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To what extent do the skills, capacities and attitudes of practitioners influence the success or otherwise of development interventions?

Introduction

Practitioners who are seeking to influence potential development interventions must first take into account the three types of possible development intervention. These are those which: evolve around societal change; those which seek to work with the government; those who work culturally at the grassroots level. In order to assess the extent to which the skills, capacities and attitudes of practitioners dealing in advocacy and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) in this area will influence the success or otherwise of these development interventions relates specifically to the type of development intervention being undertaken and the means by which the practitioner seeks to become involved in the processes (Fowler, 1997). All of these interventions interact with one another and so if one approach is adopted it will essentially utilise aspects of the others and have effects on other areas. What must be considered is that when working, for example, at the higher structural levels, one must take into account the constraints and opportunities which exist at this level will impinge on the possibility of successful intervention at the lower levels. Therefore, in answering this question it is necessary to assess in detail these different levels of approach and the means by which a practitioner could influence the success levels of development intervention. It is also necessary to establish the cultural constraints which should be considered in any attempt to develop successful interventions. As such it is therefore important to discuss the role of advocacy and NGOs and the means by which their practitioners may participate in development interventions. Essentially this can be done at the macro, meso-, or micro intervention levels and each of these will produce various consequences and as such should be employed in different situations.

Conclusion

In conclusion, the extent to which the skills, capacities and attitudes of practitioners influence the success or otherwise of development interventions varies according to the ethos and means of undertaking advocacy of the specific NGO involved. This also depends on the means by which involvement is undertaken. As mentioned previously, practitioners can become involved at different levels of engagement, the significant ones of which are to: evolve around societal change; those which seek to work with the government; those who work culturally at the grassroots level. This will greatly influence the effect of their work and the chances that this development intervention can be deemed a success. In seeking to determine the actual extent to which a practitioner's skills, capacities and attitudes will affect the success of an intervention is rather qualitative and will depend on a huge number of factors. As there is such a large number of NGOs operating for different purposes and under a different rhetoric, it is impossible to account for them all in one statement. Indeed the role of NGOs has been viewed in general terms very differently, from some people believing that they take the place of popular movements for the poor, to others believing that they are imperialist and operate in a racialised manner in dominated countries (Cohen, 2001). Therefore, the role of an NGO raises questions and their development intervention is not always viewed as necessary and successful. This would be largely due to the attitudes and capabilities of the practitioners and the lack of ability to suitably transfer these to other cultures. However, the annual budget of NGOs runs into hundreds of millions of dollars and they are created in order to aid where they can and to the best of their abilities. The extent to which this is possible revolves around a number of factors including the skills, attitudes and capabilities of their staff and so it is important to ensure that the most capable NGOs are employed in the right situations and their work is undertaken in a systematic manner taking into account the underlying cultural, social, political and economic forces working within the country and ensuring that their work does not try to imperialise the cultures they work within.

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