Local ownership, co-ownership and capacity-building in aid projects: The findings of a comparative study

Peter de Valk, Raymond Apthorpe, João Guimarães

Research output: Working paperAcademic


This paper analyses the relation between local ownership in a selection of
Swedish aid projects and the manner in which aid is provided. It addresses analytical
problems of defining ownership for organizations and methodological problems in the
empirical investigation. Ownership by organizations is interpreted as a metaphor that
requires a behavioral interpretation when applied to organizations. To understand
ownership of projects implies distinguishing between projects elements such as
inputs, outputs, objectives and processes in different phases of the project. Where
three parties are involved in a project, namely the local organization, the consultant
and the aid provider, multiple ownership is the outcome. Key findings of the study are
firstly that local ownership cannot be created by other parties, but can be enhanced
and facilitated. Secondly, multiple ownership can take the form of co-ownership when
individual parties fruitfully cooperate along different incentive structures to achieve
project success. Although focusing on technical assistance projects, the issues
discussed in this paper will also be helpful for analyzing ownership issues in other
project, as well as programs and policies.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationDen Haag
PublisherInternational Institute of Social Studies (ISS)
Number of pages27
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2005

Publication series

SeriesISS working papers. General series


  • ISS Working Paper-General Series


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