Exploring Human Autonomy Effectiveness: Project Logic and its Effects on Individual Autonomy

Mirtha Rosaura Muniz Castillo, Des Gasper
2009 Social Science Research Network  
The 'watch dog' role of the media, the impact of migration processes, health care access for children in developing countries, mitigation of the effects of Global Warming are typical examples of governance issues -issues to be tackled at the base; issues to be solved by creating and implementing effective policy. The Maastricht Graduate School of Governance, Maastricht University, prepares students to pave the road for innovative policy developments in Europe and the world today. Our master's
more » ... d PhD programmes train you in analysing, monitoring and evaluating public policy in order to strengthen democratic governance in domestic and international organisations. The School carefully crafts its training activities to give national and international organisations, scholars and professionals the tools needed to harness the strengths of changing organisations and solve today's challenges, and more importantly, the ones of tomorrow. Abstract We have proposed elsewhere an alternative analytical framework for project evaluation and a criterion of 'human autonomy effectiveness' to examine the effects of aid projects on the lives, opportunities and capacities of participants (Muñiz Castillo & Gasper, 2009) . A project is human-autonomy effective when it promotes an expansion of individual autonomy that allows people to support and sustain their own development, in a way that does not constrain other priority capabilities. In this paper, we explore how four aid projects influenced the autonomy of local participants, by examining their project logic. We elicit key assumptions behind the projects' design and implementation; identify significant project practices (forms of interaction and practical strategies); and analyse the practices' possible influence on the participants' autonomy. The paper shows that we need to understand the project logic in a deeper way than through the conventional 'logical framework' approach. Power relations between project stakeholders are crucial elements of the actual practices that influence the access to resources as result of the projects. Moreover, practices such as top-down design or excessive conditionality could harm participants' autonomy despite being supportive to other goals, and thus have negative longer-run significance. When project practices constrain the opportunities and perceived competence of individuals to help themselves, the 'development' or change promoted by those projects is not sustainable (Ellerman, 2006) . *
doi:10.2139/ssrn.1434343 fatcat:qahq3mta2ffbrluyjzbdrhloxm