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Context-Sensitive Development

How International NGOs Operate in Myanmar

Anthony Ware



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Kumarian Press
15 October 2012
Non-governmental organisations (NGOs)
Development is a difficult endeavor in any environment, much more so in places such as Myanmar with its perfect storm of extreme poverty, international sanctions, and political repression and human rights violations with concomitant conflicts within development organisations over norms and policies. This book examines how to affect successful development interventions in Myanmar. The author points out how practitioners have questioned universal economic prescriptions for development in ways that they have not questioned the normative foundations behind their work. Ware does not argue for a facile moral relativism; he sees Myanmar as an egregious violator of human rights, but he does call for context sensitivity to help organisations adapt their values to meet better the needs of client populations. Through fieldwork and an extensive series of interviews, Ware brings into focus key issues of perception and practice that are intrinsic to the development enterprise. Although the focus is on Myanmar as a quintessential difficult case, Ware shows how his conclusions can be used elsewhere. His book represents a major contribution to both development theory and practice, vital for both the classroom and the development organisation in situ.
By:   Anthony Ware
Imprint:   Kumarian Press
Country of Publication:   United States
Dimensions:   Height: 229mm,  Width: 152mm,  Spine: 23mm
Weight:   431g
ISBN:   9781565495241
ISBN 10:   1565495241
Pages:   308
Publication Date:   15 October 2012
Audience:   General/trade ,  ELT Advanced
Format:   Paperback
Publisher's Status:   Active

Anthony Ware is Lecturer, School of International and Political Studies, Deakin University, Australia.

Reviews for Context-Sensitive Development: How International NGOs Operate in Myanmar

Ware's well-researched and detailed analysis of international NGOs in Myanmar advocates for culturally sensitive approaches to development and historically informed understandings of context rather than assumptions based on external imaginations of the country. The timing of the book is impeccable as donors lift sanctions and more and more international NGOs turn their attention to Myanmar. Ware's book serves as an essential guidepost to NGO workers and analysts of civil society navigating this new dawn. The book presents an analysis of sociopolitical milieu for Burmese days and Myanmar times from historical perspectives and it highlights the topics of context sensitivity; while working with communities and dealing with stakeholders. But the real thrust of this book is the working style of INGOs in Myanmar which has a complex though not a unique operating environment for aid agencies. Such socio-political environment is found in many African and Asian countries. However, working in Myanmar is dancing with the devil without holding hands as the skeptical eyes of authoritarian regime cannot be ignored while designing the development projects there. Though, the book covers the case of Myanmar, due to its grounding in theoretical base of context s sensitivity, it serves as a resource for understanding impacts of contextualization on the effectiveness of development projects in Myanmar and beyond.

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