Rubric for TWP in reflection

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David Jacobstein

Mar 27, 2024, 7:47:37 AMMar 27
to TWP.Learning, Adaptive Development | #AdaptDev
Hi all,

The USAID TWP team has been working on a checklist that could be useful when conducting periodic workplanning or pause-and-reflect moments to consider the extent to which plans and adaptation observe and respond to power dynamics in context. We are sharing it here for your feedback and input, and of course for your use if it is helpful. If you've considered the same things, we'd love to get your thoughts and suggestions to improve it!


David Jacobstein 

DRG Policy, Learning and Integration Office

United States Agency for International Development

T: (202) 390-1333

Context-Driven Adaptation Collection:

Silva Ferretti

Mar 27, 2024, 8:37:27 AMMar 27
to David Jacobstein, TWP.Learning, Adaptive Development | #AdaptDev
Dear David,

I appreciate your work on such and important topic. 
I confess I find it challenging to discuss power dynamics in relation to USAID projects at this point in time.
US policies and practices in support of ongoing extended abuses of human rights - which UN representatives consider genocidal - are very problematic for many practitioners committed to humanitarian principles and human rights. And USAID support is tainted and seen as an expression of the US policies.

At a very minimum,  reflecting on power should support people involved in projects to also reflect on the likelihood of "aidwashing" -  an issue of power and a very pervasive one. If you are serious about discussing power at these distressing times. I urge you to consider the following:
  1. How can we ensure our aid does not become a tool for furthering political and oppressive agendas, especially in regions suffering from occupation and systemic violence?
  2. What measures can we take to prevent aid from masking or diluting the severity of ongoing power imbalances, thus ensuring our support truly contributes to alleviating suffering, promoting sustainable peace, and ending occupations?
  3. In what ways can we leverage our influence not only to check and balance power dynamics but also to actively advocate for the rights and dignity of oppressed populations, ensuring our interventions do not perpetuate cycles of violence - such as occupation?
  4. How can project stakeholders—including donors themselves—achieve the independence needed to foster all this in a charged global political context?
Politically savvy programs should not just navigate external dynamics but also examine their own underpinnings and the positions of all stakeholders, including funders. 
If a discussion on power is not just cosmetic, the findings could be unsettling and generate existential questions, forcing us to reconsider the very premises on which these initiatives stand. But this raises a fundamental question for USAID itself: Is a sincere and profound reflection on power feasible under these circumstances?

Thanks for sharing this, great to see the effort to discuss power and I hope that this mail is an incentive to go deeper, even if it is indeed hard.


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