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6 Knowledge-Based Development Assistance The Standard Methodology and Its Problems The Standard Theory-in-Use In this chapter and the next, the focus is on the cognitive side of autonomy -respecting assistance. The helper is a development agency, and the doers are some group in need of development assistance (e.g., policymakers and government of‹cials in a developing country). One prominent case of knowledge-based development assistance is the vision of the World Bank operating as the “knowledge bank.”1 How do the three Dos and two Don’ts translate into guidelines for knowledgebased development assistance? The main problem in knowledge-based development assistance is the standard, default, or naive theory-in-use (regardless of the self-help rhetoric in the “espoused theory”)2 that the agency has “development knowledge” in the form of answers encapsulated in standard core courses that need to be taught, transmitted, and transferred to the target population of trainees. That methodology is taken as so obvious that the focus is simply on how to deliver the knowledge, how to scale up the knowledge transmission belt into the client country, and how to measure and evaluate the impact of these dissemination efforts.3 121 This standard view of knowledge-based development assistance is based on the pedagogy that sees the learners as essentially passive containers into which knowledge is poured. It is the theory that Paulo Freire calls the “banking” theory since teaching was seen as depositing knowledge into a bank account (1970). The standard theory is also captured by the old Chinese simile of help as “giving out ‹sh.” The Volitional and Cognitive Sides of Helping Theory First we need to revisit and make more explicit the analogies between the volitional and cognitive sides of helping theory. Karl Marx juxtaposed changing the world to (merely) describing the world. In the one case (volition), the idea is to change the world (action) to match some desired representation, and in the other case (cognition), the idea is to change the representation (judgment) to match the world. In most examples of the helper-doer relationship, the volitional and cognitive elements are thoroughly intermixed. But there are limit cases that are concerned with volitional action (e.g., lump-sum ‹nancial aid) or cognition (e.g., Socratic teaching). Each topic is developed in its own terms, but here it is perhaps helpful to summarize the analogies and comparisons (table 4). Ownership Problems In accordance with the principle of people owning the fruits of their labor, the doers will have ownership when they are in the driver’s seat (indeed, the term doers would not be accurate if they had a passive role). In the standard view of knowledge-based assistance, the helpers are teachers or trainers taking the active role to transmit knowledge for development to the passive but grateful clients. Since this knowledge for development is offered below cost or for free as an “international public good,” it is quite tempting for the developing countries to accept this sort of knowledge-based development assistance. There are even positive incentives such as extensive travel, pleasant accommodations, generous per diems, and other vacation-like bene‹ts offered to those who undergo the training. From the agency side, management pushes task managers or trainers “to show results”— particularly results that can be observed and evaluated back at headquarters (such as the head count in training programs). The task man122 HELPING PEOPLE HELP THEMSELVES agers need to show that they have “given out a certain number of ‹sh” or even better that they have helped set up a “‹sh distribution system” to scale up the delivery of the knowledge to the client country. Thus the helpers need to take ownership of the process of assistance in order to show results, and the clients are agreeably induced to go along.4 This is not a new problem. It is a version of the organizational tendency of schools to hold teachers responsible for the students’ learning. For instance, one would hope that the substantive goal of schoolteachers is to awaken a self-starting learning capacity in the students—but that goal is dif‹cult for a third party to objectively certify. Hence the measurable proxy goal of passing standard tests is used, and then teachers are pushed by educational administrators to ful‹ll the results-based Knowledge-Based Development Assistance 123 TABLE 4. Volitional and Cognitive Version of Themes General theme in helper-doer relation Volitional Side Cognitive Side First do: Helper starting...


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