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Independent ideas for an independent Africa: Sustaining Africa s development in a post 2015 Landscape Alternative ideas for Africas development: Harnessing.

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Presentation on theme: "Independent ideas for an independent Africa: Sustaining Africa s development in a post 2015 Landscape Alternative ideas for Africas development: Harnessing."— Presentation transcript:

1 Independent ideas for an independent Africa: Sustaining Africa s development in a post 2015 Landscape Alternative ideas for Africas development: Harnessing indigenous knowledge for international development partnerships: The case of Nhimbe in Zimbabwe Dr Cathrine Madziva London Metropolitan University

2 Introduction Partnership: the favoured discourse for north- south aid relationsPartnership: the favoured discourse for north- south aid relations No society is a tabula rasa on which northern agencies can write a prescription for mutual aid & partnership No society is a tabula rasa on which northern agencies can write a prescription for mutual aid & partnership Indigenous cultural resources can be assets for mutual aid & partnership – this calls for an understanding of societys ability to provide mutual aid to its members Indigenous cultural resources can be assets for mutual aid & partnership – this calls for an understanding of societys ability to provide mutual aid to its members Africas independence: partly lies in fostering and applying culturally competent knowledge Africas independence: partly lies in fostering and applying culturally competent knowledge

3 Introduction Nhimbe Nhimbe –a traditional framework for knowing that and knowing how among Shona people of Zimbabwe –How it can be harnessed in development partnerships under the politics of recognition –Northern development actors, including INGOs practice and policy making in the direction of indigenous knowledge Literature Literature –Much devoted to partnership theory –Little attention to the role of indigenous knowledge and traditional cultural resources –Little empirical case material Alternative view Alternative view –Kasejes analysis (1987) on the importance of indigenous cultural resources in development aid partnerships between north and south –Empirical case material (Madziva 2009-10) Transferability - While evidence is derived from the use of Nhimbe in rural Zimbabwe, development actors can potentially identify Nhimbe analogues in other African contexts Transferability - While evidence is derived from the use of Nhimbe in rural Zimbabwe, development actors can potentially identify Nhimbe analogues in other African contexts

4 Development : A definition Development is a process which enables human beings to realise their potential, build self confidence and lead lives of dignity and fulfilment. It is a process which frees people from want and exploitation. It is a movement away from political, economic, or social oppression. Through development, political independence acquires its true significance… it is a process of growth, a movement essentially springing from the society that is developing (South Commission 1990: 10) Development is a process which enables human beings to realise their potential, build self confidence and lead lives of dignity and fulfilment. It is a process which frees people from want and exploitation. It is a movement away from political, economic, or social oppression. Through development, political independence acquires its true significance… it is a process of growth, a movement essentially springing from the society that is developing (South Commission 1990: 10)

5 Background: Development Partnerships Until the early 1990s, development aid was underpinned by conditionality Until the early 1990s, development aid was underpinned by conditionality Partnership infiltrated every sphere of development in the mid 1990sPartnership infiltrated every sphere of development in the mid 1990s No single international framework spelling out what partnerships involve No single international framework spelling out what partnerships involve

6 The Rise and Rise Partnerships UKs White Paper on International Development: partnership, as a new approach in north south development activities (DfID 1997). UKs White Paper on International Development: partnership, as a new approach in north south development activities (DfID 1997). The World Banks Comprehensive Development Framework of 1999 (World Bank 1999): partnership emphasizing national ownership. The World Banks Comprehensive Development Framework of 1999 (World Bank 1999): partnership emphasizing national ownership. The Heavily Indebted Poor Countries Initiative: partnership fosters responsibility of poor countries for their own poverty reduction strategies with support from the IMF and WB. The Heavily Indebted Poor Countries Initiative: partnership fosters responsibility of poor countries for their own poverty reduction strategies with support from the IMF and WB. The New Partnership for African Development and the Paris Declaration of Aid Effectiveness (2005) laud partnership working as the way forward. The New Partnership for African Development and the Paris Declaration of Aid Effectiveness (2005) laud partnership working as the way forward.

7 Exploring Nhimbe: Research findings Quotes are drawn from research carried out in 2009 – 2010 Quotes are drawn from research carried out in 2009 – 2010 Research participants: Zimbabwean development professionals. Research participants: Zimbabwean development professionals.

8 Nhimbe Concept … It recognizes that households have different resources and livestock, in terms of human labour...The traditional Shona culture was not ego centric… there was a greater interconnection and interdependence...(KI E) … It recognizes that households have different resources and livestock, in terms of human labour...The traditional Shona culture was not ego centric… there was a greater interconnection and interdependence...(KI E) The whole idea is about food security…a person with a field was the one who called for a Nhimbe… when ploughing, planting, weeding, harvesting and threshing… so that all these activities were done on time… to avoid birds and locusts- destroying the crops, as well having too much work to do on your own...(KI W) The whole idea is about food security…a person with a field was the one who called for a Nhimbe… when ploughing, planting, weeding, harvesting and threshing… so that all these activities were done on time… to avoid birds and locusts- destroying the crops, as well having too much work to do on your own...(KI W) The overall framework is working together… its very task orientated. If we are doing a nhimbe to roof a house, I am going to call upon males, with someone who has the skill of roofing. If its about weeding we are saying please bring your hoes.. it has a concept of merry making, people eat and drink at the end of a working day, its an opportunity for people in the villages to network, because you will hear someone saying this information you are asking for, I heard it at so and so Nhimbe, they share information, because then you will the people in the village coming together, if there are some problems going in you will hear about it at the Nhimbe (KI S) The overall framework is working together… its very task orientated. If we are doing a nhimbe to roof a house, I am going to call upon males, with someone who has the skill of roofing. If its about weeding we are saying please bring your hoes.. it has a concept of merry making, people eat and drink at the end of a working day, its an opportunity for people in the villages to network, because you will hear someone saying this information you are asking for, I heard it at so and so Nhimbe, they share information, because then you will the people in the village coming together, if there are some problems going in you will hear about it at the Nhimbe (KI S)

9 Nhimbe : A multifunctional Role...its not just a process where people are just not there working on a plot, its like women meeting at a well, experiences are shared and ideas are generated, at the nhimbe when people sit down to drink... they discuss issues affecting them, to say – what did you make of that meeting at Batsiranai [CBO] or what is happening to so and so, it...allowed communities to maintain oneness, a sense of community, this was what strengthened the sense of community; like these are our ideas, this is how we do things, we share the same burdens and our way of life is like this...(KI E)...its not just a process where people are just not there working on a plot, its like women meeting at a well, experiences are shared and ideas are generated, at the nhimbe when people sit down to drink... they discuss issues affecting them, to say – what did you make of that meeting at Batsiranai [CBO] or what is happening to so and so, it...allowed communities to maintain oneness, a sense of community, this was what strengthened the sense of community; like these are our ideas, this is how we do things, we share the same burdens and our way of life is like this...(KI E)

10 Nhimbe procedures

11 Agenda Setting …when you go to a nhimbe, people can express their views, but its not on what to do, it can be on how to do it …what to do is prerogative for me who has invited you to the nhimbe but now on how to do it – because we have different levels of expertise, if we are threshing sorghum they use those long sticks, someone may be very good at identifying those good long sticks, but we are very clear about the task we have here- and the task itself is not going to change… KI S …when you go to a nhimbe, people can express their views, but its not on what to do, it can be on how to do it …what to do is prerogative for me who has invited you to the nhimbe but now on how to do it – because we have different levels of expertise, if we are threshing sorghum they use those long sticks, someone may be very good at identifying those good long sticks, but we are very clear about the task we have here- and the task itself is not going to change… KI S …you are the lead figure [Nhimbe host], you simply share the information- what needs to be done and once people know what they are suppose to do they work on it – its like ants really – how they all work together and know what each ant is suppose to be doing… KI V …you are the lead figure [Nhimbe host], you simply share the information- what needs to be done and once people know what they are suppose to do they work on it – its like ants really – how they all work together and know what each ant is suppose to be doing… KI V

12 Countering Dependency Countering Dependency...whether you had very little or much, what was important was that you demonstrate that you are not just being dependent on others, by showing that you were putting your own effort into the task… So in order to aid this demonstration, I would cook food, perhaps brew some beer but then its my own contribution, so what would happen is that during the nhimbe, people would come with their ploughs and cattle and start working on the plot. (KI E )

13 Division of Labour and skills …in essence you had a clear cut division of labour …KI W …in essence you had a clear cut division of labour …KI W … if I wanted my house roofed, I may not even have the roofing expertise myself but then I identify those among us who are good at it, I inspect the competence of those doing the job, but that does not mean I just stand by, I and others who are not roofers will be passing on the grass to those on the roof, so everyone knows what they are doing…KI S … if I wanted my house roofed, I may not even have the roofing expertise myself but then I identify those among us who are good at it, I inspect the competence of those doing the job, but that does not mean I just stand by, I and others who are not roofers will be passing on the grass to those on the roof, so everyone knows what they are doing…KI S …depending on the task, lets say you wanted your field ploughed; you would have people bring in their plough, like each family and their draught power… each family would then concentrate on a specific part of the field … the plough would be handled by a person who knows exactly how to keep it steady behind the cattle... KI V …depending on the task, lets say you wanted your field ploughed; you would have people bring in their plough, like each family and their draught power… each family would then concentrate on a specific part of the field … the plough would be handled by a person who knows exactly how to keep it steady behind the cattle... KI V

14 Nhimbe Underpinnings

15 Solidarity, Respect, Trust, Allegiance and Reciprocity...... those who call for nhimbes trust that people will show up and those who show up also trust that should they need to do a nhimbe in the future others will show up too, so there is respect…its also like... funerals, people help to bury the dead because they trust that when it happens to them others will arise … KI W... those who call for nhimbes trust that people will show up and those who show up also trust that should they need to do a nhimbe in the future others will show up too, so there is respect…its also like... funerals, people help to bury the dead because they trust that when it happens to them others will arise … KI W … there is an element of trust and respect, [you] trust that they will come and do the work, and they will come because they respect you, labour and time are very scarce in the rainy seasons and if you get these from people, they certainly respect you… KI V … there is an element of trust and respect, [you] trust that they will come and do the work, and they will come because they respect you, labour and time are very scarce in the rainy seasons and if you get these from people, they certainly respect you… KI V … the notions of trust and respect are also embedded in reciprocity and how people share the tasks…you trust people will come and eat your food in good faith… and you must do the task properly, we say if we are weeding, please lets do it properly, dont bury the weeds … KI S … the notions of trust and respect are also embedded in reciprocity and how people share the tasks…you trust people will come and eat your food in good faith… and you must do the task properly, we say if we are weeding, please lets do it properly, dont bury the weeds … KI S

16 Solidarity, Respect, Trust, Allegiance and Reciprocity...... in the Shona culture, we pay our allegiances to people we respect and trust in our communities; so people would say if there is a nhimbe at Ys and if I dont go to this nhimbe; how am I going to look at Y in the eye when I didnt attend her nhimbe when she needed my help...it also ties with things like Zunde ramambo and funerals – if you dont come to mourn with others, why should they come to mourn with you? If other men go to dig the grave for the deceased and you dont participate, people will be watching, when its at yours [the funeral], people will do the same... And I know even in this day, while we can say we live in England, I cant touch hands with those mourning in Zimbabwe but when I go home I know there is a round to be done...(KI S)

17 Nhimbe Advantages …people come in as equal partners whether you have 15 cattle and I have a hoe, it doesnt make you any superior… we will perform the task and we will part as equals, there is no one bigger than the other… there is also the understanding in terms of accountability….If you come to a nhimbe and do a shoddy piece of work then its a reputation that is at stake… (KI S) …people come in as equal partners whether you have 15 cattle and I have a hoe, it doesnt make you any superior… we will perform the task and we will part as equals, there is no one bigger than the other… there is also the understanding in terms of accountability….If you come to a nhimbe and do a shoddy piece of work then its a reputation that is at stake… (KI S)... you lessen the task, the more the people the less time you spend on a task, two, sharing of information and learning- when I come to the nhimbe I might actually learn to do other things, e.g. if I attend a threshing nhimbe, I may become a very good thresher of corn, wheat... (KI)... you lessen the task, the more the people the less time you spend on a task, two, sharing of information and learning- when I come to the nhimbe I might actually learn to do other things, e.g. if I attend a threshing nhimbe, I may become a very good thresher of corn, wheat... (KI)

18 Nhimbe Disadvantages … because its a mass production, the quality may be compromised, I think one might have that because it might be sensitive to blatantly supervise … you will always have those elements- people who dont do things right… (KI S) … because its a mass production, the quality may be compromised, I think one might have that because it might be sensitive to blatantly supervise … you will always have those elements- people who dont do things right… (KI S) …while nhimbe helps those who are respected, it doesnt help those who are at the periphery of society… suppose you are a witch, who will come to your nhimbe and eat your food? (KI ) …while nhimbe helps those who are respected, it doesnt help those who are at the periphery of society… suppose you are a witch, who will come to your nhimbe and eat your food? (KI )

19 Harnessing Nhimbe Knowledge as a Traditional Cultural Resource?

20 Nhimbe & Development Partnership Linkages The whole concept of nhimbe would be applicable at any time, because you are talking of community contribution, what is the contribution of this community in this endeavour? You find that in all partnerships, you dont go in with nothing and expect to be given everything, going back to what I said, in nhimbe it is important to demonstrate that you are just not be dependent… Even when I was working at CRS, we used to have a proposal appraising committee and if CBOs handed in a proposal to us, we would ask, does this CBO want to dependent on CRS for everything? We would look at what they were bringing to the table, so that we could beef it up, so the concept of nhimbe is applicable because you are bringing something to the table.… ( KI E) The whole concept of nhimbe would be applicable at any time, because you are talking of community contribution, what is the contribution of this community in this endeavour? You find that in all partnerships, you dont go in with nothing and expect to be given everything, going back to what I said, in nhimbe it is important to demonstrate that you are just not be dependent… Even when I was working at CRS, we used to have a proposal appraising committee and if CBOs handed in a proposal to us, we would ask, does this CBO want to dependent on CRS for everything? We would look at what they were bringing to the table, so that we could beef it up, so the concept of nhimbe is applicable because you are bringing something to the table.… ( KI E)

21 Southern Ownership … the first thing would be about ownership, if the north could understand that I am going to the south for their nhimbe, I from the north must not identify the task to be done, they must identify the task because they know best what task needs attention, then what they may bring from the north may be the expertise which we will apply- but the task is mine and…. for this period we are at my nhimbe I am in charge, regardless of the expertise that you have, but I will have respect for you and expertise because of that mutuality, I will respect your views and you must respect mine but ultimately the nhimbe is mine and mind you the reason why I am calling you from the north …is that I have a task and I admit that this task is too overwhelming for me, I cant complete it, I do want and need your help, but the fact that I need your help doesnt necessarily mean you must take over, that is why I was saying what to do remains mine, the how to do it we can always discuss... you are simply filling the gap on what I already have, you are not leaving gaps for me to fill.. (KI S) … the first thing would be about ownership, if the north could understand that I am going to the south for their nhimbe, I from the north must not identify the task to be done, they must identify the task because they know best what task needs attention, then what they may bring from the north may be the expertise which we will apply- but the task is mine and…. for this period we are at my nhimbe I am in charge, regardless of the expertise that you have, but I will have respect for you and expertise because of that mutuality, I will respect your views and you must respect mine but ultimately the nhimbe is mine and mind you the reason why I am calling you from the north …is that I have a task and I admit that this task is too overwhelming for me, I cant complete it, I do want and need your help, but the fact that I need your help doesnt necessarily mean you must take over, that is why I was saying what to do remains mine, the how to do it we can always discuss... you are simply filling the gap on what I already have, you are not leaving gaps for me to fill.. (KI S)

22 Everyone knows Something & Trust … the connection to that is about trust, our modern day partnerships have to be based on trust of what you want to do, as we do in nhimbe and we have to believe in what we want to achieve because if one party is pulling in this direction and the other, in that direction then we can not achieve what we want to achieve... (KI E) … the connection to that is about trust, our modern day partnerships have to be based on trust of what you want to do, as we do in nhimbe and we have to believe in what we want to achieve because if one party is pulling in this direction and the other, in that direction then we can not achieve what we want to achieve... (KI E) … everyone knows something, people in the south have their own way of life and in that way of life, they have knowledge which they can contribute rather than privileging certain people as having superior knowledge… It is true that INGOs bring in very good ideas but like in nhimbe, they need to be good ideas because people think they are really good enough to be applied to the task and not just because that is the only way people can get help… (KI V) … everyone knows something, people in the south have their own way of life and in that way of life, they have knowledge which they can contribute rather than privileging certain people as having superior knowledge… It is true that INGOs bring in very good ideas but like in nhimbe, they need to be good ideas because people think they are really good enough to be applied to the task and not just because that is the only way people can get help… (KI V)

23 Research findings resonate with Kajese (1987) … the concept expressing the nature of the partnership between northern NGOs and their Southern counterparts is that embodied in the idea of the Shona Nhimbe. Nhimbe is a partnership between the owner of the field and the friends and neighbours who have come to help. …… the concept expressing the nature of the partnership between northern NGOs and their Southern counterparts is that embodied in the idea of the Shona Nhimbe. Nhimbe is a partnership between the owner of the field and the friends and neighbours who have come to help. … The nature of the partnership is clearly such that there is a recognized, de facto as well as de jure owner of the field, however limited his resources and skills… and regardless of the vast resources brought to bear in his aid by friends and relatives... I never recall hearing... that [on the day of Nhimbe] some big families with lots of resources- cattle, ploughs … came and took over the direction of the work, deciding what needed to be done, by whom, when … The nature of the partnership is clearly such that there is a recognized, de facto as well as de jure owner of the field, however limited his resources and skills… and regardless of the vast resources brought to bear in his aid by friends and relatives... I never recall hearing... that [on the day of Nhimbe] some big families with lots of resources- cattle, ploughs … came and took over the direction of the work, deciding what needed to be done, by whom, when …

24 Independent Ideas for an Independent Africa Where do we go from here?

25 Learning from the Histories of Development Southern knowledge, traditions and cultures are often ignored because they do not fit into northern experiences and perceptions of development, i.e. grand theorization (Brohman 2001, Hetten 1995, Escobar 1995). Southern knowledge, traditions and cultures are often ignored because they do not fit into northern experiences and perceptions of development, i.e. grand theorization (Brohman 2001, Hetten 1995, Escobar 1995). Culture is as seen opposed to development even though it is in culture that ideas of the past and future are nurtured and embedded (Appadurai 2004) Culture is as seen opposed to development even though it is in culture that ideas of the past and future are nurtured and embedded (Appadurai 2004) The failure of development actors to reconcile culture and development has been crippling (Appadurai 2004) in delivering a development that is apt for the aspirations of African people. The failure of development actors to reconcile culture and development has been crippling (Appadurai 2004) in delivering a development that is apt for the aspirations of African people.

26 Learning from the Histories of Development Under the auspices of alternative ideas to development as opposed to an alternative development model, theory or paradigm culture and development can be reconciled. Under the auspices of alternative ideas to development as opposed to an alternative development model, theory or paradigm culture and development can be reconciled. This could allow development actors to consider the specific socio cultural, historical, and institutional factors constituting the context and opens up new horizons for multiple development approaches which are inspired and informed by local traditions which … seek to foster participation and empowerment by creating a sense of self worth among people of third world nations through rediscovering and reinterpreting local histories and cultural traditions (Brohman 2001 : 338). This could allow development actors to consider the specific socio cultural, historical, and institutional factors constituting the context and opens up new horizons for multiple development approaches which are inspired and informed by local traditions which … seek to foster participation and empowerment by creating a sense of self worth among people of third world nations through rediscovering and reinterpreting local histories and cultural traditions (Brohman 2001 : 338).

27 The Politics of Recognition Harnessing indigenous knowledge and traditional cultural resources in development partnerships can build on the idea ofrecognition developed in ethical debates on multiculturalism. Harnessing indigenous knowledge and traditional cultural resources in development partnerships can build on the idea ofrecognition developed in ethical debates on multiculturalism. In the politics of recognition there is an ethical obligation to extend a sort of moral cognizance to persons who share world views deeply different from our own (Appadurai 2004: 62). In the politics of recognition there is an ethical obligation to extend a sort of moral cognizance to persons who share world views deeply different from our own (Appadurai 2004: 62). This view point gives tolerance political legitimacy thereby makingintercultural understanding an obligation, not an option and recognizes the independent value of dignity in cross – cultural transactions apart from issues of redistribution. This view point gives tolerance political legitimacy thereby makingintercultural understanding an obligation, not an option and recognizes the independent value of dignity in cross – cultural transactions apart from issues of redistribution.

28 Politics of Recognition: Northern Development Actors International agencies, INGOs, northern governments and other emerging development actors seeking to partner with African governments, institutions, civil society organisations have an ethical obligation to take cognisance of African knowledge and traditional cultural practices such as nhimbe. International agencies, INGOs, northern governments and other emerging development actors seeking to partner with African governments, institutions, civil society organisations have an ethical obligation to take cognisance of African knowledge and traditional cultural practices such as nhimbe.

29 African Development Actors and Scholars: Virtuosos in their cultural heritage As we seek independent ideas for an independent Africa past 2015, African scholars and development actors must become virtuosos in their own cultural heritage, and take the center stage in showing and telling those that come to support the continents development, what traditional cultural capital Africa can bring to the table for sustainable development As we seek independent ideas for an independent Africa past 2015, African scholars and development actors must become virtuosos in their own cultural heritage, and take the center stage in showing and telling those that come to support the continents development, what traditional cultural capital Africa can bring to the table for sustainable development Development actors and scholars should seek to identify Nhimbe analogues in other African contexts as appropriate Development actors and scholars should seek to identify Nhimbe analogues in other African contexts as appropriate The idea is that the poor need to claim, capture, refine and define certain ways [Nhimbe] of doing things [partnership working] in spaces they already control and then use these to show donors … that these precedents are good ones and encourage other actors to invest further in them. This is a politics of show and tell, but it is also a politics of do first and talk later. (Appadurai 2004: 75)The idea is that the poor need to claim, capture, refine and define certain ways [Nhimbe] of doing things [partnership working] in spaces they already control and then use these to show donors … that these precedents are good ones and encourage other actors to invest further in them. This is a politics of show and tell, but it is also a politics of do first and talk later. (Appadurai 2004: 75)


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