In this final post (Chris Whitty and Stefan Dercon have opted not to write a second installment), Rosalind Eyben and Chris Roche reply to their critics. And now is your chance to vote – but only if you’ve read all three posts, please.The comments on this have been brilliant, and I may well repost some next week, when I’ve had a chance to process.
Let’s start with what we seem to agree upon:
- Unhappiness with ‘experts’ – or at least the kind that pat you patronizingly on the arm,
- The importance of understanding context and politics,
- Power and political institutions are generally biased against the poor,
- We don’t know much about the ability of aid agencies to influence transformational change,
- Mixed methods approaches to producing ‘evidence’ are important. And, importantly,
- We are all often wrong!
We suggest the principal difference between us seems to concern our assumptions about: how different kinds of change happen; what we can know about change processes; if how and when evidence from one intervention can practically be taken and sensibly used in another; and how institutional and political contexts then determine how evidence is then used in practice. This set of assumptions has fundamental importance for international development practice.