International Development Theory

I have studied many different development theories over my time as a developmental studies SIS major at American University. There has been on that has stood out to me from the beginning as the one that will do the most good for the most people. Development as Freedom by Amarta Sen is the most human based yet practical development theory I have read throughout college. So many other theories worry about the global dynamics and international politics whereas Development as Freedoms sole focus is how to provide the individual no matter where in the world with the freedom and the options to chose their own path. Sen makes no assumptions about the person or tries to make them conform to a certain path or way of development. Whatever a person can chose the path they want to take without their basic rights being taken away or hinder that is a truly developed society. I feel as if many development actors do not focus on this theory today. They are much more concerned about the immediate results and impact that, that sometimes the humanity of the exchange gets lost in it all.

The UN and UN frameworks or conventions are a great way at guiding stakeholders in developmental goals. There is limited opportunities to get stakeholders other than government involved. This is something that needs to be improved. Although the governments are the ones who provide the monetary assistance, the NGO’s are generally the movers and shakers who provide the on ground technical support. More importantly they are the ones who interact with the communities at a much more personal level. They are the people who would be able to most effectively and accurately advocate for populations who cannot advocate for themselves. That is why grassroots NGOS and other stakeholders such as the communities themselves need to be given many more opportunities to actively participate in major discussions on how their communities are going to be developed.