‘Making Ownership Real’: An analysis of ‘ownership’ in technical assistance projects in the Solomon Islands
Recipient country ownership has been seen by many aid experts, to be an important way to improve the effectiveness of aid delivery. Technical assistance projects consume 25% of worldwide ODA,¹ and have been criticised by many aid experts for being ineffective. The Solomon Islands Government (SIG) has received a large amount of technical assistance over the last ten years and therefore makes it a useful government to use as a case study to answer the main question of this thesis: Is the transfer of ownership in technical assistance projects shifting from the donor to the SIG? The research has found that the SIG has more ownership of their technical assistance projects at the management level than at the operational level. The main constraints to SIG having more ownership at the management level were in the areas of technical advisor (TA) recruitment and performance management processes, and some areas of aid funding. At the operational level of technical assistance projects, the amount of SIG ownership was significantly less. Many of the restraints in the transfer of ownership to the SIG counterparts were at the individual TA level, and were largely related to poor working relationships between individual TAs and counterparts caused by shortcomings in TAs’ capacity building and people management skills and TAs’ lack of knowledge of the SIG working style and environment. More ownership needs to be transferred at the operational level for the SIG to have ‘real’ ownership of their technical assistance projects. ¹ OECD, Perspective Note: Technical Co-operation for Capacity Development, OECD, (2011), pg 4.