The study provides an overview of the literature regarding the influence of foreign aid on civil society. An empirical approach is used for the operationalization of civil society measurement and development outcomes.
The main findings of the study suggest that aid exhibits an ambivalent relation with civil society development. The findings suggest that ODA might become more poverty reducing when it would actively stimulate Civic Activism, which means in particular by supporting free press, in order to enable people’s objective information gathering about politics and what is going on in the world through newspapers, radio, tv and internet.
Access to and use of (independent) news media and participation in demonstrations and petitions will support the accountability of government policy and finances, and allows the building up of public pressure for a more equal distribution of expenditures and more progressive taxation. This helps to reduce relative and absolute levels of poverty.
Study carried out by Prof. dr Irene van Staveren and Ellen Webbink,
International Institute of Social Studies, Erasmus Universtity Rotterdam,
for the Policy and Operations Evaluation Department Ministry of Foreign Affairs