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From donor-driven to self-sufficient: Story of the Zambian Governance Foundation

Every so often, and with increasing frequency, I’m reminded of the fact that working in development is for many a deeply personal affair. Having prepared a set of largely technical questions for Barbara Nöst, CEO of the Zambian Governance Foundation (ZGF) for civil society, I was delighted when our conversation took a far more personal turn as we began to discuss how to challenge deeply entrenched power imbalances in the way that Northerners seek to ‘programme’ in Southern co

Name & praise: What we can all learn from community philanthropy

This post is part of my name and praise series. A counterpoint to naming and shaming, I highlight best practice in creating more equitable relationships between Southern and Northern development actors. I have a confession. Despite working in international development for quite a while, I have been (and still am) largely ignorant about community philanthropy. That is possibly because it sits proudly and deliberately outside of ‘traditional’ international development approache

Step 1: Acknowledging the effects of power imbalances in development

Power imbalances and asymmetries are a structural reality of the international development system. They always have been. These imbalances have received greater attention from Northern actors over the past decade or so (for instance through this Wilton Park conference), but there is still little acknowledgement of their centrality to ongoing debates about aid effectiveness.  Even the Sustainable Development Goals don’t explicitly talk about power imbalances and equity. In fac