MSc colloquium by Jonathan van Dijke: Dutch development NGOs and their Images of Intended Beneficiaries, Themselves and their Projects

Published on
June 14, 2018

You are hereby cordially invited to the MSc thesis presentation by Jonathan van Dijke entitled ‘Dutch development NGOs and their Images of Intended Beneficiaries, Themselves and their Projects: How NGOs’ Interpretations inform Strategies for Action in the case of Conservation Agriculture’.

Supervisors: Corné Rademaker & Henk Jochemsen (PHI), Otto Hospes (PAP)
Examinor: Katrien Termeer (PAP)
Course code: LAW-80433
Date: 18 June 2018
Time: 16.00-17.00 hours
Location: room C71, Leeuwenborch, Hollandseweg 1, Wageningen


This research focuses on the interpretations of Dutch Development NGOs promoting Conservation Agriculture. Through analysis of interviews and documents a diverse range of ideal-typical interpretations were identified concerning the Other – the conservative, autonomous, constrained and fearful farmer; the Self – the superior, engaged and responsible NGO; as well as NGOs’ interpretations of the core characteristics of their own strategies for action – rationality, superiority, progress and flexibility. In addition, in this research three dominating and mutually exclusive understandings of the ultimate come forward: economic prosperity, human autonomy and (the Christian) God.

Yet, this exclusivity of ultimate horizons is counterbalanced by the mix of overlapping, non-exclusive interpretations on a more practical level. Moreover, no strict correlations were identified between interpretations of the Other, the Self, strategies for action and the ultimate horizon of interpretation. Nevertheless, more conceptual relations do exist, for instance between the autonomous farmer, the engaged Self, flexibility in strategies for action and human autonomy as ultimate. Importantly, we observe both positive and negative tendencies in terms of ethical development and because of the non-exclusive nature of the interpretations there exists ample room for cooperation in ethical development, in particular when organisational differences on the level of the ultimate are acknowledged. In conclusion, this research provides insights in the interpretations of NGOs and explores their relation to ethical development.

Key words: ethical development; non-governmental organisations; discourse versus practice; interpretation; the Other and the Self; conservation agriculture.