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Overcoming development aid fatigue, deciding together and shifting power to communities in Africa

This paper explores community development as an effective participatory approach to overcome development fatigue. The first section focuses on the dynamics of donor fatigue while the second section explores the fatigue experienced by implementing civil society organizations from the global south and the effect on the communities they serve. Since power imbalances are the common trait to all stakeholders’ fatigues (donors, civil society organizations and beneficiaries), this paper will then explore how to streamline and shift power between stakeholders, and move from a top bottom to a bottom up approach where beneficiaries’ communities own and decide their development agenda.

This paper further presents selected case studies of organizations in the global south that have successful experiences in using participatory approaches for grant making (FRIDA), civic engagement (MIYO), community philanthropy (GFCF) and community led development (NADeF). The lessons learned by each of the selected organizations would enable us to proof recommendations on how to address unhealthy power dynamics and overcome development fatigue by shifting power and using innovative participatory approaches.

Authors: Christian C.N. Elongue & Charles Kojo VanDyck

Published: February 2021

Published by: West Africa Civil Society Institute (WACSI)

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