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A Mezzo-level Approach to Addressing the Effectiveness of International Development: A Community Perspective Open Access

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Though foreign assistance programs to developing countries have been a staple part of international relations for many decades, their efficacy and effectiveness have sometimes been challenged, resulting in numerous studies on the topic of international development assistance effectiveness. The resulting studies are primarily one of two types: macro-, country level analyses, or micro-level studies focusing on individual projects, programs, or organizations. Despite the quantity of studies, the conclusions are far from conclusive, particularly in light of significant weaknesses in both bodies of literature. Thus, this dissertation proposes, and then pilots, a third, mezzo-level approach. The approach is a community-based, mixed methods approach that is cross-organizational, cross-sectoral, focuses more on longer term outcomes than on shorter term ones, expands the discussion of effectiveness beyond that of achievement of outcomes, and is participatory. The pilot study findings shed light on the relevancy of development interventions, the processes by which communities are engaged, the effectiveness in achieving outcomes, and the sustainability of outcomes. The findings hold potential implications for the development field in general as well as for the use of methods in the evaluation of international development.

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