From needs to competencies : a case study on the integration of a rights based approach into NGO practises
DisciplineYhteiskuntapolitiikkaSocial PolicyKansainvälinen kehitystyö (maisteriohjelma)Master's Degree Programme in Development and International Cooperation
The objective of this qualitative case study is to provide knowledge on the possibilities of incorporating a rights based approach (RBA) into practises of non-governmental organisations (NGOs) in the context of development and children. The study is confined to examine the possibilities of RBA in realising children’s rights within the child sponsorship programme (CSP) of a Finnish NGO, Fida International (Fida), and the conceptualisation of the child in regard to different approaches. The theoretical framework is built on contemporary development discourse concerning the approximation of human rights and development as well as the underlying reasons for the emergence of RBA as a contribution to critical development theory. Special attention is given to children’s rights as a normative framework that has altered the conceptualisation of childhood. A synthesis of different childhood paradigms and development approaches function as a frame of analysis for the research data. The empirical data consists of 6 semi-structured interviews conducted on different organisational levels within the case organisation’s CSP. The study shows that Fida is mainly implementing the charity and rights based approaches in its work, yet perceives a welcomed trajectory from charity to needs and to rights. RBA is not in use by the CSP but rights based thinking and activities are gaining increasing attention. The findings suggest that the two current approaches generate normal and natural conceptions of childhood, which in turn trigger images of a needy child. The problematics of seeing the child as needy are discussed in relation to the possibility of undermining the child’s potential. RBA is seen as generating more cultural and contextual conceptions of childhood in comparison to other approaches. As a contrast to the dominant image of the needy child some recessive images of the competent child were identified. The results show that RBA promotes images of a child who is competent and an active catalyst for social change. The findings are meaningful when the conception of the child is understood to play a significant role in the formulation of the development process. In addition to the conceptual changes, the practical possibilities of RBA were perceived as three-fold: providing a coherent framework for the practises of CSP, producing a new understanding of responsibility and securing specific interventions. The results indicate that it is possible for an organisation to adhere to parallel approaches simultaneously and that instead of promoting a dichotomy between approaches, a balance should be discovered that suits the NGO’s ideology and profile. Considering different approaches and rethinking ‘the child’ is important as it engages the organisation to examine its current practises. ...
Alternative titleCase study on the integration of a rights based approach into NGO practises
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