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Dignity and Development: Recommendations for Respectful Practice

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posted on 2024-06-04, 17:45 authored by Tom Wein, Paul Perrin

Dignity matters to everyone — but people in need find that the current aid system treats them with indignity. There are efforts to reform the aid system. The Dignity Agenda we propose focuses on responding to the life experience of the people receiving aid.

Our study suggests that if we aim to uphold dignity in development, implementers should adopt, funders should demand, and researchers should study improvements to aid practices. We consider the most pressing improvements to be:

  1. Providing in-person meetings with recipients.
  2. Support community-based organizations in speaking up.
  3. Participatory co-design workshops with potential recipients before implementation.

Improvements to current aid practice should be supported by a change in organizational cultures. Aid implementers like Partners in Health or Goonj have shown that cultures of dignity are possible. Actors across development can emulate organizations like Catholic Relief Services, where a team works to deliver an evidence-based habit of respecting the dignity of all.

The authors’ ongoing work together at the Pulte Institute and at IDinsight seeks to build a comprehensive agenda for dignity across development.


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Pulte Institute for Global Development