chapter
17 Pages

Introduction: Rosalind Eyben

This book is concerned with four linked factors of significance to international aid. The first is that the quality of relationships within and between organizations in the web of aid is crucial for organizational performance. We explore how reflective practice can enhance that quality. A second factor is unequal power relations. The potential for aid relationships to support progressive social change is limited by the operations of power within and between aid organizations, something that remains largely unnamed and unchallenged, thus constraining transformative learning. The third factor also related to power is weak mutual accountability within the web of aid that prejudices the quality of relationships and hinders learning. The final factor concerns the mindset of many aid practitioners whose understandings of social change are based on the premise that society is a predictable machine. The illusion of being in control leads to the neglect of relationships that would privilege different perspectives and offer new answers to managing the turbulent political environment of which donors are part, and contribute towards creating.