthcare delivery services, the more beneficial, useful, and satisfactory they find their health services to be.

Al-Rubail, Ruqaiia

Iraq’s Economic Reform Policies:  Prospects and Implications

This study seeks to provide a critical examination of Iraq’s economic reform measures that have been introduced and implemented by the US post-2003.  Specifically, these reform measures aim to restructure Iraq’s previous socialist economic system through introducing a market economy characterized by an open market and integration with the global economy.  In providing a critical examination, the following research question is addressed:  what are the prospects for and limitations of creating an open end market in Iraq for the country’s economic development? The findings of this study represent the complexity of Iraq’s current economic situation.  However, by unravelling the trade liberalization narrative using theories of trade protectionism, what seems to be apparent is that the current economic restructuring paradigm provides more implications for the country’s economic development than prospects.

Bardowell, Nadalie

Exploring the Influence of Prevailing Perceptions of Poverty in Social Policy Reform:  The Case of the BIG Pilot Project in Namibia

From January 2008 to December 2009, a group of civil society organizations known as the Basic Income Grant (BIG) Coalition, piloted an Unconditional Cash Transfer program in the rural Namibian settlement of Otjivero.  Roughly 930 residents received a monthly transfer of N$100 (US$13) to spend as they wish.  Today the Unconditional Cash Transfer continues a bridging allowance of N$80 (US$10).  Being unconditional in the nature, the BIG program constitutes a challenge to the underlying negative perceptions of ‘the poor’ that dominate mainstream development and impose conditionality.

Using the BIG Pilot Project as a case study, this paper explores the role of unconditionality in development assistance.  Supporters of the BIG Pilot Project see it as a catalyst for the reduction of poverty and related problems in Otjivero.  Through in-depth interviews with residents of Otjivero, this paper recounts respondents’ perception of poverty as well as their experience with the BIG program.  Despite compelling evidence, critics have questioned the BIG program, most commonly arguing that it fosters dependence and promotes laziness.  Through analysis of local newspapers, this paper identifies and explains the contrasting perceptions of poverty held by proponents and opponents in Namibia’s BIG debate.  On the one hand, BIB advocates, such as the BIG Coalition, present individualistic explanations as the cause of poverty, while on the other hand, the political elite dwell on structural justification for poverty and inequality.  Challenging both proponents and opponents, the poor recipients of the BIG Pilot Project provide a third perspective that is largely absent from the BIG discussions.  This paper concludes by exploring the implications of the findings for social policy reform, highlighting the voices of the poor in the BIG debate from the viewpoint of empowerment.

Bhanji, Alisha

Access to water and participation of rural women in water management: A case study of the Aga Khan Rural Support Program in Gujarat, India

Depletion of the world’s water resources and the deterioration of its quality is a growing international concern. Today, approximately 11% of the world’s total population doesn’t have access to safe drinking water. This case study examines how a non-governmental organization (NGO), the Aga Khan Rural Support Program (AKRSP) in Gujarat, India, uses the language of participatory development to manage its Drinking Water Supply Schemes. This study employs a qualitative, field research method to collect both primary and secondary data to explore the extent of AKRSP’s participatory development within the water sector and its implication for women. It is found that while AKRSP is adopting a range of participatory approaches, the extent to which these are truly engaging and empowering individuals, particularly women, is questionable. AKRSP continues to support the goals and objectives of the government, without truly contesting the continuation of top-down hierarchical structures. It can be concluded from the findings of this research that simply employing participatory approaches in water initiatives does not eradicate deep-rooted power dynamics within communities, which is often responsible for the management of resources and project outcomes.

Denega, Meghan

Women’s Use of Formal and Informal Microfinancial Instiutions in Kabale, Uganda

Over the past thirty years, microfinance has taken the development world by storm.  Because of its ability to positively impact a number of development goals and its adherence to dominant neoliberal economic theory, microfinance is praised an effective and efficient development tool.  As semi-formal and formal microfinance institutions have become self-sustainable and even profitable, there has been a trend towards the privatization of the microfinance industry.  It was hypothesized that the market-led industry would provide a better product and services to its clients resulting in the disappearance of traditional informal savings and credit groups. However, this has not occurred.  Informal savings and credit associations remain as prominent financial institutions for many women in the developing world.  This study explores the strengths and weaknesses of the formal and informal microfinance groups in Kabale Uganda.  The study invokes a culture and development nexus to offer a critique of the mainstream neoliberal theory behind the formal microfinance industry.  The culture and development framework is also used as a means of recognizing the voices, agency and organization of the local population’s own development initiatives as viable grassroots alternatives to mainstream development.  Finally, this framework is used to argue that development cannot occur unless it is culturally appropriate and context specific.  The findings demonstrate that ROSCAs offer bottom-up development that is culturally appropriate and that draws upon local rather than neoliberal values.  Finally it is argued that because formal microfinance has such a strong hold on development, that it must include a strong training aspect so as to make it as effective as possible for the participants.

Escrig, Astrid

Domestic violence keeps rising in post-conflict settings hindering development efforts

The Major Research Paper responds to the need to inquire the underlying causes of domestic violence and to place greater emphasis on long-term prevention strategies. This qualitative study analyses the problem through the perceptions of Ugandan professionals in various sectors working in domestic violence prevention. Findings suggest that in order to strengthen multi-sectoral approaches to coordination, a consensus on the underlying causes of domestic violence is needed amongst stakeholders. One recommendation is that evidence-based holistic studies could assist in achieving this consensus. Furthermore, a key conclusion of the study illustrates that strategies could benefit from dismantling the female/victim-male/perpetrator double dichotomy in order to increase men engagement in the fight against domestic violence in post-conflict settings.

Landry, Leah

Representation of the Interests of the Poor and Historically Marginalized Groups in Rural Decentralized Institutions of Government: A Case Study of the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS) in Uttar Pradesh, India

India’s National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) of 2005 aims to provide livelihood security to the rural poor.  The Act guarantees the right to wage employment to adults in the form of 100 days per year, per household, of unskilled, manual work on local development projects.  The chief implementing agency for the MGNREGA is India’s Panchayati Raj Institution (PRI), the institution of decentralized government in rural areas.  This small-scale, qualitative study has explored the implementation of this Act, the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS), in two districts of the state of Uttar Pradesh, India.   The implementation of the MGNREGA by the PRI is a window through which one can study rural, decentralized government and its potential and limitations to improve the lives of the poor and historically marginalized groups both financially and politically.

Mardemomen, Ghazal

Iranian Women’s Negotiations with Patriarchy: The Case of Fertility Decision-Making

Women’s reproductive right in population policies of Iran has received relatively little attention amongst population policy and development scholars.  In light of this gap, this study examines women’s decision making capacity with regards to their fertility.  This paper begins with the understanding that reproductive rights and women’s agency cannot be understood without due attention to structures and the context within which they are embedded.  Based on interviews with eighteen Iranian women belonging to the low-income class, it was found that the women’s capacity to make decisions regarding their fertility was informed and shaped by an intersection of patriarchal institutions and practices.  The results are used to illustrate the ways in which women use their fertility to negotiate in a context where their options are severely limited.  Such analysis contributes towards the inclusion of women’s voices and experiences in population policy initiatives; the addition of previously ignored perspectives could better address the issue of the reproductive rights within Iran.

McDougall, Beth

Participatory Development: Understanding the implications of community participation in the Secondary Education Development Program in Arusha City, Tanzania

Participatory development is a popular but contested concept that has been widely adopted by mainstream development initiatives to improve education. In Tanzania, participatory development has a long and complex history and is a crucial component of its most recent initiative to enhance the secondary education system - the Secondary Education Development Program (SEDP). This study examines how communities are involved in SEDP and explores the wider implications of community participation in the program. Four major findings are drawn from this analysis. First, there is a disconnect between the ways in which SEDP policy, and program stakeholders, tend to define ‘community,’ and ‘community participation.’ Second, the types and levels of community involvement in SEDP are impacted by the socio-economic and political contexts of communities. Third, respondents are highly aware and concerned about the stratification of their education system, and link this stratification to the type of community participation that is solicited by SEDP. Lastly, respondents seem to feel that if permitted the appropriate political space, their participation in SEDP has the potential to change attitudes and values.

Mora, Vivian-Sofia

Improving Lives Creatively: Culture, Development and Livelihoods in Community Arts-Projects in Unquillo, Argentina

This paper examines two case studies conducted in Unquillo, Argentina: a municipally-initiated and youth-led participative free school of arts, and a community collective youth arts project. I examine how each of these projects utilizes the concept of Culture and Development as well as the Sustainable Livelihoods framework to achieve their development goals.

This paper is governed by the question: what does development look like ‘on the ground’? Is it concerned with remaining within frameworks and existing principles, or is it more flexible? Conversely, it looks at how approaches within development help us understand the limits community projects face in responding to development challenges. The research focuses on projects that are not typically articulated as ‘developmental’ but evaluates them on this basis to argue that the boundaries of development are fluid. As will be discussed – in their articulation, implementation, and evaluation of goals – the projects explored here all aimed at enhancing the quality of life for their participants. As such, they can be fairly seen through a development lens.

Nabeta, Mark

Fostering Good Governance Reform Through Civil Society Support: A Case Study of the Undp’s Amkeni Wakenya Programme in Kenya

This paper examines the activities of the United Nation’s Development Programme’s Amkeni WaKenya civil society democratic governance facility in Kenya. Created at the outset of the 2008 election crisis in an attempt to foster stronger CSO and CBO involvement in the sphere of good governance, this programme has had a positive effect in providing the financial and capacity building assistance Kenyan CSOs and CBOs were lacking. It has also been successful as a catalyst for civil society networking and dialogue in a traditionally divided civil realm. Using existing literature and data collected during three months of field research, this paper will argue that Kenya’s civil society has the potential to be effective if it stands to build a cohesive set of prescriptions and alternatives in policy discussions on good governance.

Orya, Mohammad (Aziz)

Private Higher Education In Afghanistan:  Exploring The Process Of Commodification of Higher Education

This study explores the role of private higher education in commodifying higher education in Afghanistan.  Informed by a qualitative research approach, this study explores two private higher education institutes in Kabul, Kardan and Rana, mainly utilizing such research methods as semi-structured interviews, a focus group discussion, reviews of official and public documents and websites, and informal observation.  The study concludes that Kardan and Rana have commodified higher education and that they have legitimized the pursuit of a commodified and market-driven education.

Ramsay, Kristal

Tertiary Education in the Development of Trinidad and Tobago:  A look at the GATE Program

Over the last decade there has been a focus on higher education in Trinidad and how to make it more affordable to citizens; this has culminated with the implementation of the Government Assistance for Tuition Expenses (GATE) program in 2006, where the government fully subsidizes tertiary education at the bachelors level for citizens studying at local and regional government accredited institutions.  This paper examines how higher education is being used, in the context of Trinidad and Tobago, to bring about advances in human development.  It also provides an analysis of the GATE program, as this is a recent program that has received much public attention but little assessment.  In setting a framework for research the concept of human development is examined; also outlined is the relationship between education and development, and the role of the state in guiding policy.  The political and economic context of Trinidad and Tobago is considered, including a brief look at the country’s development plan and how education, specifically higher education, fits into it.  The third section addresses the method of semi-structured interviews employed in the research project, and discusses issues related to positionality and reflexivity.  An assessment of the GATE program then follows.  While the program has increased access to tertiary education, it has also resulted in academic apathy by participants.

Sivagnanasundaram, Maria

Youth and the Invisibility of Caste Discrimination in Kathmandu

In exploration of how caste discrimination occurs in Kathmandu, Nepal, the general regard for its nonexistence by youth aroused curiosities about the ways that this belief manifested itself. As the core of this paper has drawn upon this notion of the invisibility of caste discrimination  in Kathmandu, the intersecting concepts of identity, place, schooling, and modernity, have been used to frame different facets of this belief to highlight that it is amid this invisibility that caste discrimination in Kathmandu is made visible through new forms of discrimination and oppression via institutional casteism, highlighted by the intersection of caste and class and maintained by discourses of modernity.

Spring, Lauren

"Yes, And..."  Transcending the 'Incredible' Through Humour After Torture. A case study with refugees at the Canadian Centre for Victims of Torture

Lauren Spring headshot

Lauren Spring

Proponents and critics of alternative and post-development perspectives have, over the past three decades, offered significant and fiery critiques of the modernist development project.  Their views have helped shape both the methodology and the structure of this study.  Bringing together the fields of theatre and development, this arts-based, participatory action research seeks to explore the relationship between humour and resilience in the lives of refugees who have experienced torture. This research is theoretical, empirical and participatory in nature and is based in large part on a case study conducted with refugees at the Canadian Centre For Victims of Torture in Toronto, who, for 10 weeks in the summer of 2011, participated in improv theatre workshops centered around the principle of ‘Yes, And…’ (acceptance and advancement). This study is exploratory; thus, it seeks to discover if, and if so in what way, the themes introduced and practiced in these improv workshops would be considered by participants to be relevant or applicable to their everyday lives. The findings are promising: the majority of participants not only claimed to appreciate and take pleasure in these weekly workshops but could also cite direct (and often surprising) ways in which they applied the principle of ‘Yes, And…’ and other skills practiced in these workshops to their everyday lives. The implications of this research are varied and far-reaching for both refugees themselves and professionals involved in post-trauma treatment in both the Canadian context and elsewhere in the world.  The case study itself also offers the development community an example of an arts-based participatory action research project that is process—not product—based  (lest participants and their lived experiences become a commodity) and which seeks to challenge the traditional development paradigm by ‘unmaking’ representations of  “oppressed” people (in this case victims of torture) through humour.

Suggett, Iris

Establishing expertise, negotiating agency:  An exploration of gender based violence discourse in a case study of the Family Planning Association of Bangladesh

Iris Suggett headshot

Iris Suggett

The discourse surrounding gender based violence (GBV) has received little critical attention among development scholars in terms of how it has been established as a privileged intervention, or the way it is understood and framed in non-governmental organizations (NGOs). In light of this gap, this study explored through a case study of the Family Planning Association of Bangladesh (FPAB) the ways in which GBV language was shaped by development experts and implicated in replicating power/knowledge hierarchies, and the ways in which local staff members utilized their agency to frame GBV to different  groups  With the data gathered from 26 interviews with FPAB staff, it was found that GBV was implicated in  hierarchical knowledge production and that staff actively brokered meanings of GBV to different audiences. These findings add to the epistemological understanding of GBV and provide a starting point for future research involving NGOs and their engagement with GBV discourse.

Amoako, Eugene

Examining the Strengths and Limitations of Introducing Compulsory Kindergarten in Ghana: The Case of Ga South District

This paper examines the Government of Ghana’s efforts in expanding and improving its education system through the introduction of compulsory kindergarten.  Introduced in 2007, the Early Childhood Care and Development policy seeks to make early childhood education a cornerstone of basic education by adding two years of kindergarten.  Using secondary data and some primary data collected in the Ga South District of Ghana, this paper explores the effectiveness of the policy.  Specifically, it outlines some of the key tenets of the policy, while discussing the effects that it has had on expanding access to education. It concludes with a discussion on the implications of introducing this policy.  The research reveals that despite the positive intentions of the policy and impressive gains made from it, there are critical areas that need to be addressed.

Beaton, Vanessa

Towards a Sustainable Peace: A Youth-Oriented Framework for Reconciliation in Bosina-Herzegovina

This paper seeks to understand peace in Bosnia-Herzegovina and the role youth-oriented civil society organizations (YCSOa) play in achieving the goals of sustainable peace.  This study finds that there are limitations to liberal peace theory advancing sustainable peace in Bosnia.  Furthermore, J.P. Lederach’s Framework for Reconciliation was found to be an applicable alternative peacebuilding model in the Bosnian context; and, certain YCSOs in Bosnia-Herzegovina were found to already promote aspects of Lederach’s Framework for Reconciliation in their missions, programs and activities.  These findings support the argument that a Youth-oriented Framework for Reconciliation provides an alternative peacebuilding model in Bosnia-Herzegovina.

Bervoets, Jean Paul

Cultural Expression and Cultural Production in South African Development: An Historical Context and Contemporary Case

This paper expands on a body of literature that recognises cultural expression as contributing and significant variable in the dialectical relationship between culture and development. It does so by probing the epistemological and ontological links between conceptions of culture and cultural expression, and the process of national development policy making in South Africa. To frame this discussion, this paper critically evaluates the changing role of the culture-development nexus within national South African development policy and how this changing role has affected civil society. Building on this context, the this paper will highlight a specific case study of one nationally-focused and funded civil society organisation in operating in South Africa called Phumani Paper, whose experience calls attention to the complexities inherent in the intentional operationalization of cultural expression for development, and highlights the need for greater critical attention to be paid on the variable of culture within development theory and practice.

Blazevic-Hyman, Neil

Human Rights Defender: Southern Activist Realized or Exigency of Liberalism?

Over the past three decades a discourse based around a new global political subjectivity has become embedded in international discourses. The discourse of the human rights defender, the model non-state subject-actor in the age of Universal Declaration of Human Rights, extends the liberal project down to the national, individual, and organisational level.  The criticisms which bare force on the human rights discourse similarly pose relevant questions for the human rights defenders discourse. This paper examines the background from which the human rights defender emerges and is made necessary, the intrinsic construction of the concept and the institutional forms which have sprouted around it, and compares the construct to analogous discourses of civil society and new social movements. In analysis this paper raises a critical voice to define what the discourse contributes to and conceals from the originary goals of human rights, to wit: social justice, equality, and peace.

Hamdi, Sarah

Will The Internet “Save The World”?  U.S. Export Controls, Internet Freedom, Cybertopia, and Cyber-emancipation

Cybertopia, or cyberutopianism, is the idea that the Internet will “save the world” – or at least lead to economic, political and social development.  Currently it is being evoked to discuss social movements or socio-political uprisings that use the Internet to mobilize, such as Iran, Ukraine, Tunisia, and Egypt, whose “wins” are frequently being attributed to access and use of the Internet.  Yet, cybertopia is not a value-free point of view, and the Internet is not a neutral open-access technology.  This paper examines one case that brings forth these tensions – U.S. export controls, which actively limit the dissemination of U.S. owned online goods and services (such as Facebook or twitter) to sanctioned countries – and the implications this type of policy has on cybertopic discourse, as well as the emancipatory potential of the Internet.

Hart, Justine

Fair Trade Mainstreaming and Alternative Voices: Challenges and Opportunities for Today’s Fair Trade Organizations

The place of FTOs within an increasingly mainstream fair trade system will be
the focus of this paper. In section one, I will argue that the fair trade
system is becoming more oriented toward the interests of profit-driven
enterprises. First, I will argue that some fair trade labeling initiatives
(LIs) focus increasingly on expanding the fair trade market by bringing in a
greater number of profit-driven actors, despite cries of protest from pillars
of fair trade like fair trade organizations (FTOs), and with little regard for
the negative impact it might have on the fair trade mission. I demonstrate that
these LIs are structurally more powerful within the fair trade system than FTOs
or other actors that are not profit-driven and favor more ‘alternative’ trade
practices. Second, I will demonstrate how this uneven power dynamic has led
changes to occur within fair trade that benefit corporations and LIs at the
expense of producers and FTOs. In section two, I will demonstrate the impact of
this mainstreaming phenomenon upon FTOs. I will argue that despite their
position of comparatively little power vis-à-vis large corporations and even
labeling organizations, FTOs are finding a number of ways to push back against
mainstreaming, with varying degrees of success. Finally, I will outline a
number of possible future actions that could be taken by FTOs and their allies
to ensure fair trade’s original mission is not lost.

Heenan, Emily

Women, Popular Education and Social Change:  A Colombian Case Study

The education of women has been given a primordial role as a catalyst of change in recent development discourse.  Although in agreement that education is fundamental to the empowerment of women, this study seeks to demonstrate that current efforts to achieve gender parity informal education –focused on better integrating women into the existing structures of society- are inadequate and misguided, and will not bring significant change to the position of women.  Turning to popular education as an alternative, the paper examines the ways in which this approach, which seeks to address the structural dimensions of women’s oppression, can be more effective in empowering women, in addition to demonstrating the potential that lies in popular education, this study also draws attention to factors that may limit the impact popular education can actually have on the ground.  Through the analysis of the experiences of a human rights organization in Colombia, this study demonstrates that regardless of how appealing and promising popular education may be theoretically putting theory into practice is not always an easy task because of theoretical complexities, power dynamics and the context where popular education is being applied.

Jurikova, Katariná

Trojan Horses?  Supermarkets, EU Accession and the Slovak Agro-Food System

The rapid penetration of foreign supermarkets in Slovakia since the late 1990s has profoundly reshaped the domestic agro-food-system.  While there is a growing body of literature on the modern retail sector, it often fails to situate the analysis within a global political economy framework.  This research, based on three months of fieldwork and document analysis, demonstrates the deeply political nature of the supermarkets’ rise to a dominant position within food commodity chains, and the impact this has had on Slovak agro-food producers.  Major findings of this research are that the expansion of multinational retail has been contingent upon the strong presence of the state and its embrace of a pro-corporate regulatory regime and upon the power of the European Union to secure its own interests in Slovakia through the accession process.  This research shows how the unrestrained power of retail corporations has negatively impacted on Slovak agro-food production.  First, it analyzes the retailers’ role in the increased imports of agro-food products and the consequences this has on domestic food producers.  Second, it examines how the retailers abuse their power through financial requirements they impose on their suppliers.

Mills, Jennifer

Environmental Governance of the Extractive Sector in Peru

This paper examines environmental policy governing the mining industry in Peru.  While the mining industry is economically important to Peru, its unequally distributed environmental impacts have prompted social conflict.  This research specifically explores the role of the national government in mediating the promotion and regulation of extractive industries.  The data comes from a literature review and qualitative research in Peru from the summer of 2010.  The paper first considers the evolution of Peru’s environmental regulations.  Second, it draws on the case of the Yanacocha mine to examine environmental governance in practice.  A discussion of the national interest highlights how the exclusion of indigenous peoples in Peru is connected to the government’s facilitation of investment.  The finding of the paper is that the regulatory regime in Peru remains weak and serves to promote investment in the mining sector to the detriment of sound environmental policy and civic participation.

Hidy Ng

From Good Intentions to Self-Interest: Canada’s Contribution to Development Assistance

This paper’s analysis of Canadian aid effectiveness shows that CIDA, Canada’s leading development agency, lacks the autonomy needed to design and implement effective foreign aid polices. Studied through a historical perspective, the conditions which have allowed CIDA to currently operate as an arm within the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade are explained. While critics of foreign aid argue that it has failed, I contend that the issue is not that aid has failed, but that the motivating reasons of giving development assistance create inefficiencies in Canada’s aid programming.

Pepper, Brittany

Incorporating Food and Nutrition Security into HIV/AIDS Treatment and Prevention: Learning from The Academic Model Providing Access to Healthcare

The HIV/AIDS epidemic currently affecting the lives and livelihoods of people living in Sub-Saharan Africa is both increasing, and increased by, the level of food and nutrition insecurity of the region.  This research seeks to explore this relationship between HIV/AIDS and food security and to provide an analysis of a HIV/AIDS program that is currently operating in Western Kenya – The Academic Model for Providing Access to Healthcare (AMPATH).  This analysis revealed that AMPATH has created an innovative and holistic approach to HIV/AIDS care that incorporates food and nutrition security and livelihood support for people living with HIV/AIDS.  However, AMPATH needs to take further steps to effectively utilize the available knowledge of the HIV/AIDS-food security nexus in order to create community-wide resistance and resilience to HIV infection and its impacts.

Poku-Kessie, Mariama

Local Government and Poverty Reduction in Ghana:  The Case of GA South Municipal Assembly

This research paper argues that decentralization in Ghana has the potential to reduce the poverty at the local level.  This is because, local government provides the opportunity for citizens to participate in local decision making and also, through enhanced service delivery, thereby reducing the socio-economic dimensions of poverty.  However, the poverty reduction potential of decentralization has not been realized because there is a lack of citizens’ interest in the local government system, consequently rendering the system ineffective.  The study found out that, in the case of the GA South Municipal Assembly, there is evidence of considerable effort to reduce poverty through participation and enhanced service delivery, however, due to citizen’s apathy and lack of interest in the affairs of local governance, achieving the poverty reduction objectives of decentralization have been difficult to realize.  For local government to be sustained in Ghana, not only should citizens be empowered through participation, more importantly, local government units should also be empowered through capacity building.

Ponce De Leon, Catalina

Citizenship Rights and Articulations of Indigenous Resistance in the Ecuadorian Extractive Frontier

This thesis is primarily based on fieldwork research conducted in Ecuador in the summer of 2010.  It focuses on the experiences of resistance to large-scale mining of the Shuar nationality in the Cordillera del Cóndor, in the Southeastern provinces of Morona Santiago and Zamora Chinchipe.  The case against mining, as articulated by the Shuar, is framed in terms of past experience with extraction, as well as cultural considerations with respect natural resource management.  By invoking collective rights enshrined in the 2008 Constitution, indigenous groups seek to legitimize their opposition to extractive industries.  Resistance is a process manifested legally or more forcibly, where the main objective is to ensure the preservation of cultural principles essential to the construction of indigenous identity.  A closer study of Shuar resistance to large scale mining projects in their ancestral territories is crucial to understanding indigenous opposition to this type of activities in Ecuador today.

Ray, Patrick

Moving Beyond Isolated, Fragmented and Reactive Resistance in Colombia? An Exploration of COMOSOC's Counter-Hegemonic Project

While neoliberal hegemony is said to have waned since the late 1990s its fundamental orientation continues to dictate development policy around the globe. Colombia is an example of a neoliberal regime that is particularly unwavering in comparison to its relatively moderate and reformist neighbours throughout Latin America that comprise the ‘pink tide’, and its development model has wreaked havoc on a growing number of the country’s citizens. A considerable amount of resistance exists in the country, but to date it remains isolated, fragmented and reactive in nature. There has yet to emerge a coherent and comprehensive counter-hegemonic project able to reconcile the various groups in civil society and create consensus. COMOSOC (Coalición de Movimientos y Organizaciones Sociales de Colombia), a heterogeneous network of Colombian social movements and organizations, is attempting to contribute to the process of constructing this type of counter-hegemonic project by reconciling the different political agendas found within the country’s diverse civil society. Further, they explicitly aim to contribute to the construction of an alternative development model for the country that prioritizes popular sector concerns and can effectively challenge the neoliberal model of the current regime. This research study is an investigation of the dynamics and politics that emerge when this type of counter-hegemonic work is undertaken. It will also highlight the specific difficulties faced by resistance groups in Colombia, offer insights into what ingredients are currently absent to an effective counter-hegemonic strategy, and suggest the role and position COMOSOC is likely to have, should such a project eventually emerge.

Ritch, Donovan

Rethinking Democracy and ‘Twenty-First Century Socialism’ in Venezuelan Politics:  Advances, Challenges and Contradictions

The election of populist leader Hugh Chávez in 1998 set democracy in Venezuela down a profound and perhaps irreversible path of change.  With the benefit of over twelve years in hindsight, this paper aims to critically re-examine the present status and future possibilities for the model of participatory, ‘protagonistic’ democracy (PPD) that is currently being pursued as a part of the wider hegemonic project of ‘21st century socialism’ in the country.  In doing so, I argue that contemporary Venezuelan politics are best understood through Gramsci’s notion of ‘hegemony’ and Laclau’s theory of ‘populist reason’, which together permit one to more accurately grasp how ‘popular’ collective identities are hegemonically constructed in situations where strategies of transformative change are being pursued.  On this basis, I further argue that the populist pursuit of ‘21st century socialism’ has entailed a number of advances, challenges and contradictions for the PPD model since its introduction in 2005.

Rouskov, Natalie

A Political Economy Lens To Focus Renewable Energy Development in South Africa

Through a case study of the electricity sector in South Africa, this paper will shed light on the important political and economic linkages within the energy industry that influence and shape the development of renewable energy for the needs of the country. The paper starts by exploring the South African energy discourse to show how the debate misses important political and economic features that are influencing the energy industry in that country. Using the lens of the political economy, the historical foundations of the Minerals-Energy Complex will be explored, opening up to a discussion on the current environment for energy policy in South Africa, under the modern neoliberal paradigm. Finally the paper will close highlighting areas for research and policy engagement by using human rights and participatory development approaches within a political economy framework.

Sala, Amanda

The discourse of Development and Environmental Sustainability:  Desertification in the Syrian Badiyah and the Bedouin Livestock Production System – A Case Study

In Power of Development (1995), Jonathan Crush delineates a fundamental paradox within development that proceeds as follows: On the one hand, the discourse of development stipulates that development constitutes the optimal state of affairs for humanity and therefore enlists bureaucratic state power in its global project to facilitate development worldwide; on the other hand, however, development actually engenders multiplying environmental and socioeconomic dilemmas that inherently contravene the ideological proclamations of the discourse of development and also remain problematic regardless of its successive policy treatments.  Nevertheless, development itself retains its political validity as a legitimate global undertaking, whilst the discourse of development not only withstands its repeated policy failures but also undertakes to rationalize and correct the numerous environmental and socioeconomic crises of development via adaptive modifications of its theoretical suppositions and policy models that effectively broaden both its ideological jurisdiction and its executive capacity.

Shadaan, Reena

Flames, not Flowers: Women’s Empowerment in the International Campaign for Justice in Bhopal (ICJB)

Women’s activism in the International Campaign for Justice in Bhopal (ICJB) has
received relatively little attention amongst social movement scholars, despite
the fact that their activism has spanned over 26 years. In light of this gap,
the intention of this study is to examine women’s activism in ICJB, and
specifically the potential for women’s empowerment that results from such
popular movement participation. With data gained from 25 interviews with women
activists in ICJB, it was found that women’s empowerment occurs at all stages
of movement participation, from the initial mobilization to the outcomes of
their participation. Such findings contribute significantly to the growing data
on the transformatory potential in women’s popular movement participation.

Ali, Safraz

Third World Coalition Diplomacy and Global Economic Governance: A Look at the Group of 77 and the IMF

Since the 1980s the IMF and World Bank have imposed conditionalities on developing countries in exchange for loans.  These policies are well-documented to have had adverse and at best limited impacts on economic growth and development in debtor nations, and are undoubtedly a result of the prevailing decision-making structures of these institutions which give little voice to developing countries.  This paper critically examines the policy positions of the Group of 77 – the largest intergovernmental organization of developing states in the UN – on the reformation of the IMF’s governance structure during the OPEC recession and the current global financial crisis.  It aims to assess whether the Group has effectively enabled the developing world to articulate and promote its collective economic interests.  Drawing on a historical institutionalist framework, the paper finds that the G-77 has been only marginally successful in reforming IMF governance, due largely to limitations in its own governance structure.

Chan, Wendy

Participation and its Implications for Children’s Epistemologies:  The Case of Palestinian Refugees in Lebanon

Children’s epistemologies emphasize the ways that children are active agents and that they are capable of knowing and producing knowledge based on the unique combination of influences in their own surroundings.  While adult-centric attitudes and structures have resulted in children’s views often being ignored, there is growing recognition that it is valuable and informative not only to involve children in research processes, but also to listen to and learn from their own representations of their experiences.  This paper examines the perceptions of Palestinian children living a refugee camp in Lebanon of challenges they face and their involvement in related decision-making processes, and discusses the role that children’s participation plays in children‘s epistemologies.

Frauts, Meaghan

A case for Performance as Cultural Development in Kingston Jamaica

Measuring development has become an arduous and technocratic task.  Postmodern theory asks us to acknowledge the differences in human beings in order to account for all minorities; however, this leads to endless possibilities and little practical gain.  Martha Nussbuam’s capabilities theory, instead, acknowledges the similarities in human and provides us with a succinct, yet, flexible list of ‘capabilities’ necessary for a flourishing human life.  Using performances by Women’s Media Watch, Jamaica, the following paper explores the shifting power and hierarchy that takes place between the audience and actor, academics and activists and researcher and researched.  Using Brechtian theory, underscored by Marx and Gramsci, I argue that these performances reveal a complex view of social and cultural structures that both compete and merge with one another.  Within these performances, negotiations of dialogue, language, and interpretation elucidate the struggles of dominance and decentering.  However, existing within these shadowy facets and struggle and survival are several instances of commonality where actors and audience, leaders and participants, researcher and researched have moments of shared experience.  These moments, utterances and actions of sameness provide a glimpse into the “humanness” so endorsed by Nussbaum and her capabilities theory.  Thus, Women’s Media Watch’s performances provide a tangible, though on a micro level, display of likeness prompting a call for much more emphasis, for development, on the sameness which all humans share rather than simply on difference.

Gurevitch, Shannon

Maintaining Power Through an Ethnic Divide in Guyana:  A Gramscian Interpretation of Civil Society Engagement with the Poverty Reduction Strategy papers (PRSP)

Through a Gramscian interpretation, this thesis examines civil society’s relationship with the state in Guyana and aims to challenge the mainstream notion that suggests civil society is inherently a driving force in consolidating democracy and challenging poor governance. Voices of civil society representatives narrate their experiences throughout this thesis and show that the failure to address the centralized governance structure has enabled racialized politics that systematically marginalizes Afro-Guyanese and Amerindian people.  This thesis will show how the racialization of politics deeply divides the population, preventing unity and protecting the state from substantive challenges to its rule.  As civil society attempts to challenge this reality its actions are co-opted through a loss of autonomy and inclusion into empty consultative policy making processes, sidelining and diverting criticisms.  This paper examines this reality utilizing the Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper (PRSP) process as a case study.

Josẻ-Marcelino, Pedro

Toward a Shift in the Migration Paradigm:  Inclusion, Exclusion, Immigration and Development in the Cape Verde Islands

This thesis analyses Cape Verde’s pivotal position as a transhipment centre for Sub-Saharan African migrants in transit to Europe, suggesting the islands have become a liminal space and, often, a final destination for individual migratory projects.  The study discusses the early stages of public engagement with immigration, and how the debate is affecting the construction of identity and ideas about national development.  It proposes that the island should be understood within a wider migratory context that includes the changing geopolitics of Europe.  While also suggesting, from a strategic perspective, that immigration policies in the EU have pushed the de facto European border westwards and southwards to the West African coast between Morocco and Cape Verde, the thesis uses a postcolonial theoretical framework and proposes a specific model of inclusion and exclusion to understand the unique features of the integration of Africans in Cape Verde, with its specific racial ideology, hybridism.

Kerim, Rahma

When History Intervenes: The Prospects and Limitations for Participatory Resettlement in Contemporary Ethiopia

Michael Cernea’s Impoverishments, Risk and Reconstruction (IRR) model is the primary point of reference in planning and judging the adequacy of resettlement. Regarded by Cernea as central to the strategies charted out by the IRR model is the informed and active participation of dislocated peoples in resettlement. As the notion of participation is being embraced as an integral part of the solution to the conundrums associated with dislocation and resettlement, it has become more evident that the effectiveness of the term is closely related to both the social and political contexts of where its applied. This paper seeks to take up rare discussion on the contextual understanding of participation and resettlement in Ethiopia, in order to assess the IRR models strategies for resettlement with participation. This discussion is grounded on understanding the continuities and discontinuities of resettlement in Ethiopia as a case illustration to assess the practical and conceptual strengths and limitations of Michael Cernea’s Impoverishments Risks and Reconstruction model (IRR).

Kushnir, Meredith

Sowing Security, Harvesting change?  A Critical Examination of Agroecology as a Vehicle towards Food Sovereignty in Rural Gambia

Despite its pervasiveness in Africa, conventional agriculture has faces increasing criticism as environmentally socially and economically unsustainable.  Substantiating such claims were the 2008 global food crisis as well as ongoing hunger, malnourishment, and food insecurity that plague over one billion humans.  Staggeringly, nearly three-quarters of that one billion are small farmers, the majority of whom are women.  A crisis of this proportion has, among other things; led many to question the fundamental rationale of deepening free trade in agriculture and particularly, in Africa where agriculture and food systems based on sustainability, self reliance, and equitability have re-emerged as important political issues in the global south.

McEachern, Ashley

Understanding Resistance:  An Analysis of Resistances to Canadian Mining Corporations in Rural Honduras

Increasingly more communities across the globe are engaged in conflict with Canadian mining companies.  The communities throughout Honduras, the second poorest country in the Western hemisphere, are no stranger to these conflicts.  Nine years after Hurricane Mitch descended upon the most marginalized regions of the country, the Canadian gold mining companies that came in alongside relief efforts continue to exploit the land, the resources and the people of Honduras.  This resource exploitation has not gone uncontested.  Rather, resistance movements have emerged and activists are engaging in diverse strategies to negotiate their rights with mining companies and government officials.  In this paper, I will offer an exploration of the distinct experiences of resistance movement to mining in Honduras.  I will draw on resource mobilization theory to argue that the resistance movement to mining faces formidable challenges in its efforts to negotiate with mining companies.  There are three key factors that constrain the movement:  a lack of material and non-material resources, an unfavorable structure of political opportunities because of the repression of protest and the Honduran governments’ pro-mining position and the absence of bonding social capital as demonstrated by the disunity between community organizations.  This research will provide helpful insight for government policy makers, company-community relations officials and community activists about the nature of resistance movements and the factors that may lead to more harmonious relations between the various stakeholders.

Mohammed, Sara

NGO Social Service Delivery:  Displacing the State?

This study analyses a phenomenon that has become increasingly visible in the African continent:  this is the proliferation of NGO social service delivery.  In particular, it examines some of the ramifications of the shift from state to NGO service for the role of the state in development processes.  The work begins by a historical overview of African state agency in service delivery processes.  Following this, there is an analysis of the various drivers behind the growth of NGOs in service delivery.  Finally, the work looks at the implications of the expansion of NGO agency into spaces that were historically occupied by the state and the ensuing deligitimizing of the state.

Moreno, Claudia

Promoting Human Rights Through Human Rights Education:  The Mexican Experience

At present, the promotion of Human rights through Human Rights Education (HRE) is a theme explored from different approaches in diverse fields of study.  The potential of HRE has been praised by international organizations such as the United Nations who has urged governments to create national HRE strategies or plans as a way for promoting human rights in their territories.  The aim of this paper is to critically examine the strengths and limitations of the National Human Rights Education Plan (PNEDH) in Mexico.  The central argument is that although HRE has great potential for the promotion of human rights, particularly the right to education.  The limitations of National Human Rights Education Plan are due to four main factors:  Inadequate harmonization and coordination of tasks between specialized ministries of the state and civil society, insufficient public resources, lack of capacity to adopt or implement HRE themes in the formal curriculum and finally the formal school system in Mexico has not been able to acknowledge that there are factors that influence the outcome of HRE such as family and community.  The study concludes that in the analysis of the Mexican HRE experience, it is necessary to address the four limitations outlined and also to complement HRE with an efficient research system and effective access to justice to link HRE with the real promotion of human rights.

Nassrallah, Nadine

Access to Higher Education in Protracted Refugee Situations:  A Case Study of Palestinian Refugees in Lebanon

The vast migration of refugee populations throughout the developing world has presented more than merely geo-political disarray.  Both social and economic implications have arisen in terms of sustainability and development for these refugee groups.  Certain refugee situations have stretched into longer than expected periods of time, whereby some refugees have been born in the host country, yet have not been given any rights that one would have as a citizen.

Nelson, Nicole

Race in Development: How Race Informs and Impacts Southern Development Projects - A Case Study

This paper critically examines the role of race in the field of international development.  The aims of this study are to investigate how race operates within the context of Western development interventions, to explore the racialized underpinnings of development discourse, and to consider the function of practitioners’ positionality and racialized ontology in their interactions with the subject of development.  Through a qualitative study predominantly employing participant observation, this paper analyzes the experiences of the youth and directors of a non-governmental organization in Kampala, Uganda with foreign, short-term development practitioners.  It presents several vignettes and discusses possible meanings and implications as suggested by racialization and whiteness theory.

Quayyum, Nadine

Negotiating collective identity for differentiated citizenship:  processes of articulation and positioning in the Chittagong Hill Tracts, Bangladesh

This research paper examines the processes of collective identity formation as it pertains to communities in the Chittagong Hill Tracts.  It does do by detailing how collective identity formation was linked to the struggle for differentiated citizenship, which challenges the perceived ethnic homogeneity of Bangladesh.  Three central conclusions are subsequently drawn from this research.  The first is that the successful formation of a collective identity js the result of sustained cultural and political work among key actors of a given community, involving processes of articulation and positioning.  This serves to document the agency of these actors.  The second is that collective identities are constructed in relation to the availability of, and accessibility to, political opportunities.  The third is that collective identities correspond to specific contexts and thus offer different advantages for negotiating differentiated citizenship.

Reesor, Leah

Bringing The Outsiders In: Community-Based Organizations And Local Governance in Rural Haiti

This thesis examines the role of rural Haitian community-based development organizations (CBOs) in facilitating participation in local governance.  Based on a case study of three CBOs in two rural areas, the research finds that CBOs are actively involved in setting local governance agendas, and in taking on governance responsibilities in the absence of state.  Social stratification within CBOs, and the weakness of the local government structure are significant barriers to overcoming the long-standing marginalization of rural areas in Haiti.

Seymour, Margo

The Meaning of Midwifery in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico: Tradition, Modernity, Power and Agency

In a context of government efforts to increase access to doctor-led maternity care, this study seeks to explore the meanings clients and midwives give to a midwifery model which draws upon traditional and biomedical knowledge.  Along with participant observation, twenty-three in-depth, semi-structured interviews were held with midwives and midwifery clients in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico.  Participants consistently contrasted midwifery and doctor-led care preferring midwifery which they see as a move respectful and supportive care model that supports women’s knowledge, control and ability to birth ‘naturally.”  Main conclusions include that midwives and clients pragmatically weigh multiple factors as they actively resist less supportive care focused on efficiency and negotiate the power relations surrounding maternity care to create an alternative modernity.  This study argues that development efforts that aim to improve maternal health must go beyond a focus on birth outcomes and access to biomedical care to include women’s agency.

Stillo, Monica

Models of Social Development Applied in the Case of the “Plan Ceibal” in Uruguay

The central aim of this research is to critically examine the “Plan Ceibal” as a project for national development in Uruguay.  The study explores three areas: the development approach, focusing on the use of technology to promote social change; the role of the state as facilitator of such process; and the communication model to consider potentialities and limitations for social dialogue.  The method applied is a discourse analysis of the official documents issued by the various public offices during the last three years:  2007, 2008 and 2009.

Venkatachalam, Aparna

Assessing the strengths and limitations of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Initiatives:  A Case Study of two MNCs in the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) sector in Bangalore, India

This qualitative research study contributes to a contextualized understanding of the CSR policies of two IT companies operating in Bangalore, India.  The main purpose of this research is to investigate the strengths and limitations of CSR initiatives from the perspective of the project’s target population, and to critically analyze whether the CSR initiatives are responsive to the development needs, concerns, and priorities of the communities at the receiving end of these initiatives. Such an approach is crucial for understanding what CSR means for the poor and disadvantaged groups and how CSR can be utilized as a development tool for improving the lives of the marginalized and disadvantaged groups in India.

Vieira, Lino

Examining the Clean Development Mechanism:  Implications for combating climate change and for development

This Major Research Paper (MRP) examines the approval process of the United Nations Clean Development Mechanism (CDM), as it pertains to a reforestation projecting occurring in Minas Gerais, Brazil.  I examine and address the documentation used in the CDM approval process to assess this project’s contribution to offsetting greenhouse gas emissions and sustainable development.  This example allows me to discuss the practicalities, shortcomings and potential of the CDM.  Specifically, the concept of additionality and the project’s social and environmental contributions are scrutinized to identify whether some of the critiques surrounding the CDM are inherent or whether the problem lies in the initial selection and validation phrases.

Addison, Gilbert

Regional Disparities in Resource Allocation:  The Case of Northern Ghana

Perhaps one measure of the legitimate success of development is not only in how governments and policies deal with poverty, but also how they deal with regional inequalities which both produce and reinforce this.  Such is the case of a long and intractable problem of the multiple inequalities between the northern regions in Ghana and other parts of the country.  This study takes a critical look at the historical background of underdevelopment in northern Ghana.  While colonial anti-development policy, perceived by some writers, as the origin of northern Ghana’s poverty, is given a critical review, the study focuses primarily on the post-independence government policies of neglect and disparities in resource allocation, which have been reinforced by the World Bank’s economic reforms and neoliberal policies.  The study also explores the depth of poverty in the north, areas of resource disparities, some implications of these disparities, and why post-independence governments have not been able to change this colonial legacy.

Afridi, Momina

Analysing a Women’s Empowerment Program in Lahore, Pakistan

This paper looks at issues surrounding the definition, contestation and measurement of empowerment through analyzing an NGO-led women’s empowerment program in Lahore, Pakistan.  I suggest a framework consisting of three components (material component, critical consciousness component and the enabling environment component) that can aid the analysis of women’s empowerment programs in Pakistan and similar contexts.  Through looking at both micro-credit and adult-literacy/skills-building programs the paper emphasizes that empowerment of women must include both women’s practical and strategic interests in order to lead a long lasting transformations in their position.  The case study also suggests that an effort has to be made to include poor women in rural and slum settings, in the designing, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of their empowerment programs.

Allice, Ilana

Negotiating the Flood:  The Encounter with Climate Change in Tuvalu

The purpose of this thesis is to begin an unraveling of the encounter taking place between universal Climate Change and Tuvalu.  Based on ten weeks of fieldwork on two Tuvaluan islands, the work provides a preliminary description of the dynamics this encounter has generated and poses questions for further investigation of the topic.  Central to this encounter is the place of Christianity in the lives of Tuvaluan people.  The negotiations and new associations with Climate Change that emerge through the encounter raise questions about the politics of universal nature, knowledge, and faith.

Amoako, Esther

The African and Caribbean Council on HIV in Ontario and Community Participation:  Challenges and Prospects

The African and Caribbean Council on HIV/AIDS in Ontario (ACCHO) is a provincial organization committed to HIV prevention, treatment, research and advocacy.  A key principle of ACCHO’s strategy is ensuring that African and Caribbean community members are involved in its work.  Community participation has been identified as a critical component of HIV prevention worldwide.  This study examines the mechanisms that ACCHO has put in place to facilitate community participation.  To provide a balance view of how ACCHO involves the community in its work, the study also highlights some of the challenges associated with ACCHO’s work.

Banda, Mohamed

GHANA: DEVELOPMENT IN A BALANCE Between Energy Policy, Climate Change and Global Sustainable/Green Development

There is a direct link between energy and poverty as energy plays a critical role in reducing poverty and improving overall human welfare.  However, fossil fuels, the world primary energy source for development are also the main culprit for climate change.  Responding to climate change hinges on two fronts:  (a) developing renewable sources of energy for development, (b) addressing inequities between rich and poor nations.  This is recognized as global crises but it is a crucial front in the battle for global justice.  Green or Sustainable development is a huge capital investment not only in terms of renewable energy development, but also to upgrade the technology they power to make modern life possible.

Bourgeois, Anne-Marie

Agents and Appendages, ‘Ballers and Beggars:  A Critical Examination of Disability and Sport as a Vehicle of Development in Urban Ghana

Up until recently, persons with disability (PWD), and even more so, the relationship between disability and sports, had generally been written out of discussion of development.  Within the past fifteen years, however, there has been a proliferation of ‘development through sport’ initiatives and widespread promotion of the intended and unintended outcomes of participation in sport for persons living in low and middle-income countries.  Through qualitative research methods, this study explores the notion of sport and physical activity serving as a vehicle for the human development of PWD, namely in terms of its alleged ability to expand choices, as well as to foster inclusion, integration, health and well-being.  It presents these players as they are, active agents, and highlights their engagement in daily struggles to be taken seriously in sport and in society.  The setting is urban Ghana and the players are the female and male athletes of the Ghana Society for the Physically Disabled.

Chowdhury, Ezajul

Corruption and Development: A Case Study on an Upazila Parishod (Sub-District) in Bangladesh

This study explores corruption through the examination on an upazila parishod (Sub-district) in Bangladesh.  It analyzed primary and secondary data that gathered from different sources, including the field.  The study critically examines various aspects of corruption that affect the functions of decentralized local government and local development processes in Bangladesh.  The study views corruption as an institutional and political phenomenon.  In order to get a deeper understanding of the phenomenon, the study also examines different cases and considers individual perspectives on how individuals deal with corruption.

Fazel, Narges

Reconciliation in Transitional Societies Building Durable Peace:  At the Nexus of Security, Development, and Governance in Ghana and Liberia

Why Pursue Peace and Development?  One of the world’s most pressing and complex issues is the preservation of peace.  Since the founding of the United Nations, there have been more than one hundred major conflicts that have left millions of people dead, and resulted in millions of internally displaced persons or refugees, many of whom have fallen victim of war crimes and crimes against humanity.  The causes of conflict are pervasive and the consequences are devastating and toxic.  When conflict breaks out, development is derailed and human rights violations imploded, with profound implications on human security, justice, equality, local infrastructure and institutions, and social, political, and economic development.

Issaka, Fauzia

“Making Noise”: The Role of Women’s NGOs in the Passage of Ghana’s Domestic Violence Act

This paler examines how Ghanaian women’s NGOs succeeded in raising public awareness about domestic abuse, and lobbying for a Domestic Violence Act, 2007 (Act 732).  Employing a combination of primary and secondary research, I trace the activities that led to the Domestic Violence Act, and discuss the advocacy strategies women’s NGOs used to tackle domestic abuse within a larger framework of promoting gender justice.  My framework is informed by Keck and Sikkink’s (1998) analysis of how women’s groups mobilize to address gender inequalities and shape policy outcomes, namely through the dynamic interaction between three factors:  political opportunities, forming strategic alliances and framing domestic violence as a human rights violation.

Kelterborn, Kenzie

Is Participatory Development A Means To Local Democracy? The Case of Decentralization in Kerala, India

In countries that are a part of the ‘late-developing world’, there often exists certain social, economic, and political conditions that inhibit the opportunity and capability of subordinate groups to exercise their rights, participate in governance, and socially and/or economically benefit from ‘development’ projects or reforms.  Although there is no ‘one-size-fits-all” approach to development, I will be examining democratic decentralization as one means to local development.  The success of Kerala’s development model is gauged by Sen’s (1999) capability model, as well as one of Crook and Sverrisson’s (1999) areas of impact: responsiveness.  The main factor in the success of democratic decentralization in Kerala is the working relationship between the state and civil society.  This paper concludes with the notion that it is not the role of democratic decentralization to directly reduce poverty.  It may however, provide the environment to participate, tools, infrastructure, and knowledge transfer, all of which can possibly increase ‘freedoms’ and ‘capability’ for a better life.

Korzun, Monika

“We have communism now, but under the EU not Russia.” The Relationship between the European and farmers in Poland:  ‘Expert’ vs. Local Knowledge

The Polish agricultural sector and rural communities have experienced rapid changes since Poland entered the European Union (EU) in 2004.  Poland, in comparison to other EY members continues to have the largest rural population and employment in the agricultural sector.  Despite these facts, the Polish rural population has experienced social exclusion and inequality.  Although the EU has setout many goals for rural communities in Poland, economic goals rather than livelihoods of local farmers appear to be the focus.  As a result, local farmers are pressured to alter the structure of their farm and farming activities in ways in which local knowledge is managed and reproduced are also shifting.  Drawing upon literature of the EU and agricultural programs in Poland as well interviews with local farmers in the region of Suwalki, Poland, this paper critically examines the ways in which EU’s agricultural policies and programs are altering the everyday lives of farmers in Poland.

Ly, Boubacar

The International Aid Architecture and Peacebuilding in Sierra Leone:  A Critical Examination of the 1906 Electoral Process

In this post-Cold War era, war and civil unrest have become scourges that must be prevented and controlled, and peacebuilding has been mobilized to that end.  In this context, democracy promotion or holding elections are viewed as the best legitimate means for conflict resolution.  However, ill-timed post-conflict elections might end up exacerbating the conflicts they are intended to end.  As this critical examination of the 1996 Sierra Leone post-conflict elections suggests, the international community’s heavy focus on elections as strategy for war termination and democratization is sometimes driven by ideology rather than the quest for a pragmatic solution that would befit the specific dynamics of the conflict they are managing.  Although the Sierra Leone 1996 electoral process successfully ensured the transfer of power to civilian a civilian government, they nonetheless failed to meet the dual objectives of peacebuilding: war termination and democratization.

Nowak, Katherine

Globalization and Economic Policy in Guyana: An examination of economic change and the effects of policy on low-income women

The globalization of neoliberal economic policy has brought many challenges for women living in the Caribbean. In Guyana economic events such as the introduction Structural Adjustment Programs and the new Value Added Tax have resulted in difficult consequences for low-income women.  Their participation in local, regional and national economies is from insignificant, despite their lack of appearance in census data and other conventional economic indicators.  Guyanese women’s unpaid labour or ‘caring work’ is necessary to the functioning of the economy and society; however, national economic policies, which are influenced by the international community, continue to ignore their basic needs and their economic success.

Rayle, Siham

Negotiating Power:  TOSTAN’S Village Empowerment Program and the Movement To Abandon Female Circumcision in Senegal

Women’s empowerment programs seeking to abandon female circumcision need to give importance to the process of achieving empowerment as well as the outcome within any abandonment program.  Empowerment in this paper is defined as a process of engagement, debate and collective effort to negotiate power relations for women in Senegal who practice circumcision as a product of culture or religion and to enact agency over their decision-making capabilities.  This definition allows us to focus on the abandonment of female circumcision in Senegal.  Three major conclusions are drawn from this study.  First, this study involves a discussion on the meaning of a process-oriented approach to empowerment.  Second, throughout this study social norms are used to negotiate power and account for a sense of agency for women in Senegal.  Lastly, the language of rights is used which involves methods which view women and men as central to social transformation.

Solomon, Jacqueline

Fair Trade Cotton: Peril and Promise in the Garment Industry

This paper explores some of the fundamental problems in the Global Apparel Value Chain, and looks at how Fair Trade can and cannot respond to these issues.  It addresses the question of whether Fair Trade can create a legitimate alternative to what has historically been an exploitative industry.  In the first section, the paper breaks down the chain into its main stakeholders, that is, farmers, textile workers and consumers.  It first looks at what the main challenges are for each sector.  The second section follows with an analysis of Fair Trade’s history, looking at how the movement grew over time and what it currently means, including an examination of what different models of Fair Trade mean for producers, workers and the overall structure of Fair Trade certification.  The final section looks at the major objections to Fair Trade in the Global Apparel Value Chain and addresses these concerns.  It follows by examining Fair Trade’s application and potential outcomes for the main stakeholders described above.