Accepted Paper:

Negotiating ownership: effects of external resources and reporting requirements on donor and civil society relations  


Andreas Wagner (University of Hildesheim)

Paper short abstract:

This paper argues that external aid increases the workload of civil society groups. This can finally lead to negotiations over ownership between donors and civil society groups, in which the later are especially able to request for specific inputs within the logical frame of the projects.

Paper long abstract:

Civil society organizations play a vital role in the response to HIV and AIDS in sub-Saharan Africa. The focus of this paper is on the effects of foreign aid and resulting negotiation processes in development cooperation. The results are based on a qualitative research and consultancy of a cooperation program between a large international child-welfare organization and local community groups aiming to provide social support to orphans and vulnerable children. The data was collected through participant observation in meetings, 22 key informant interviews and 66 focus group discussions with community initiative members and beneficiaries, NGO staff and government representatives in Ethiopia, Kenya, Mozambique, Uganda and Zambia.

The study findings indicate that inputs of the international NGO have various impacts on CBOs, including an additional workload through monitoring and reporting requirements. These additional tasks might not directly benefit the cause of the CBOs and result in a low feeling of ownership of the projects, which can be illustrated by passive resistance, e.g. through slowing down processes, or even retreat from the common project by reducing their own inputs and requests for payment. Since the NGO wants the CBOs to continue with their work, this can lead to negotiations over project ownership, in which the CBOs can demand an adjustment of reporting requirements to make them more suitable to their way of support. CBOs can further refer to and demand promised support or even request additional inputs from the NGO, as long as the requested resources fulfill the donor's internal project logic.

Panel P013
Governing AIDS through aid to civil society: power, responsibilization and resistance