5 Principles for Maintaining Downward Accountability When Supporting Community-Based Development

The success and ongoing relevancy of community-based development initiatives is largely dependent on the ability of community workers and NGO’s to maintain their accountability to stakeholders at the grassroots. However, downward accountability can become compromised by various top-down pressures from donors (the so-called alien hand syndrome) but other structural issues faced by NGOs can also compromise accountability […]

The Case for Capacity Development in Community-Based Conservation Efforts

In the protection and management of natural resources, it is widely agreed that human social, political, cultural and economic systems must be part of the equation (Berkes 2004; Kates et al. 2001; Gunderson & Holling 2002). In recent years, community-based and collaborative conservation have been increasingly recognized as alternatives to the dominant paradigm of top-down, […]

The Role of Participatory Monitoring and Evaluation in Community-Based Development

Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) is an important part of building both accountability and a learning process into the development program from the beginning, both within and between communities and organizations. M&E should be incorporated into each phase of the community development process and included into implementation planning as a concrete plan for M&E drawn up […]

Hard and Soft Appropriate Technologies and the Technology Generation Process

Appropriate Technology (AT) is a way of thinking about the choices and the applications of technology to solve a problem or to create something, such as a structure, a machine, an instrument or a system. Appropriate technology “involves a search for technologies that have beneficial effects on income distribution, human development, environmental quality, and the distribution […]

The Economic Logic of Resource-Scarce Communities: A Guide for Western Community Workers

For western community workers (whether they be expatriates from a western country, locals raised in relatively affluent western educated families or settlers on colonized lands) the economic logic of resource-scarce communities can seem confusing, irrational and even counter to their own best interests. If this profile fits you, you’ve probably asked yourself: Why do people seem […]

A Different Way of Thinking About Development, Praxis and Humanization

Around the world, wealth is measured in many ways. There is  a diversity of  definitions of what it means to be well-off, for example, the country of Bhutan has a measurement of Gross National  Happiness as opposed to the usual Gross Domestic Product as a measurement of how well a country is doing.  Development always […]

17 International Development Terms And Their Use Trends Over The Last 70 Years

While doing research for an upcoming course, I found myself captivated by a tool developed by Google to analyze search trends called, you guessed it “Google Trends“. The way it works is that you enter a keyword like “community development” and it will generate a chart displaying search volume over time. The problem with Google Trends however […]

Breaking-out of the Piecemeal Project Approach: The Importance of Holistic Community Planning

In a recent blog post I argued that if international community development is a “wicked problem” than we should follow the advice of Head and Wei-Ning (2016) and stop “cherry picking” problems and instead adopt an APT (Adaptive, Participatory, and Transdisciplinary) approach. However, the authors give very little insight into what this might actually look like […]

Applying the APT Approach to Wicked Problems in International Community Development.

What are wicked problems? Can sustainable community development be considered a wicked problem? If so, what value does this this lens provide us, what changes in policy and practice does it imply and what is preventing international non-governmental organizations from addressing wicked problems? In a perspective essay in the forthcoming October 2016 edition of the journal […]

Tourism “business as usual” is Broken: Reflections on the Global Tourism Industry

By Cynthia Ord, Tourism and Development Online Course Instructor Tues Nov 8 is an important date for Americans – the federal election will determine our new president. Meanwhile, across the pond in London, it’s also a big day for the global tourism community. Nov 8 will mark the 10th annual World Responsible Tourism Day, celebrated […]