Redefinitions on development and Cooperation in Ecuador. Critical transitions on Good Living, International Cooperation and Social Participation
Professor and researcher
Unai Villalba Eguiluz defended his thesis on December 17th, 2014 in the UPV/EHU Business School in Vitoria. The thesis, titled “Redefiniciones del Desarrollo y la Cooperación en Ecuador. Transiciones críticas sobre Buen Vivir, Cooperación Internacional y Participación Social (Redefinitions on development and Cooperation in Ecuador. Critical transitions on Good Living, International Cooperation and Social Participation)” was carried out through the Doctoral Programme in Development Studies at Hegoa Institute and directed by Luis Guridi Aldanondo and Zésar Martínez García.
In the thesis, social participation in projects, programmes and development policies is seen as a process through which the involved actors claim more protagonism and agency in their definition, execution and evaluation. Although perspectives and methodologies on participation have been gathering consensus in the last decades, their utility, scope and meaning have turned ambiguous and contradictory depending on the contexts, objectives and actors that implement them. This tendency is mostly due to, amongst other reasons, the integration of participatory discourse in the development industry, without excessively altering the orthodox practices and theories of economic development.
The aim of this thesis is to study the characteristics of the ambiguity of participation in development, to later establish a model and a set of criteria that allow for the orientation of participatory practices towards the consecution of empowerment and the improvement of the wellbeing of the affected social groups. The first part of the thesis is dedicated to this, once a wide revision of the state of the art is provided.
The second part of the thesis consists of the comparative analysis of the case study with regards to international cooperation for development in Ecuador, based on the cited model and its criteria. These case studies are mostly centred on the evaluation of the participatory component in projects PROLOCAL and PRODECO, financed by the World Bank and the European Union, respectively, in force during 2002-2008. In addition, the analyses of the new normative framework established by the 2008 Constitution and the process of change lived in Ecuador from the Citizen Revolution around the concept and practice of Good Living, as well as its implications for development participatory planification and the construction of models for Social and Solidarity Economy are carried out.