Panel Organized and a Paper was presented on “The 5th Annual Kathmandu Conference on Nepal and the Himalaya” in Kathmandu, Nepal, 27-29 July, 2016
The research team presented a paper in the Fifth Annual Kathmandu Conference on Nepal and the Himalaya which was held from 27 to 29 July 2016 in Kathmandu. The paper titled Foreign Aid and Institutional Arrangement in Implementing Maternal and Child Health Project in Nepal was presented by Radha Adhikari and Obindra B. Chand in the panel ‘New Norms and Forms of Development: Following Financial and Technical Assistance in The Health Sector in Nepal’ together with two other papers in the panel. The presentation was followed by comments from discussant (Deepak Thapa) and questions and comments from the participants. The wide range of participants attended the presentation that included, academics, researchers, and practitioners among others.
New Norms and Forms research team presented at the Annual Conference of Development Studies Association titled ‘Global Development as Relationship: Dependence, Interdependence or Divide?’ held at the University of Bath in 7-8 September 2015. We presented a paper titled ‘Mechanisms of Outsourcing of Aid: Examples of Maternal and Child Health projects in Nepal and Malawi’ in a panel titled ‘Partnerships: Empty Rhetoric or the Road Less Travelled?’
Mechanisms of Outsourcing of Aid: Examples of Maternal and Child Health projects in Nepal and Malawi’
Donors and international institutions involved in dispersing foreign aid now routinely employ contracts and develop partnerships with varieties of intermediaries to carry out functions relating to health service development and delivery. This outsourcing of foreign aid via contractual arrangements and partnerships is linked to discourses on public sector reform in order to secure value for money, enhance aid efficiency and achieve the most impact with limited resources. These intermediaries are involved in global and local relationships and occupy the space between the funders and beneficiaries/target groups, translating and mediating the meanings and relationships of development at both ends. Some argue that this has resulted in the giving away of aid to these contractors, while others suggest they add new layers to, without replacing pre-existing relationships, patronage networks and local centres of power.
Based on our ESRC-DFID funded ongoing study on the role and functions of aid funded institutions that broker maternal and child health projects and programmes in Nepal and Malawi, this paper interrogates mechanisms of outsourcing of aid, and the roles and accountabilities of foreign aid mediators. Data for this paper is drawn from a stakeholder mapping exercise, key informant interviews as well as fieldwork of USAID funded Suaahara project in Nepal, which is a multi-sectoral nutrition project managed by a consortium led by Save the Children, and Result Based Financing for Maternal and Neonatal Health (RBF4MNH), managed by Options Private Consultancy Services Ltd with funding from Government of Germany, through KfW and the Government of Norway to improve quality of maternal care services in Malawi. This paper will present findings on selected themes:
- a) There are emerging new forms of transnational institutional connections, connecting the global ideas, institutions, expertise to national policies, programmes, institutions and expertise to local socio-cultural worlds;
- b) Informed by the idea of ‘value for money’, both technical assistance as well as management of projects are out-sourced to organizations through contracts and sub-contracts – leading to proliferation of organizations at global, national and local levels;
- c) Beyond the moral paradigm and meta-ideology of development and altruism (Saving lives, MDG 4 and 5) are informed by the logic of ‘technical solutions’ to ‘political problems’ using ‘value for money’ and result frameworks;
- d) Modality of development work is changing due to increased demand to generate evidence around interventions (e.g. filling of forms, reporting);
Humanitarian and Financial Values in Maternal and Child Health in Malawi and Nepal’
New Norms and Forms research team presented at 5th International and Interdisciplinary Conference Emotional Geographies held in 10-12 June 2015 in Edinburgh. We presented a paper titled ‘Humanitarian and Financial Values in Maternal and Child Health in Malawi and Nepal’.
Evocative and emotive narratives associated with high mortality and risk in mothers and children particularly in low income countries are used to attract international policy attention in order to raise foreign aid. Shocking statistics, figures and images play a key role in mobilising support, justifying funding priorities and shaping public policy.
This paper describes ethnographic research in the highly emotive sector of Maternal and Child Health (MCH)service development and delivery in Nepal and Malawi. Data were collected from foreign aid funded MCH projects through stakeholder mapping exercises, interviews with key informants, documentary analysis and media coverage to select four case studies in each country.
Achieving financial support from foreign aid to finance these projects is the key to meet Millennium Development Goals 4 and 5 to improve maternal and child health and reduce high mortality. In this paper we examine one case study from each country in order to analyse the language, images, statistics and relationships of foreign aid in this sector. Early analysis reveals the following analytic themes: the visible forms of the projects, role of relationships, concepts of ‘mother and child’, financial and humanitarian values.
These themes and their relationship to each other will be explored in this paper drawing on notions of ‘calculating compassion’ (Green 2013) and the use of images and emotive language such as ‘Helping Babies Breathe’ and ‘Helping Mothers Survive’ to mobilise financial support and shape policy from foreign aid donors. (Words: 237)
References: Green M (2013) Calculating Compassion: Accounting for some Catgeorical Practices in International Development, in Mosse D (ed.) Adventures in Aidland, The Anthropology of Professionals in International Development, New York, Berghahn
Kelly D (2000) The emotional handmaid’s tale? The nursing role in cancer charity advertisements Paper presented to the Emotional Labour 2000 Conference at London’s South Bank University
New Norms and Forms research team presented at the Annual Conference of Britain Nepal Academic Council (BNAC) held at SOAS, London in 16-17 April 2015. We presented a paper titled ‘New norms and forms of development: Brokerage in maternal and child health projects in Nepal.
New norms and forms of development: Brokerage in maternal and child health projects in Nepal
Foreign aid to the health sector as a share of total aid to Nepal has risen rapidly in the past two decades, from under 2% in 1990 to 14% more recently. With the start of DFID funded Safer Motherhood Programme (NSMP) and USAID funded Nepal Family Health Programme (NFHP), both technical and financial assistance from external development agencies in the field of maternal and child health has increased significantly since 1997. Driven by the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), a number of donor-funded initiatives have been framed within the logic of MDG targets as well as a focus on outsourcing, value for money, results, and the increasing use of evidence. A number of intermediaries that include non-profits, private contractors, management consultancies, advocacy groups, research organisations, think tanks and educational institutions among others are involved in a variety of institutional arrangements through sub-contracts and partnerships. Based on an ongoing study on the role and functions of aid funded institutions that broker maternal and child health projects and programmes, this paper will present emerging findings on institutional forms, programme logic, the nature of outsourcing, and use of evidence in these projects and programmes in Nepal. Data for this paper is drawn from a stakeholder mapping exercise, key informant interviews as well as ongoing fieldwork of USAID funded Suaahara project, which is a multisectoral nutrition programme and Aama Surakchya Karyakram managed by the Government of Nepal with technical assistance from DFID that aims to mitigate high costs of childbirth through free institutional delivery and incentives.