Development Assistance and Conflict Resolution

Lake Awassa

This project comprises the dissertation research of IEDS doctoral fellow Anjanette DeCarlo.

To successfully reduce poverty, professionals need to know why international development projects fail. Inconsistencies in policy on foreign aid miss the links between the environment and sustainability and lead to a trust deficit between development donors and aid recipients. This thesis asks a fundamental question of what are the critical ingredients of success in development projects that aspire to meet goals of “sustainability.”

In this context, three real world ongoing projects have been selected that are guided by flexible and participatory development approaches and a drive for sustainability. The dissertation hypothesizes that responsible business, women’s empowerment and civil society mediation can play integral roles in project success. This proposal lays out a research plan that will create case studies of each project using the method of Ethnography and Auto Ethnography.

The three case studies are:

Paper 1. “Sustainable Business in Somalia’s Critical Green Zone: Somaliland and the Frankincense Industry”

Paper 2. “In Her Words: Empowering Women in Post Conflict Sierra Leone”

Paper 3. “Grassroots to Grassroots: NGO Ownership in the Dominican Republic Through Professional Capacity Building between Developed and Developing Countries.”

The tools will differ for each case study and include direct observation, focus groups, semi-structured and narrative interviews and formative program evaluations. The information and data will be analyzed by Qualitative Content Analysis using the Mayring method, which consists of a bundle of techniques for systematic text analysis. The software tool identified for qualitative content analysis is MAXQDA, which allows for analysis of trends in answers between different stakeholders within the same case study as well as be able to analyze trends over the course of time in some instances. Overall insights and themes between the case studies and how they relate to development will be analyzed as well. The intended audience is academics, development professionals, multilaterals/bilateral agencies, foundations and civil society organizations.

Special thanks to our partners University of Burao, Somaliland, Vermont Institute for the Caribbean and the Population Media Center.

For more information, please contact: