Publication / Transition Assistance

Navigating International Aid in Transitions: A Guide for Recipients

Drawing on decades of experience with international assistance in dozens of transitional countries, this IFIT publication seeks to explain—for the benefit of local governmental and nongovernmental aid recipients—the Western aid system that lands in their countries in periods of transition out of war or authoritarianism. The aim is to help recipients of transition assistance better understand how the industry operates so that they may find ways to ensure that their vision is supported, rather than hindered, by assistance providers.

The guide aims to clarify the kinds of international actors offering such assistance, their motivations and interests, the forms of assistance they offer, the theories of change on which their actions are based, and the sorts of operational issues that arise most frequently in practice. It is premised on the conviction that greater knowledge and tools on the part of those on the receiving side can appreciably improve the results of national transitions. 

  • “This accessible, timely guide unpacks a whole series of often tangled questions about the methods and motivations of development aid and offers insightful recommendations for more productive relations between providers and recipients.  In a world rife with misunderstandings about development aid, the guide will have prime place on the desks, not in the drawers, of many aid officers and aid recipients.” –Noha El-Mikawy, Middle East and North Africa Regional Director, Ford Foundation
  • “The scale and complexity of aid for countries coming out of dictatorship or civil war assistance present real challenges to the aid-receiving countries. This guide is a much needed and timely contribution to the search for better outcomes. The frank language provides credibility to the content and it is a great read for all interested in making aid work in transitional contexts.” –Per Nordlund, Lead Specialist, Democracy and Human Rights, Swedish International Development Agency
  • “This new IFIT publication tackles a very important problem, offering a practical approach to help recipients get the best out of the international aid system in times of transition. In Tunisia, it would have made a big difference if we had this guide at our disposal during the first few years of our country’s transition. In the years to come, its relevance will persist.” –Souheil Kaddour, Former Advisor, Tunisian Ministry of Justice and Human Rights
  • “This publication is a highly insightful and carefully thought guide to the complexities and opportunities of working in transitioning societies. Combining fresh analysis with the wisdom and decades of experiences of its authors in working in complex environments, it is an essential read for anyone interested in navigating and working in complex and rapidly-changing societies.” –Niamatullah Ibrahimi, Founder, Afghanistan Watch
  • “I wish that I had had this publication before becoming involved in grant-making in support of transitional countries. It is an original and invaluable guide for all sides of the aid enterprise—whether one is recipient or provider, nongovernmental or governmental, activist or policymaker. Navigating International Aid in Transitions should be read and used widely.” – Poonam Joshi, Director of European Office, The Fund for Global Human Rights

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