Your task is to choose one (1) of these projects and to use the Chain of Explanation (addressed in class) to critically analyze the project. The question you are trying to answer is: will this project improve the lives of the group of people it targets? The development project is a starting point for your analysis: you will need to do additional research on the topic, locate journal articles (and other materials) on the topic and use your analytic skills to answer this question!
Your analysis should take the form of a 7-10 page essay (ie: with an introduction, body and conclusion; be written in complete sentences and paragraphs with attention to style; and no point form). You may choose to organize your essay with sub-headings. You are welcome to include diagrams or charts so long as they are relevant and you discuss them in your essay.
Your essay must:
1) Provide a succinct explanation/summary of the development project based on the project document: where is it located, what problem does it address, how does it propose to address it, what specifically is involved, what are the main issues? (max 2 pgs) Be careful: the documents are long, complicated and technical, not all the information is necessary for your project (e.g., budgeting and procurement spreadsheets). Part of the task is to identify what is relevant and what is not.
2) Contextualize the development problem by drawing on outside materials (journal articles, books, grey literature, and/or media articles).
To do this ask yourself: what have scholars and serious journalists said about this problem (e.g., deforestation in Haiti or palm oil production in Laos?), what are the main causes they identify, what challenges do they identify? Perhaps there is media coverage of this (or a similar) development initiative that critiques the results or points out good or bad elements. Note: you may be unable to find articles that exactly discuss your topic (e.g., beef production in Liberia). It is ok to draw on materials that investigate similar issues in similar places: (eg. beef production in a nearby African country with similar challenges or characteristics) from which you can make inferences.
3) Build up a critique of the proposed project. BE CAREFUL: this is not the same as a negative antagonistic reading nor is it the same as an evaluation of the project’s success or ability to meet its own objectives (the projects are ongoing and you will be unable to make this kind of determination). The result of your analysis/critique could be supportive, negative or mixed and it must be based on careful, reasoned consideration of the problem and the context (using the Chain of Explanation).
To make your critique: use the Chain of Explanation to think about whether the project will improve the lives of people by addressing the problem. Do this by drawing on what your research tells you about the region, the people/communities and how they use the land or make a living, and the problem targeted by the project. Ask yourself questions like: who will benefit from the project? Does the project take into account local land rights (if you have found information about this); does it consider gender roles (if you determine this is relevant); what about the local ecology…?
4) A brief conclusion in which you clearly state and explain the results of your analysis and rational for whether or not the project will improve peoples’ lives.
5) For this length of essay I expect a “works cited” or “reference” list of at least 10 to 15 items. A minimum of half of these (5-7) need to be peer reviewed, academic publications. The remainder can be grey literature (e.g., government reports) and media articles. You are not permitted to cite websites like Wikipedia. Please use discretion when relying on online only materials.
This assignment will be discussed in detail in class on Sept 27th. Library support specifically tailored to this assignment will also be provided in class on Friday October 11th . You are expected to attend and prepare for these sessions.
Four contemporary (and real) development projects funded and administered by the UNDP have been placed for you in a course link folder marked “assignments”. Each is an example of an environmental development initiative in that it aims to make life better for a group of people in the global south by addressing their use of the environment and/or an environmental issue affecting their lives (such as climate change or deforestation). The goal of all the projects is “inclusive growth”.