chapter  6
18 Pages

Supporting Rights and Nurturing Networks: The Case of the UKDepartment for International Development (DFID) in Peru: Fiona Wilson and Rosalind Eyben

Shaping this chapter on the UK Department for International Development's (DFID's) experiences in Peru are questions concerning an aid agency's practice when it seeks to make relationship-building the principal means of promoting a rights-based approach to social change. Are there possible contradictions between the means and the end, and how can these be managed? By focusing on rights, DFID broke ranks and came to stand apart from other bilateral and multilateral donors in Peru. For the DFID office, this was by no means simply a matter of applying policy dictated from above or of treating rights as an approach carved in stone. Issues of rights had to be addressed in dialogue with Peruvian activists, pursued through trial and error, and claimed before a periodically recalcitrant and oppositional state. AI> Cornwall and Nyamu-Musembi (2004, p1415) reflect, far from being a single approach, 'there are plural rights-based approaches, with different starting points and rather different implications for development practice'. What kind of thinking about rights lay behind the actions ofDFID in Peru, and what can be learned from this experience about the risks/dangers and possibilities/ benefits when donors join forces with local social actors to make rights central to aid practice?