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University of Puget Sound

Publication Date

Fall 2007

Program Name

South Africa: Reconciliation and Development


In the past two decades, the rise of Post-Development theory has witnessed the questioning of the core assumptions of development. Post-Development theorists point to the failures of “development” to create significant decreases in poverty or inequality worldwide. Meanwhile, other theorists call for radical transformations of conventional practice. This paper seeks to grapple with these questions, using the example of The Valley Trust, a development NGO in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa, as an entry point into the debate. Research was conducted over a four-week period through a mixture of participant observation and formal interviews with staff members of The Valley Trust. An account will be given of the practicum done at The Valley Trust in this paper as well as an analysis of the responses given by staff members in the interviews. The conclusion of this paper argues that The Valley Trust, as an example of recent theoretical developments in the field such as the learning organization and “developmental facilitation,” offers a possibility of one direction in which development practice could transform so as to meet the needs of the coming century.


Growth and Development


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