The Politics of Partnership: How donors manage risk while letting recipients lead their own development
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Document typeResearch report
This paper provides recommendations for the US government as it continues grappling with ways of improving foreign aid, taking lessons from successful donor partnerships with recipient countries. The underlying field research comes from Ethiopia, Guatemala, Haiti, Malawi, and Tanzania.
Our research findings suggest that aid works best through genuine partnerships; partnerships that truly support the visions and efforts of people and their governments.
This report argues that instead of trying to avoid risk, donors should accept and manage the risks associated with building more-effective partnerships. The report does not aim to provide a blueprint or roadmap for donors. There is no blueprint for effective partnership, and what’s 'best' practice depends on the context. As the US government adopts the partnership model for more-effective aid, however, it can learn from the experience of other donors in how to place more trust in recipient leadership.