12 / 1993
The failure of the Aid system is a major subject for debate. Developing countries opt to change their economies accomodating World Bank and IMF formats narrowing significantly the state role, while NGOs and the private and business sectors extend this involvement.
The need to design new strategies of intervention to make the best use of the aid system has become a primary concern.
IRED’s regional support services find that many NGO’s and People’s Movements ask them for information about the nature and effectiveness of design and specific details of development innovations designed for grassroots levels in different parts of the world. IRED needs to respond in an efficient and relevant manner.
These institutions need to monitor and assess their impact and effectiveness. Raw unprocessed information has to be analysed, processed in a manner to suit the 90s. The socialist development mode is no longer useful as a development alternative to the South. So the need to design new strategies of intervention to make the best of the Aid System has become a primary concern.
These strategies should be reliable, based on sound knowledge not so much for the macro perspective as for the grassroots level. It should also take into account the different socio cultural, political and resource related environments all over the world.
So a new type of research is required. Academic research on a particular problem based on economic, sociological political science or internal logic is what has been done so far. What is needed for the development community today is research that deals with problems as defined by the grassroots communities themselves or at least by social activists working closely with them. Research should be conducted with deep sensitivity on human perspectives and not as an academic exercise.
IRED has been asked to play a more positive role in leading a new kind of research to build up a relevant knowledge base. Each community is affected by its national and political system. The international network has to take account of that. But this is a difficult task and at the beginning IRED should focus its research on a few areas of development activity. Action research should relate to actual projects closer to the reality of living grassroots communities. The north wants to know the conditions, perceptions hopes potentials and contradictions of the poor.
Recession resulting in reduced resources has compelled Northern donors to justify their existence. Pos are scambling for their handouts. So, direct and sustained information is necessary for both sectors.
IRED in its links in 60 countries saw the need to innovate development organisations to imrpove the quality of life among the urban poor and rural poor. They also saw that by exchanging information between the various countries the people and the planners could learn from each other. These exchanges also helped people capitalise on their own experiences.
IRED operated mainly in an information dissemination mode. People were able to learn directly from each other by visiting them and seeing their innovations. As the information grew IRED found that it had a rich information base which helped identify and define special development needs and issues relating to People’s Movements, community based organisations and NGOs in different parts of the world.
Information is the vital link that keeps people in touch with each other to make the best use of their experience and choose what is best for their own needs.
IRED GENERAL SECRETARIAT COLOMBO OFFICE
IRED Asie (Development Support Service) - 562/3 Nawala Road - Rajagiriya - Sri Lanka Tel : 94 1 695 481 - Fax : 94 1 - 688 368