SDC-33806 Policy, Projects and Programs for Development


Credits 6.00

Teaching methodContact hours
Group work2
Independent study0
Course coordinator(s)dr. ir. PA de Vries
Lecturer(s)dr. ir. PA de Vries
M Treurniet
dr. JF Warner
Examiner(s)dr. ir. PA de Vries
M Treurniet
dr. JF Warner

Language of instruction:


Assumed knowledge on:

Basic knowledge of Development Theory


The course provides a broad overview of development thinking and administration since the Second World War. In the first part contemporary debates on the success and failure of development aid are reviewed from economic and anthropological/sociological perspectives. In the literature radically different political positions are adopted concerning development aid. The debate among economists is about the possibilities to combine market mechanisms with development interventions, while the debate among sociologists is about the modernist (or western) provenance of the very idea of development and its effects on Third World people. On the negative side, neo-liberal economists decry development planning as incompatible with the market (and thus as a hindrance to economic development), while so-called post-developmentalist sociologists see development projects and programs as intent on shaping the world to its own image. Pro-aid economists are positive about the possibility to promote development through appropriate projects and programs, while pro-aid sociologists insist that development can only become meaningful to local people if knowledge about their livelihoods is included. This first part of the course ends with a discussion forum in which students explain and defend these differing positions.
The second part of the course has a more practical and thematic character. It starts with an appraisal exercise in which students evaluate a project and propose modifications to the original design (the Big Catch exercise). Special attention will be paid to project planning methodologies (the project cycle and the log-frame, comprehensive, adaptive, and learning approaches), participation in development, the planning as narrative approach, and the psychoanalytical approach to projects as 'the creation and banalization of desires for development'. The proposed modifications of the Big Catch will be discussed in a plenary debate in which the best option will be chosen. Subsequently, current shifts in the international development landscape will be discussed, such as the financialization of development targeting the 'bottom of the pyramid and the rise of development/poverty capital. The course ends with a series of lectures on disaster planning and prevention in which the fantastic nature of modernist planning is queried.

Learning outcomes:

After successful completion of this course students are expected to be able to:
- assess, from a historical perspective, the inter-relationships between development thinking, development aid and development policies, programs and projects;
- appraise the various debates concerning the impacts and effectivity of development aid and planning, as well as assessing the arguments in favour of or against development as a modernist project;
- compose a strategy for presenting and defending a given perspective on development aid and planning in public;
- develop and apply basic analytical skills to critically read planning documents, and to formulate alternative designs;
- design a development project proposal and defend it in public;
- apply the acquired knowledge and skills to a specific case in the domain of disaster planning and prevention;
- engage in current debates about the future of development cooperation.


Lectures, workshops.


- written exam with open questions (70%);
- 3 small group assignments (30%).
To pass the course the written exam requires a minimum mark of 5.50. A bonus arrangement for the written exam applies.


Book and reader. The reader will be available on MyPortal.

Restricted Optional for: MIDInternational Development StudiesMSc2MO