‘Results’, ‘value for money’, ‘effectiveness’ and similar buzzwords have become commonplace in aid and peacebuilding. The use of technical instruments such as project cycle management and evaluations is hardly questioned anymore: these are presented as a minor shift of focus to make current practice more effective. But in Stefan’s research, he argues that there is far more to this shift: a machinery of practices and institutions has been installed that removes political questions on development or peace from the political realm and places them under the rule of technical experts.
In his research, Stefan uses the example of Myanmar as a case to question these notions, and the power relations they reproduce in the daily work of aid and peacebuilding.
About the Speaker:
Stefan Bächtold is currently swisspeace’s in-country focal point in Myanmar. He has specialized in developing integrated Theories of Change, alternative evaluation approaches and collaborative learning processes for peacebuilding projects. He holds a PhD des. in political science from the University of Basel and a MA in social science from the Universities of Fribourg and Berne. His doctoral research analyzed discourses on accountability, the focus on results and the power relations that are structuring peacebuilding and development cooperation in Myanmar. Previously, he was a researcher and program officer in the swisspeace Peacebuilding Analysis and Impact program based in Bern. Before joining swisspeace, Stefan worked as a reporting and communications officer for Terre des Hommes in West Darfur (Sudan). He was also a research project assistant at the Institute for Research on Management of Associations, Foundations and Cooperatives at the University of Fribourg. His country focus is Myanmar, with additional working experience in Sudan (Darfur), Palestine (Gaza/West Bank) and Bangladesh.