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Decolonising systems change by Edwin Huizing and Sjoerdsje van Omme

The intervention of development organisations in the global South has given rise to accusations of ‘neo-colonialism’. Netherlands-based Hivos is addressing this legitimacy issue by maximising the freedom of local partners

North-South philanthropy is growing as a proportion of Official Development Assistance (ODA).[1] Money alone is not the issue, though. If such aid is to be effective, systems change approaches are increasingly seen as necessary. However, by nature, and in history, development aid and Northern funding have been criticised as being ‘neo-colonial’, guided by geo-strategic considerations and contributing to maintaining economic inequalities. Systems change approaches, therefore, throw up wider considerations than whether or not they work.

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