Project Description

Power and Service

A critical essay about the functioning of Dutch private development organisations 

At the request of the magazine Vice Versa Fons van der Velden wrote in April 2019 a critical essay about the functioning of Dutch private development organisations that provide funding to development organisations in low- and medium-income countries

In his essay Fons van der Velden argues that Dutch private development organisations still face five largely interrelated challenges: many organisations continue to struggle to respond appropriately to the major paradigm shift of recent decades; local capacities are often under-appreciated; it continues to be difficult to treat organisations from low- and medium-income countries’ as equal partners; value addition of Northern agencies in the aid chain is often difficult to find (a theory of efficiency is absent); Monitoring and Evaluation systems are mainly design in the North with limited input of Southern partners and have a bias towards upward (donor) accountability.

Despite the fact that the legitimacy and moral authority of Dutch private development organisations have come under increasing pressure in recent years only marginal changes take place. The way organisations behave is reminiscent of the orchestra of the Titanic: just keep on playing and pretend there is nothing wrong. Fons van der Velden argues that the time has come to rethink the role and function of these Dutch private development organisations fundamentally.

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