Participatory development and reconstruction has become a popular approach, not just for poverty alleviation, but also for strengthening accountability in post-conflict and post-disaster settings. But how effective is this approach? This ethnographic PhD research focuses on a programme of community-driven reconstruction (CDR) in the east of the Democratic Republic of Congo: the Tushiriki programme, implemented by the International Rescue Committee (IRC) and financially supported by Stichting Vluchteling.
The main research question is: How do local people and IRC staff shape development through their everyday practice in three programme communities, and how do social dynamics and power relations influence decision making and implementation of the CDR from 2008 to 2010? The thesis shows that the programme is more successful in the actual reconstruction projects than in reaching governance objectives. The programme’s strategies to involve different actors and the mechanisms to enhance accountability were little suited to the existing social relations and everyday practices.