Foreign Aid and Democracy Building in Africa: New England Community Members Perspective on the Use of Foreign Aid as a Tool for Promoting Democracy in Developing Nations


The Capstone inquiry set out to discover what some New Englanders thought and felt about Africa. The focus of attention was on the topics of foreign aid, development and democracy building. The intent was to determine how Americans outside the development field, primarily white, middle class, college-educated individuals from two New England communities viewed these topics.

A combination of three different methods, (surveys, focus groups, and in-depth individual interviews) were used in order to collect data. The varied use of methods employed throughout the inquiry allowed for a rich yield of data from the participants.

Four major themes emerged during the data collection. The first theme questioned the West’s right to impose its ideologies and values on Africa. The second theme involved the decision of whether or not the West should help Africa. The third theme was a general sense of skepticism and cynicism about both democracy and the West’s intentions toward Africa.

Paradoxically, the fourth theme that emerged was a yearning for a paradigm shift or a change in consciousness. Many of the participants believed that the world, in particular the Western world, needs to radically alter its perspective in approaching foreign aid, development, and democracy building in Africa.


International and Area Studies | Regional Sociology | Sociology of Culture

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