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The George Washington University

Publication Date

Fall 2010

Program Name

Nicaragua: Revolution, Transformation, and Civil Society


Countries in the Global South have been receiving billions of dollars annually in humanitarian and development aid for the past half-century. But they still remain poor, marginalized, and on the periphery in spite of this massive influx of money into the region. Many would argue that this very aid is in fact working to maintain the economic hierarchies responsible for their poverty. Through the lens of Dependency Theory, I analyze this apparent failure of the International Development Industry in the context of Nicaragua. After researching what was working and what wasn’t in Nicaraguan rural development, I was able to categorize my observations of what had worked into the three categories that guide this paper: the preservation and support of local agency, human capacitation, and projects with an environmental awareness. I argue that these three aspects need to be present in any development project in the Global South for it to be truly sustainable.


Growth and Development | Inequality and Stratification | Policy History, Theory, and Methods | Politics and Social Change | Public Affairs | Work, Economy and Organizations