Adventures in the Aid Trade : Forty Years Practising Development in Forty Countries book cover
1st Edition

Adventures in the Aid Trade
Forty Years Practising Development in Forty Countries

ISBN 9780367434038
Published February 24, 2020 by Routledge
246 Pages 5 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

Adventures in the Aid Trade takes us on a fascinating journey through 40 years of work at the coalface of international development. Drawing on his experiences from long periods in the field, the author reflects on what has worked, what has not and why, and considers how these experiences relate to students and practitioners today.

Looking beyond high-level policy matters and international relations, this book focuses instead on the author’s actual experiences in the field and the inspired local people he encountered. The narrative traces how these people, working through their own organisations, make a difference to the lives of their contemporaries, and learn how to generate the income to do it. Chapters draw on the author’s experiences of working with local practitioners from 40 countries across sub-Saharan Africa, the Caribbean, South, South East and Central Asia, and the South Pacific. Peppered with lively stories and anecdotes, Adventures in the Aid Trade provides valuable lessons from the shifting aid landscape and reflects on where the industry is likely to go next.

Whether you are a current development practitioner or a student just starting out in your understanding of the development and humanitarian sectors, this book provides an invaluable snapshot of the world of civil society organisations, governance and the voluntary sector, and the lived lives of ordinary people in extraordinary times.

Table of Contents


List of Abbreviations


Foreword by Robert Chambers


  1. Addis Ababa, Ethiopia and Street Children 1966-69:Trying Hard to Keep a Welfare Institution Going
  2. Maun, Botswana 1970-1972: Making Technical Education Pay for Itself (1970-72)
  3. South Sudan 1973-1975: Reconstructing the Country in its one Short Period of Peace
  4. LSE and Patchwork Community 1970-1976: Keeping in Touch with the UK
  5. Dominica, West Indies 1976-78: Demanding Assistance from the State or the Joys of Self-Help
  6. South Pacific 1979-1980: Appropriate Technology (AT), Ideologues and Small Gains
  7. Java, Indonesia 1979-1984: More AT Ideologues, and People’s Technology
  8. The Far East of Indonesia 1979-1984: OXFAM, Famine in East Timor and the Amazing Growth of Leucena Leucophelae in NTT
  9. Positive Deviance 1980-81 and 1984-1985: Nutrition in Indonesia and Rice-Fish Farming in NE Thailand
  10. Bangladesh 1989-1995: NGOs, CSOs, Dependence on Aid and Independence from Aid
  11. Zambia 1995-1999: Moving into Advocacy from Service Delivery
  12. CSOs Everywhere (1990 to the Present): Trying Fund Raising and Resource Mobilisation not Donor Dependence
  13. Indonesia 1999-2004: Never Again, neither Suharto nor his Corruption
  14. East Timor 2002-2004: Moving from Relief and Human Rights to Development and Civil Rights
  15. Tajikistan 2005-2010: Persuading Ex-Apparatchiks that Citizens can do Good Without the State
  16. Different Countries of Africa 2005-2010: Building Integrity and CSO Standards as an Alternative to Fighting Corruption
  17. Nepal 2011-2013: The Birth of Social Accountability, Digging Down into Corruption, and Half-Hearted Efforts to Control It.
  18. Myanmar 2015-16: Watching a Country Become Aid Dependent, and Doing Nothing about Corruption
  19. East Africa 2018-2019: Social Accountability Neutered by Corruption.
  20. Reflections: Bringing it all Together


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Richard Holloway is an international development professional with more than 40 years’ experience managing social development projects and programmes in Africa, Asia, the Caribbean and the South Pacific. He has extensive experience of working with non-state and state actors to strengthen processes of citizen–state engagement, and over 20 years’ experience of implementing and managing large donor-funded projects (USAID, DFID, UNDP, EU, World Bank). He is currently an independent consultant after many years as a long-term project manager. His notable books are Beyond NGOs: CSOs with Development Impact, Doing Development: Governments, CSOs and the Rural Poor in Asia and Towards Financial Self-Reliance: Handbook on Resource Mobilization for CSOs in the South.


"Adventures in the Aid Trade stands alone for the extraordinary range of experience and insight it presents. I know of no other book quite like it…For all who work in development or aspire to do so, it is a grounded and invaluable source of learning and inspiration. It is a rich source of ideas for how we can do better. I commend it to all development professionals, whatever their roles, as an engaging read and a fertile source of learning." -- Robert Chambers, OBE

"Adventures in the Aid Trade is at once memoir, "how-to"manual, reflexive critique, and globe trotting picaresque narrative. Full of insight, humour, and heart, Richard Holloway has produced an essential text for students, scholars, and practitioners of development alike. It is also a great read." -- Larry Swatuk, Professor at the School of Environment, Enterprise and Development, University of Waterloo, Canada