INTL 422/522 Aid to Developing Countries 

Spring 2017

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 that exists, the debate over what is to be developed and how that should occur, the project planning and assessment process, the rise in importance of NGOs in the aid arena today process, and the challenges of providing effective aid in the future. We also review and critique the current aid emphasis on promoting democratization, civil society and human rights, and the new Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). 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. 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 and PRA), how to promote participatory development, and standard evaluative methods (e.g., ‘successes, failures and lessons learned’)

5. Develop abilities for working as part of a team, specifically: working together to research a problem; assess needs and priorities collaboratively; contribute collectively to authoring a professional document; making collaborative judgments; and negotiating as a team member.

Course Outline

WEEK I April 4-6          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!). The International Documents librarian, Victoria Mitchell, joins us on April 6th to discuss strategies for project research.

Required Reading:
Carothers & deGramont, pp. vii-viii, 3-17
Levy, pp. xi-xvi
Ramalingam, pp. ix-xix
HDR 2016, pp. iii-iv, 1-9

WEEK II  April 11-13   Historical contexts of globalization and development assistance
                                                              Isbister's definition of 'Third World' (Promises Not Kept: the Betrayal of Social Change in the Third World 7th edition
                                                                                                                                 Kumarian Press, 2006)
                                                              Wrapping up Week 2 Notes
Required Reading:
Carothers & deGramont, pp. 21-54, 55-88, 89-124
Levy, pp. 3-11
Ramalingam, pp. 3-41
Address by General George C. Marshall, June 5, 1947 (The Marshall Plan)


WEEK III April 18-20    The debate over what is to be developed
Discussion questions are linked here    Notes on in-class comments

Required Reading:
Carothers & deGramont, pp. 125-154
Levy,pp. 12-27, 30-44
Ramalingam, pp. 42-73, 74-99
HDR 2016, pp. 10-21
* 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

Recommended Reading:
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


WEEKS IV & V      Major forms of assistance; Methods used in project planning,
April 25-27              capacity building, assessment, and safeguards for sustainability;
  May 2-4                 the mandate of the SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals)

                                       Review Guide for the Midterm is here

EU Aid Explorerinteresting tool - do play around with this!

Required Reading:
Carothers & deGramont, pp. 157-194
Levy, pp. 51-69, 72-93, 179-200
Ramalingam, pp. 133-166, 230-236
HDR 2016, pp. 24-47, 50-75, Table I pp. 198-201, Table IV pp. 210-213    Highlights of the impact of the HDR
The 2030 Agenda, the SDGs and Human Development Sustainable Development Knowledge Platform: Transforming our World
*UN Sustainable Development Goals 
*USAID "Who We Are" and other links
*USAID "USAID History"
*CNN "Alarm Bells Ring for Charities as Trump pledges to slash Foreign Aid Budget" March 1, 2017
Foreign Policy Magazine "The End of Foreign Aid As We Know It" April 24, 2017

WEEK VI  May 9     
  In-class mid-term examination

WEEK VI   May 11      Enhancing Aid Effectiveness and Promoting Policy Dialogue                                  

Required Reading:
HDR 2016, pp. 76-81
* Nellie Bristol "Do UN Global Development Goals Matter to the U.S.? Center for Strategic & International Studies, May 2013
*Laurence Chandy, Brina Seidel and Christine Zhang “Aid Effectiveness in Fragile States: How bad is it and how can it improve?” Brookings Institution, Number 5, December 2016, pp. 1-38


WEEK VII                Democratization, Good Governance and 'Human Development for Everyone'
  May 16-18               
Discussion questions are linked here

Required Reading:
Carothers & deGramont, pp. 195-224
Levy, 119-134, 135-158, 159-178
Ramalingam, pp. 245-271
HDR 2016, 84-102

WEEK VIII              "The Way Ahead"
 May 23-25                
Discussion questions are linked here

                                    Final essay assignment is linked here

 *Note: Country reports and donor profiles due in class on May 23 and will be accessible via the course website (through the Participants page) by May 25

Required Reading:
Carothers & deGramont, pp. 225-253
Levy, pp. 203-207
Ramalingam, pp. 272-298, 299-326
HDR 2016, pp. 104-133, 137-160
* Jeff Sachs "Work Needed to hit UN Poverty Goals" Boston Globe October 5, 2016
* Interesting article sent in by Keya Saxena "Secret Aid Worker: Why don't we Practise what we Preach about Gender Inequality?" The Guardian, May 9, 2017

WEEK IX   May 30-June 1        How does aid work?

*Note for May 30: 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 June 1: 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 rooms 301, 302 & 303 in the Ford Alumni Center.
                                  Attendance at the Aid Consortium class is mandatory

WEEK X  June 6, 8 & 9  
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:
Carothers & deGramont, pp. 255-284
Levy, pp. 308-323
Ramalingam, pp. 327-356, 357-363
HDR 2016, pp. 162-169

Advice as you go out into the world!

FINAL CLASS MEETING: Friday, June 9, 6:30 p.m. [Final essay assignment due in class]
Lewis Lounge, 4th floor, Knight Law School, Agate & 15th Street
                                  Attendance at this extra class is mandatory

You are cordially invited to attend the concluding ceremonies of the International Development Assistance Consortium. Participants are requested to bring food and beverages from their respective countries or agencies. 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