INTL 422/522 Aid to Developing Countries 

Spring 2014

Professor Anita M. Weiss













                  Course Syllabus and Outline
This course examines the history and current realities of international bilateral and multilateral development assistance. After placing globalization and development assistance in an historical context, we will look at different kinds of aid which exists, the debate over what is to be developed, the project planning and assessment process, and the rise in importance of NGOs in the aid arena today. We then review and critique the current aid emphasis on promoting democratization, civil society and human rights, and the mandates of the Millennium Declaration. The course culminates in our own aid consortium simulation, where students have the opportunity to experience the decision-making process first-hand. Our emphasis throughout is on the development process and its critics, which could lead to a greater understanding of both the possibilities and the constraints of aid.

We will try to break down into small group discussions as much as possible. Therefore, try to finish all readings prior to the beginning of the segment in which they will be discussed. Limited recommended readings have been included as background supplements and for those who would like to read further on a given issue. Readings other than those from the required texts have been kept at a minimum, and are accessoble below via this course website.

Course Objectives

1. To understand how the global system of bilateral and multilateral development assistance is structured and functions today, and to assess its effectiveness critically;

2. To understand the historical background to the current system, as well as various orientations towards globalization and development assistance;

3. To gain an awareness of the various actors involved in international development assistance and in the development process, particularly i) the United Nations and its constituent multilateral donor agencies; ii) key bilateral donor agencies (especially JICA and USAID); iii) international non-governmental organizations (INGOs); and iv) local non-governmental organizations (NGOs)

4. To learn specific skills including how a project is envisioned and planned, assessment tools (e.g., RRA, LFA and PRA), how to promote participatory development, and standard evaluative methods (e.g., ‘successes, failures and lessons learned’)

Course Outline

WEEK I April 1-3 Introduction to the course, the project process, and development assistance as an issue

Please review the project information and ascertain your top three choices for a group you’d like to be in. We will try to finalize the group project list by the end of the first week of classes (thereby underscoring the importance of starting to research this early!). Yen Tran (International Documents, Knight library) joins us on April 3rd to discuss strategies for project research.

Required Reading:
Chambers, pp. ix-x (accessible here)
de Haan, pp. ix-xi
Mawdsley, Introduction (pp. 1-16)
Picard & Buss, pp. 3-8

"USAID and 32 Partner Organizations Launch U.S. Global Development Lab to help end Extreme Poverty by 2030" April 3, 2014

WEEK II  April 8-10   Historical contexts of Globalization and Development assistance

Required Reading:
Chambers, pp. 3-5, 15-20 (accessible here)
de Haan, pp. 63-88
Mawdsley, Chapter One (pp. 17-47) and Chapter Two (pp. 48-77)
Picard & Buss, pp. 21-31, 37-60, 65-80, 83-99
UNDP HDR, pp. 21-29
Address by General George C. Marshall, June 5, 1947 (The Marshall Plan)


WEEK III April 15-17    The debate over what is to be developed
Discussion questions are linked here

Required Reading:
Chambers, pp. 31-34, 43-45, 54-59, 99-102, 125-128, 145-147
de Haan, pp. 1-19
Mawdsley, Chapter Three (pp. 78-110)
Picard & Buss, pp. 13-19
UNDP HDR, pp. 21-41
* Majid Rahnema (ed.) The Post-Development Reader Zed Books, 1997: Helena Norberg- Hodge “Learning from Ladakh” pp. 22-29; Ashis Nandy “Colonization of the Mind” pp. 168-178; and Eduardo Galeano “To Be Like Them” pp. 214-222
*United Nations Commission on Human Rights “The Right to Development” also see the U.N. General Assembly “Declaration on the Right to Development

The current development debate:
William Easterly "The Aid Debate is Over" December 26, 2013
Jeffrey Sachs "The Case for Aid" Foreign Policy January 21, 2014
William Easterly "Western Vanities that do little to help the World's Poor" Financial Times 2014


WEEKS IV & V      Major forms of assistance; Methods used in project planning,
April 22-24,              capacity building, assessment, and safeguards for sustainability;
  29 & May 1           the mandate of the MDGs (Millennium Development Goals)  

Where does USAID's money go? USAID Fast Facts on ODA
The World Cup meets the MDGs! Link here
EU Aid Explorer: Development Atlas (interesting tool - do play around with this!)

Required Reading:
Chambers, pp. 9-14, 37-39, 40-42, 46-53, 65-73, 82-84, 90-92, 93-96, 111-118, 150-153, 171-178,
de Haan, pp. 21-60, 91-109
Mawdsley, pp. Chapter Four (pp. 111-144)
Picard & Buss, pp. 119-124, 193-216
UNDP HDR, pp. 43-61, 63-85, 144-147, 156-159
*UNDP Millennium Development Goals website      
*USAID Primer: What We Do and How We Do It
*UNESOSOC MDGs and post-2015 Development Agenda
*USAID Assistance to Kenya

WEEK VI  May 6       In-class mid-term examination

WEEK VI   May 8      Policy dialogue and structural adjustment                                  

Required Reading:
de Haan, pp. 111-133, 135-149
Picard & Buss, pp. 124-146
*David Leonhardt "Hopeful Message about the World's Poorest" New York Times 22 March 2011


WEEK VII                Democratization and Human Rights
  May 13-15               
Discussion questions are linked here

Required Reading:
Chambers, pp. 107-110, 154-162
de Haan, pp. 151-171
Mawdsley, Chapter Six (pp. 172-208)
Picard & Buss, pp. 155-168, 173-185
UNDP HDR, pp. 105-123, 170-173, 174-177

*"Poor governance keeps Pakistan from meeting MDGs" Dawn, October 10, 2012


WEEK VIII                   Global Diversity and Southern Empowerment
 May 20-22               
        Discussion questions are linked here

                        *Final essay assignment is linked here

 *Note: Country reports and donor profiles due in class on May 20th and will be accessible via the course website (through the Participants page) by May 22nd

Required Reading:
Chambers, pp. 139-140
de Haan, pp. 151-171
Mawdsley, pp. Chapter Five (pp. 145-171)
UNDP HDR, pp. 1-18, 87-103

TED talk (video): Sanjay Pradhan: How open data is changing international aid


WEEK IX   May 27-29        How does aid work?

*Note for May 27th: Based on additional information they have garnered from the donor profiles, each country group will make a 15-minute presentation based on their aid needs.

*Note for May 29th: We will hold our Aid Consortium Simulation, an opportunity for donor organizations and countries to meet face-to-face, make bargains and reach some understanding. The consortium will be held in Ford Alumni Center.     

WEEK X  June 3, 5 & 6   
Does Aid work? Can Aid work? Critique of Process and Theories

*Note: Donor organizations will report on what percentage of their aid budgets will go to each country, and what was the basis for this decision.

Required Reading:
Chambers, pp. 203-206
de Haan, pp. 173-187, 189-195
Mawdsley, Chapter Seven (pp. 209-218)
Picard & Buss, pp. 249-273, 281-296

*What's in store for the next MDGs: The World in 2030 syllabus

Advice as you go out into the world!

* Nellie Bristol "Do UN Global Development Goals Matter to the U.S.?" Center for Strategic & International Studies, May 2013

FINAL CLASS MEETING: Friday, June 6th, 6:30 p.m. [Final essay assignment due in class]
Lewis Lounge, 4th floor, Knight Law School, Agate & 15th Street

You are cordially invited to attend the concluding ceremonies of the International Development Assistance Consortium. Participants are requested to bring food and/or beverages from their respective countries. We will have the opportunity to critique the aid process as well as the course.

Note to delegates:
Please keep the time and location confidential, for security concerns




Click here to reduce hunger

f">Click here to reduce hunger

l> t>

Click here to reduce hunger


Click here to reduce hunger

f">Click here to reduce hunger

l> l> f">Click here to reduce hunger