The Friendly Donor

Seminar date: 
14 February 2008
Speaker(s): Bram van Ojik

Bram van Ojik has worked for various NGOs, including Oxfam Novib and Friends of the Earth, and used to be a Member of Parliament for the Groen Links Party. He has been working at the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs for the last ten years and has been Director of Communications, Netherlands ambassador to Benin and, since 2006, Director of the Evaluation Department.

The Dutch are famous for their so-called 'Polder Model' and use it to achieve progress through consultation and (endless!) negotiation, aiming for consensus and public support. Development Cooperation is a case in point. Having always defined development aid as cooperation, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs likes to see the donor-recipient relationship as a partnership amongst equals, preferring ownership on the recipient's side to unilateral decision-making by the donor. In an effort to harmonize Dutch aid efforts with other donors and to match priorities and preferences on the recipient's side as far as possible, the Ministry tries to avoid analyzing development in terms of conflict of interest and having its internationalism motivated by self-interest. 
This seminar will challenge this self-image and investigate the extent to which this altruism holds true. We like to be seen as a friendly, altruistic donor!