Where do we go from here? Navigating Power Inequalities...

Development Studies Seminars 2024 | Where do we go from here? Navigating Power Inequalities Between Development NGOs in the Aid System

📢 ❗ Attention: Room change! The session initially planned for the Novo Banco Room (Quelhas Building, 4th floor) has been relocated to Auditorium 4 (Quelhas Building, 1st floor) to better accommodate the participants. ❗📢


The seminars are an initiative that, since 1991, promotes research carried out in the areas of study of MDCI/ISEG/ULisboa and PDED/ISEG/ULisboa.



Development Studies Seminars 2024

Topic: Where do we go from here? Navigating Power Inequalities Between Development NGOs in the Aid System
Presenter: Nicola Banks (The University of Manchester)
Date: May 16, 2024 (Thursday).
Hour: 6 pm to 8 pm (GMT/Lisbon)
Venue: Auditório 4, ISEG (Quelhas Building, 1st Floor, Rua do Quelhas 6, 1200-781, Lisbon, Portugal)


Free admission, in person event. We recommend prior registration on EventBrite, but the capacity of the room will be filled in order of arrival.

This event is public and will be recorded and photographed for publication on CEsA’s communication channels. If you do not wish to have your image photographed and/or recorded, please notify the event organizers in advance via email: comunicacao@cesa.iseg.ulisboa.pt

More information and programme: https://cesa.rc.iseg.ulisboa.pt/news/development-studies-seminars-will-kick-off-on-february-29-at-iseg-with-a-series-of-10-sessions-of-presentations-by-guest-researchers/


About this Session

Based on the report ‘Where do we go from Here? Navigating power inequalities between development NGOs in the aid system’, published in January of this year and written by Nicola Banks in co-authorship with Badru Bukenya, Willem Elbers, Innocent Kamya, Emmanuel Kumi, Lau Schulpen, Gijs Van Selm, Margit Van Wessel, and Thomas Yeboah.”

This research examines the extent and nature of concrete actions undertaken by Northern NGOs and Southern NGOs to tackle power asymmetries, explicitly comparing their understandings, perspectives and initiatives.

It comes as no surprise that most NGOs, whether from the Global North or South, believe that there is a significant power imbalance between NNGOs and SNGOs, with both sides reporting that their own partnerships are performing ‘better’ regarding power imbalances. Also on both sides, organisa- tions see ‘the bigger system’ as problematic.

This research reveals a shared understanding of and frustration around a global aid system founded on colonial legacies of inequality that raise serious questions about whether it is fit for purpose. Glob- al agendas and priorities are seen as dominated by Northern actors and interests, with funding sys- tems maintaining this hierarchy. Across all actors, funding is considered the primary source of power imbalances and dominates the priorities of NGOs in the North and South.

This raises the question of how to progress towards more equitable relationships between SNGOs and NNGOs (and the processes and outcomes in policies, programmes and funding within these) while simultaneously balancing this with the need for deeper systemic change.



About Nicola Banks (The University of Manchester)

Nicola started her research career in Dhaka, Bangladesh, where her research explored the nature of urban poverty and livelihoods dynamics across four informal settlements of the city. Following on from her PhD Nicola moved to Kampala, Uganda, where she was Head of BRAC Uganda’s Research and Evaluation Unit, managing the NGO’s research activities across Uganda, Tanzania and South Sudan. Returning to the University of Manchester in 2012, Nicola aligned these two research interests – urban poverty and young lives – in her ESRC Future Research Leaders Fellowship that explored the social and economic consequences of living in urban poverty in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. Across the past decade Nicola has increasingly focused her research on the role of NGOs and civil society organisations in global development.

As a researcher committed to impact, Nicola is proud to have built on her research to launch a new social enterprise, One World Together, that provides long-term, predictable and unrestricted funding to local and community organisations in the UK and around the world and engages in new ways with a new generation of committed supporters of global development.


Author: CEsA Communication (comunicacao@cesa.iseg.ulisboa.pt)
Images: CEsA/Reproduction

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