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Social Anthropology: Research


New Norms and Forms of Development

Brokerage in Maternal and Child Health Service Development and Delivery in Nepal and Malawi

Jeevan Sharma (ESRC/DFID)

Donors and international organisations involved in dispersing foreign aid now routinely employ contracts with service providers to carry out functions relating to international health service development and delivery. Sceptics have argued that much of foreign development aid is actually a give away to large contractors and sub-contractors. However, these intermediaries are the key actors whose function is critical in bringing together innovation, expertise, resources and political networks from different institutions to contribute to global development objectives such as MDG 5.

Through its focus on the role and functions of different types of institutions and professionals who broker health sector development projects and programmes, the research aims to understand the nature of mediation and translation involved in that process and the difference these actors make in meeting the global development objectives. Moving beyond the ideological positions and arguments, that defend or condemn this "neoliberalisation" of aid, this research will focus on the role and functions of intermediaries that broker the delivery of aid by UKaid and USAID in the Maternal Child Health sector in Nepal and Malawi. A key objective of the research is to investigate what donors can do to make these intermediaries more effective, or how can they best engage with intermediaries as emerging development actors?

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