Click the star to add/remove an item to/from your individual schedule.
You need to be logged in to avail of this functionality, and to see the links to virtual rooms.

Accepted Paper:

'White gold' and impact work: audit, metrics, and opportunities in Tanzanian dairy development  
Ben Eyre (University of East Anglia)

Paper short abstract:

The value chain approach to dairy development requires ‘impact work’ by funders, implementers, and supposed beneficiaries to create evidence to pursue their interests. I explore its effects without uncovering an ‘audit juggernaut’ (Sampson 2015) by attending to its uneven transformation of subjects.

Paper long abstract:

Dairy development projects have proliferated in Tanzania, characterised by a 'value chain approach' (Freeman 2013) that valorises market-based and technological fixes. Despite claims that milk is ‘white gold’ (dhahabu nyeupi) for farmers, the rewards flow to small numbers of elites: largely international NGOs and companies, national institutions, and connected consultants.

A value chain approach requires the production of impact data to show 'what works' through metrics that demonstrate efficacy and efficiency; enabling comparison with financial return on investment and influence on government policy. Based on eighteen months of fieldwork, I show how this is possible because of work by funders, implementers, and supposed beneficiaries of these projects. Influenced by analysis of 'metrics work' (Adams 2015) in global health, I suggest that 'impact work' is somehow common to poor smallholder farmers and billionaire philanthropists such as Bill Gates: all are involved in the production and use of evidence of impact to further their interests in and through dairy development.

Impact work is not adequately explained by or as neoliberal governmentality and does not uniformly shape the behaviour, intentions, or subjectivity of those who carry it out. Rather than uncovering an ‘audit juggernaut’ (Sampson 2015) I show how impact work functions without co-opting actors and with minimal collaboration or even commonality. Neither does impact work fail because of ignorance of local knowledge (Scott 1998). Impact work works because it enables the obviation of differing perspectives and through this contributes to profoundly asymmetric effects characteristic of opportunities afforded by ‘white gold’.

Panel Pol03a
Beyond 'audit cultures'? New critical approaches to accountability, responsibility, and metrics I
  Session 1 Monday 21 June, 2021, -