International technical assistance today supports pro-poor intervention managed and implemented by a number of organisations working in partnership together located in several countries. They may include funding organisations, governments, non-governmental organisations and community groups. This thesis explores the meaning of aid sector partnership and some of the ways in which they work to support community development in Africa. The study is of the ways in which partners interact and learn from each other, the contextual issues that influence the process and the implication of this for what is achieved. \ud Believed to be the first of its kind, the study compares two bilaterally funded projects implemented by Ghanaian NGO counterparts. The British Department for International Development (DFID) financed an adult literacy project in the North, while Japan International Co-operation Agency (JICA) supported a maternal and child health care project in the East of Ghana. The study examines the quality of relations between partners in the two projects and then the ways in which these are informed by incidental learning experiences. A fieldwork was conducted in Ghana, UK and Japan. Data are largely narrative derived from in-depth interviews with more than 100 informants. Critical incident analysis is employed as the main interpretative strategy. \ud The thesis conceptualises instances of inter-organisational learning (TOL) in terms of theories of principals and agents, prisoners' dilemmas and women's place in community development. It shows (i) that IOL can be used to maintain and modify relations of control and dominance in partnership hierarchies, and (ii) that IOL serves as a by-product of horizontal relationships and be increased or reduced in the competition between partners for resources and identity. The influential role of individuals, beyond the boundaries of organisations is stressed through social networks and trust-based relations, as are instances of resistance to learning as a consequences of personal conflict. However, structural constraints in the aid system, as demonstrated by asymmetric access to resources, expertise, knowledge, status and networks, ultimately determine the quality of funding management schemes and an environment that stimulates mutual individual learning, which is advantageous circumstances may lead to organisational learning and inter-organisational learning
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