Building Research Capacity in Social Sciences for Development in Bolivia: A Case of Institutional Innovation
AbstractThis paper analyses a form of North-South cooperation for building research capacity for development that is quite innovative. It concerns support granted by the Ministry of Development Cooperation of the Netherlands to Bolivia to foster research in social sciences for development. The most notable innovation is that the donor approached the recipient country with an open agenda, allowing Bolivians total autonomy to plan, implement and manage their own programme, thus ensuring local ownership of the process in the South. The resulting programme - Strategic Research Programme of Bolivia (PIEB) - was devised so as to promote research around an agenda built with wide participation of stakeholders. Research grants are allocated on a competitive basis, widely publicised, with clear guidelines and selection criteria. Research proposals are carried out by teams, have a strong component of training and involvement of research users. The achievements of the programme discussed here show the importance of the South retaining autonomy and ownership, provided the local leadership creates mechanisms for building trust and social accountability. They also demonstrate the importance of building local alliances, fostering social capital while, at the same time, nurturing research excellence by creating quality control mechanisms. All elements taken together, PIEB may be seen as an example of institutional innovation in the Bolivian context. The case also demonstrates that PIEB was possible because the Dutch Ministry of Development Cooperation was prepared to take risks and to innovate - an attitude often lacking in the donor community who is usually reluctant and cautious to engage with the unknown
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Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by United Nations University, Institute for New Technologies in its series Discussion Papers with number 08.
Date of creation: 2004
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Web page: http://www.intech.unu.edu
Capacity Building; North-South Partnerships; Social Sciences; Institutional Innovation; Bolivia;
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