• Negotiating autonomy in capacity development: Addressing the inherent tension

    B. Rajeshwari, Nandini Deo, Margit van Wessel

    A central goal of capacity development is transforming participants into autonomous agents. However, there is often an inherent tension between capacity development and autonomy because capacity devel-opment programs are frequently set up to fill an externally predefined lack in capacity. In this article, we argue that this tension can be addressed when capacity development is set up to advance what we call ‘‘narrative autonomy” (Williams, 1997). Narrative autonomy centers on individuals’ narrative interpreta-tions as they reveal or create the meaning of their own identity and situation, creatively draw on avail-able materials, and discern courses of action true to these interpretations.

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  • Complementarities in CSO Collaborations: How Working with Diversity Produces Advantages

    Margit van Wessel, Farhat Naz and Sarbeswar Sahoo

    A commonly explored theme in international civil society organisation (CSO) collaborations is the dominance of Northern CSOs and how this impinges on Southern CSOs’ autonomy, but there is little work on the relative importance of different collaborations for Southern CSOs. This study examined complementarity as a new approach to understanding CSO collaboration. Seeking Southern perspectives, we examined the case of CSOs working on disaster risk reduction in India and developed a typology of complementarities in this domain.

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  • Blog #4: We need to start with us

    Margit van Wessel

    On February 6, the Spindle organized a Meetup of the Strategic Partnerships. The theme of the meeting was "Rethinking Ownership and Control within advocacy Partnerships". Staff of about 50 CSOs were present and reflected together. To prepare collective reflection, they were all asked to write down challenges their organization faces in organizing Southern ownership and control, and options to solve these challenges - with interesting results.

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We are the Civil Society Research Collective (CSRC), a group of academic researchers from the USA, India and the Netherlands.

 

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