Title

Ephemeral Development Agendas and the Process of Priority Shifts in Malawi

Publication Date

2016

Document Type

Article

Abstract

Drawing on 70 interviews with civil society staff in Malawi, I argue that when development trends and issues in the country change, at donors’ wishes, organizations proactively strategize to vie for donor funds. Collected over three research trips, my data show that between 2008 and 2010 there was a widespread belief among civil society in Malawi that climate change was becoming the “it” issue, surpassing HIV/AIDS in predominance. Alongside this belief, there was a dynamic, if invisible, process of organizational repositioning. Comparing the earlier interviews with those conducted in 2014, I contend that the issues of focus, while interesting, are less telling than the ways Malawian organizations endeavor to adapt and respond to them. This paper adds a critical dimension to development literature, investigating a process that occurs when development agendas change.

Original Citation

Anderson, N.J. (2016). Ephemeral Development Agendas and the Process of Priority Shifts in Malawi. Journal of Asian and African Studies, published online February 18, 2016. https://doi.org/10.1177/0021909616630567