Accepted paper:

The power to do good: the transformative roles of donors and 'beneficiaries' in dairy development


Ben Eyre (University of Manchester)

Paper short abstract:

This paper explores dairy dwvelopment as a 'programme of action' (Latour 1992), comparing paradigm shifts within an NGO's work donors and 'beneficiaries'. It suggests that focussing on materiality can help to reinvigorate the interrogation of development hierarchies

Paper long abstract:

Dairy cows are lauded as an appropriate technology that can transform the lives of Tanzanian smallholder farmers. In Rungwe District, these cows have become near ubiquitous in some areas. This paper looks at the processes through which am NGO promoting dairy development has achieved such success. It focusses on the introduction of these cows as a 'programme of action' (Latour 1992) in which a series of paradigm shifts are needed to further the innovation, and through which it is transformed. The supposed 'beneficiaries' have remade dairy development as they have enabled it. The NGO rely on another group in order to instantiate their programmes: and they have proved extremely popular with US donors. Sourcing money,through a distinct set of paradigm shifts, is a second'programme of action' for the NGO. Through it they 'concretise' compassion (Feldman 2011) and fund the purchase of cows and their ongoing operations. But attention to materials, and to processes, shows that donor preferences are not forced on 'beneficiaries', and is the reverse allowed. The programmes of action diverge through the paradigm shifts I note. In tracing this divergence and comparing the efficacy of these processes I propose a method of interrogating development hierarchies that is grounded in materiality.

panel O2
Thinking through aid objects to open up development