24/01/2018 GTD Colloquium by Dr. Sara Kinsbergen

When: Jan 24, 2018, from 15.30 to 17.00

Where: Spiegelzaal Soiron building – Grote Gracht 80-82, Maastricht University

The topic of this lecture is:

The Coming of Age of small-scale, voluntary development organisations

By Dr. Sara Kinsbergen

Radboud University, Nijmegen


Traditionally, as in other donor countries, three aid channels are distinguished in the Netherlands: the multilateral channel including organisations as the UN and development banks, the bilateral channel (directly by the Dutch government, including aid for private sector development) and the civilateral channel (funding through Dutch NGOs and direct funding of southern NGOs by Dutch embassies). Actors in these three channels are seen as ‘traditional donors’ in the sense that they find ‘their raison d’être in international development co-operation’ and they essentially form ‘one community […] with a domain-specific set of values and norms, codes of conduct, and their own discourse and vocabulary’ (Develtere & De Bruyn, 2009: 913). In recent years, these traditional actors receive increasing ‘competition’ from an onrush of alternative development actors in the Netherlands which here are grouped together under a fourth channel called the Philanteral aid channel. Within that Philanteral channel, we zoom in on one vast group of alternative development actors that are central to the Dutch debate of diversification: Private Development Initiatives (PDIs). Development projects and fundraising plans are designed in living rooms, churches or schools and executed on a voluntary basis by ‘ordinary citizens’. Development cooperation is becoming more and more the task ‘of all of us’, taking place in everyday life (Develtere, 2012). In this study, we analyse the coming of age of small-scale, voluntary Dutch development organisations. By comparing two unique datasets, we study to what extent these Private Development Initiatives (PDIs) are indeed the embryonic NGOs of the future. Are these ‘one-day flies’ or organisations here to stay? We are looking for both patterns and determinants of development. 

Sara Kinsbergen is a researcher at the Radboud University and has been studying small-scale, voluntary development organisations since 2007. She wrote her thesis on Private Development Initiatives: Behind the Pictures. Understanding Private Development Initiatives (2014). This was the first large scale, in depth study on this alternative development actor. At the moment, she continues this study in a three-years research project titled “The coming of age of Private Development Initiatives”. She mainly focuses on how these organisations and their development projects develop through time.

Upcoming GTD colloquia:

  • Wednesday 21, February 2018: Mathias Czaika (University of Oxford)
  • Wednesday 14, March 2018: Ruben Gonzalez (Leiden University)
  • Wednesday 18, April 2018: Joost Oorthuizen (Sustainable Trade Initiative (IDH))
  • Wednesday 16, May 2018: Laura Mann (London School of Economics)