Policy & Practice - A Development Education Review



The Meaning of Partnership in Development: Lessons for Development Education

The Shifting Policy Landscape of Development Education
Autumn 2011

Fiona Bailey & Anne M. Dolan

A number of partnerships between Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) in the global North and South have been developed in recent decades with the aim of bridging the North/South knowledge divisions which currently exist. Concurrently, the usage of the term ‘partnership’ has increased in a range of development co-operation policy documents and funding guidelines. While these arrangements have generated an improvement in human and infrastructural capacity, as well as a greater voice for Southern partners, partnerships have been criticised for the one-way flow of capacity from the North, and among other things, the absence of genuine sharing. In this article Fiona Bailey and Anne M. Dolan discuss the concept of partnership, particularly within development cooperation, higher and teacher education and other areas, providing a critique but also outlining good practice models. The need for more interaction between development education and development cooperation is a significant recommendation.



Development co-operation arose in the context of the Cold War, the process of decolonisation and the on-going nature of globalisation. There has been a deliberate shift in the language of development co-operation over the last 50 years, which now encompasses terms such as ‘participation’, ‘empowerment’, ‘poverty reduction’ (Cornwall and Brock, 2006) and more recently ‘partnership’ (Crawford, 2010). Currently, the effectiveness of development co-operation is being widely debated in the context of the United Nations (UN) Millennium Development Goals (MDG), the global recession, the climate change debate and persisting levels of high poverty in the global South.[1] Development co-operation has been criticised, both in terms of its appropriateness (Moyo, 2010), and its perceived failure to address some of the global challenges which have greater implications for poorer nations (Lister, 2000). Development education itself is also largely funded through development co-operation budgets, and by development non-governmental organisations. Therefore, development co-operation and development education have an integral relationship, albeit with varying levels of congeniality contingent upon contemporary mutual perceptions of relevance and effectiveness.

          In the last twenty years, the concept of ‘partnership’ has emerged as the ‘new big idea’ in development discourses (Kayizzi-Mugerwa, 1998: 220). The term ‘partnership’ in relation to development came to particular prominence in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) (1996) report,Shaping the 21st Century: The Contribution of Development Co-operation. This argued that aid should focus on a limited list of poverty reduction and human development goals, a list which was later published as the MDGs.[2] The development of a ‘global partnership for development’ is the pledge of the eighth MDG. The development partnership approach was further endorsed by the Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness (2005)[3] and the Accra Agenda for Action (2008).[4]

          Although development cooperation has been largely carried out by government agencies and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) for some time now, Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) have become more active in this area. In this sphere too, the term ‘partnership’ is used freely, but has rarely been examined in detail in relation to its content of objectives, although the concept of bridging North/South knowledge divisions has been mooted. Of course, the term ‘partnership’ enjoys popular appeal, but the fact that there is a continuum within partnership ranging from conservative to radical interpretations, and from full cooperation to one sided control, is seldom raised.

          In this paper we examine how the term has evolved in development co-operation, higher education and teacher education, we highlight a number of principles for good practice, we examine one of the key aspects in the partnership debate, the location of power. Finally, we posit some observations for the development education sector. This research forms part of a doctoral study funded by Irish Aid through the HEA’s Programme of Strategic Co-operation. More in-depth critiques and analysis will be presented during a later stage in the doctoral study. Key themes which have emerged from the development literature are outlined. A significant issue of the study is whether North-South Partnerships should remain the dominant approach for aid, development research and development co-operation?

Historical development of the concept of partnership in development co-operation

Partnership has become a central concept in development co-operation since the mid-eighties. As development theories have evolved so too have ideas about aid, co-operation, partnership and solidarity. During the 1960s and 1970s poverty was understood in terms of the non-existence of development. Thus, modernisation theories highlighted the goal of achieving a Western style package of development, complete with urbanisation, industrialisation and market economic progress (Giddens, 1991). Partnership approaches, informed by modernist paradigms emphasise its role in ensuring aid effectiveness and efficiency, the reduction of corruption, and the provision of assistance rather than mutual benefits and reciprocity (Crewe & Harrison, 1998). 

          More radical approaches informed by dependency theories argued that the act of development was actually the perpetuation of underdevelopment. Thus, industrialised economies keep developing countries in a subservient position often through economic sanctions and trading conditions prescribed by the World Trade Organisation, the World Bank or the International Monetary Fund. A partnership model informed by critical development theories, addressing the structural political, economic, social and cultural causes of underdevelopment, is guided by principles of solidarity and challenging unequal power structures (Gunder-Frank, 1967 and Dos Santos, 2002). Post development theorists (e.g. Alvares (1992); Escobar (1992); Kothari (1988); Rahnema (1992); and others) argue that the assumptions and ideas which are core to development are problematic, and therefore the very idea of development itself is contested. According to Nederveen Pieterse (1998, 2000)post-development theory can be distinguished from other critical approaches to development (such as dependency theory, ‘alternative development theory’ and ‘human development’) by its insistence that development be rejected entirely, rather than implemented or altered in specific ways. In this context the aims and aspirations of partnership within development co-operation are also problematic.

Definitions of ‘Partnership’ and Principles of Good Practice

Partnership is a term which evokes much sensitivity with its implicit connotations of sharing and trust. While aid and charity may refer to a more unequal aid relationship, the term ‘partnership’ suggests equality, respect, reciprocity and ownership (Gutierrez, 2008). Yet, some partnerships can be abusive and unequal in practice, and the term continues to mean different things to different people, sectors and institutions.

          The Oxford Dictionary defines partnership in terms of a relationship between people or organisations. Other associated words include association, cooperation, collaboration, participation, joint decision making and long-term relationship. Yet, there exists a lack of clarity surrounding what exactly is meant by partnership, and the principles which underlie a partnership approach.

          At a conceptual level partnership is generally understood as a positive attribute. Mohiddin (1998: 5) refers to partnership as the ‘highest stage of working relationship between different people brought together by commitment to common objectives, bonded by long experience of working together, and sustained by subscription to common visions’. Moreover, certain characteristics distinguish partnership from other relationships, such as cooperation or collaboration, and present partnership as a more superior working relationship. Typically, ‘authentic’ partnership is associated with the following characteristics; long-term, shared responsibility, reciprocal obligation, equality, mutuality and balance of power (Fowler, 2000). Core principles of reciprocity, accountability, joint decision making, respect, trust, transparency, sustainability and mutual interests have been highlighted in the literature (Wanni, 2010; Dochas, 2010; Crawford, 2003).

          According to Brinkerhoff (2002) equality of decision-making and mutual influence are the key characteristics distinguishing partnership from other types of relationship. Yet, in practice, developing a relationship characterised by a free and equal exchange of ideas is challenging because of language diversity, geographical constraints and differences in terms of how the relationship/partnership is conceptualised and interpreted. Principles for good practice can also be derived from an examination of the obstacles to success for educational partnerships. These include a resistance to sharing ownership and responsibility for the partnership: ‘responsibility which needs to be shared in failure as well as success’ (Mason, 2008: 18). In comparison to Northern universities, Southern universities face a range of barriers including: reduced funding for research; large enrolment numbers; heavy teaching loads; poor wages; the brain drain of some of their brightest academics; poor leadership; and an increased reliance on external funding. Other reasons include unequal access to resources including funding, Information and Communication Technology (ICT), infrastructure and administrative support.

          Furthermore, the language tied up in the partnership debate has become somewhat simplistic and unchallenged. Malhotra (1997) argues that there has been an overstretched application of the term partnership in development cooperation, resulting in it becoming a ‘something nothing’ word. Fowler (2000) suggests that we refrain from using the term partnership to describe aid relationships which do not embody any of the principles of partnership, and stick to using more appropriate terms including cooperation and collaboration. Nonetheless, it is important to note that partnership is not a neutral term and partnerships which are poorly conceptualised and badly managed end up promoting dependency, ultimately doing more harm than good.

          In an international context, partnership has been used as a strategic and political term to re-define development cooperation over the last few decades. Partnership has been embraced by a range of bilateral and multilateral agencies e.g. the UK government’s White Paper on International Development (DFID, 1997) and the World Bank’s Comprehensive Development Framework (World Bank, 1999). The World Bank’s apparent commitment to partnership is noteworthy given its immense power. Recent development plans for Africa are also couched in the language of partnership e.g. the so-called Marshall Plan for Africa is entitled New Partnership for African Development (NEPAD). Commentators such as Bradley (2008) argue that the nature and impact of the partnership model of development cooperation must be questioned and analysed. Haberman (2008) cites Brinkerhoff’s (2002: 2) argument that partnership is ‘in danger of remaining a “feel good” panacea for governance without obtaining a pragmatic grasp of the “why” and a clearer understanding of the “how” of partnerships’. Hence, partnership remains a contested concept, and while these definitions and principles promise so much, partnership often fails to deliver in practice (Brehm, 2001). Though benefits have generated an improvement in human and infrastructural capacity as well as a greater voice for Southern partners, partnerships have been criticised for the one way flow of capacity from the North and the absence of genuine sharing (Nakabugo et al, 2010).

Partnership and Power

While North-South links and partnerships have been identified as an important mechanism for building the human and institutional capacity of Southern higher education institutes, there are concerns that current conceptualisations of partnerships continue to promote top down models of governance. This raises the important issue of power relations within a partnership.

          Partnerships between the global North and South are often characterised by a range of asymmetries between the two partners, in resources, institutional capacity and power (Gutierrez, 2008: 20). In other words, partnerships exist on an uneven playing field, with the partner controlling finances often determining the terms of the partnership. Gutierrez (2008) presents a theoretical analysis using Bourdieu’s (1984) concepts of social field and capital (or resources) can be useful to show that “good will” is not enough to eradicate structural power asymmetries within North-South research partnerships. In reality, North-South partnerships still have a series of hurdles to overcome, particularly with regard to the problem of asymmetries – the lack of balance between Northern and Southern partners.

          Some claim that partnerships are defined by power relations. For example, Crewe and Harrison (1998) suggest that partnerships are initiated without any ‘meaningful reform of existing relations of power and hierarchy’. Likewise, Brinkerhoff (2002) claims that intrinsic power relations in international development make it impossible to exclude power from partnership. Other commentators argue more proactively that partnership is about transforming power relationships in a positive and socially just fashion (Barnes and Brown, 2011).

          Pender (2001) and Fowler (2000: 3) believe that partnership is used by development agencies as a means of legitimising their role in development and is in Fowler’s terms ‘a more subtle form of external power imposition’. This is supported by Crawford (2003: 155) who talks about the ‘rhetoric of partnership’. He maintains that ‘the power asymmetries within North-South relations, as expressed though the aid relationship, have not significantly changed, despite the current fad for the language of partnership and national ownership’.

Partnership in Higher Education

The vital role of African universities in Africa’s economic and social development has been highlighted by the Commission for Africa (2005), and the Gleneagles Summit (2005). The recommendations of the Second Decade of Education for Africa 2006-2015 (African Union, 2006), underlined the key role of higher education in sustainable development and poverty reduction. In the interests of revitalising African higher education, many universities and higher education institutions from the global North have engaged in a process of partnership with universities from the global South. Within a context of higher education development cooperation, partnership has been defined as:

“…a dynamic collaborative process between educational institutions that brings mutual though not necessarily symmetrical benefits to the parties engaged in the partnership. Partners share ownership of the projects. Their relationship is based on respect, trust, transparency and reciprocity. They understand each other’s cultural and working environment. Decisions are taken jointly after real negotiations take place between the partners. Each partner is open and clear about what they are bringing to the partnership and what their expectations are from it. Successful partnerships tend to change and evolve over time” (Wanni et al, 2010: 18).

          The HEA/Irish Aid’s Programme of Strategic Cooperation between Irish Aid and Higher Education and Research Institutes provides a recent example of the prioritisation of ‘partnership’. According to the recent call for funding, the ‘Programme of Strategic Cooperation between Irish Aid and Higher Education and Research Institutes’ (hereafter referred to as the PSC) aims to promote collaborative partnerships for innovative research and educational activities in support of Irish Aid’s mission to reduce poverty and vulnerability’ (HEA, 2011: 2). The aim of the PSC is to ‘support Irish Aid’s mission in reducing poverty through a programme of strategic cooperation within and between higher education and research institutes in Ireland and in partner countries’. Partnership has been identified as one of the key objectives:

“To facilitate the establishment of collaborative partnerships within and between higher education institutions and research institutes in Ireland and in countries benefiting from Irish Aid support” (Irish Aid, 2007).

          Higher education institutions applying for funding under this programme were and are required to demonstrate a commitment to and evidence of a partnership approach to education activities. However, it is not clear what is meant by partnership in this context, or what constitute its essential elements. Indeed, it may simply be another word for co-operation.

Partnership and Teacher Education

The issue of teacher quality in Sub-Saharan Africa has been highlighted in the literature (Mulkeen, 2010), and efforts to improve teacher quality are particularly challenging in light of the low status and poor working conditions of teachers, mitigating also against their recruitment and retention. Teacher quality is also an important issue in the context of the UN MDGs given their commitment to ensure that by 2015 all boys and girls will be able to complete a full course of primary schooling. The demand for qualified teachers has risen dramatically as a direct result of increased enrolment in schools. Large numbers of unqualified teachers are working in primary and secondary schools as a direct result of the shortage of qualified staff. Given this shortage, various initiatives, including a range of partnerships, have been devised to support teacher education in Africa. The launch of the Programme of Strategic Cooperation between Irish Aid and Higher Education and Research Institutes 2007–2011 provided a new opportunity for supporting teacher education in Africa, through a partnership approach.

          This Programme has provided funding for the Centre for Global Development through Education (CGDE), which aims to contribute to poverty reduction by enhancing the quality of basic education through capacity building in teacher education in Africa, using a partnership approach. The institutional members of the Centre who are represented on the Centre’s Steering Committee are from various teacher education departments/faculties from other higher educational institutions in the island of Ireland, including the university sector, colleges of education and some non-governmental organizations (NGOs).

          The Centre’s partners in Uganda are Kyambogo University and the Ministry for Education and Sports, Kampala, while its partners in Lesotho are the Lesotho College of Education and the Ministry of Education and Training, Maseru. CGDE primarily works with teacher educators and ministries of education in the South to enhance the quality of teaching, learning and educational research in teacher education. The Centre has a number of research projects involving both African and Irish researchers and, through Irish Aid and the HEA, it also supports a number of African and Irish PhD scholars.

          Another teacher education partnership is the Zambian Irish Teacher Education Programme (ZITEP), funded by Irish Aid and the Department of Education and Skills (Ireland), aimed at improving the quality of teacher education in Zambia. Five teacher education colleges in Ireland are working in partnership with two teacher education colleges in Zambia on a comprehensive programme of mentoring and support in key areas of teacher training. A virtual intranet linked to the seven colleges has been developed as a key feature of the partnership, resulting in over 110 lecturers collaborating on-line between the two countries. This allows lecturers to collaborate, interact and share ideas, co-develop resources and discuss issues relevant to the teaching of their subjects. The intranet site also facilitates the joint management of the partnership and provides some useful insights into classroom management, assessment practices and teaching practice. The Zambia–Ireland initiative was designed to contribute significantly to the delivery and quality of education in Zambia. The principle objective of both CGDE and ZITEP is teacher education enhancement in Lesotho, Uganda and Zambia.


Development Education and Initial Teacher Education

Initial primary teacher education in Ireland has a long history of engagement with the international development agenda. Fiedler (2009: 2) notes how in recent years, at a European and Irish level, ‘there have been major achievements in advancing development education in terms of research, integration into different areas of civil society and in youth work in general’. Specific development education initiatives in Ireland include the establishment of programme/partnerships e.g. DICE[5] and UBUNTU,[6] and linking initiatives including student teacher placement programmes in developing countries. Recently, new institutional partnership programmes have been established between teacher education institutions in the global North and South, such as CGDE and ZITEP. While there is much in the literature concerning the partnership model in development cooperation, there is little consideration of the nature and impact of partnership within higher education, specifically within teacher education development cooperation. While CGDE and ZITEP are not development education programmes, they have collaborated informally with development education within the teacher education sector, albeit in a limited capacity.

          Though there have been considerable achievements and success within the field of development education, the nature, quality and impact of this engagement has not been adequately examined to date. Andreotti (2006: 46) differentiates between ‘soft’ and ‘critical’ development education. According to Andreotti ‘soft’ development education does not question the role of the educator and the learner in the global North in participating in social structures (such as education, trade and climate change) that create and perpetuate poverty and misery in less-developed countries or the global South. ‘Critical’ development education is seen to involve building an understanding of the complex ‘structures, systems, assumptions, power relations and attitudes that create and maintain exploitation and enforced disempowerment’ (2006: 46). Critical development education therefore represents a form of “unveiling”; an examination of the ideological forces in North-South relations and how these prevent full public discussion on development issues.

          Recent educational research indicates that development education tends to present global and justice issues in ethnocentric and uncritical ways which ignore how global processes and agendas are constructed and re-invented in different contexts (Bourn, 2008). To address this dilemma, Alasuutari (2011: 66-67) advocates the incorporation of critical literacy and ethical intercultural learning as ‘a way to address the still dominant ethnocentrism and the lack of engagement with issues of power and representation in development and global education’. Critical literacy in terms of development education can be understood in terms of an educator understanding the connections between language, power and knowledge (Andreotti, 2007), and the application of this understanding to the practical perspectives related to development. Ethical intercultural learning is a lifelong process based on ethics and ethical relationships towards each other in a way which avoids cultural supremacy while aiming to encounter one’s own and the other’s knowledge system (Alasuutari, 2011).

          There are major difficulties for people from the global South to engage in development education debates in Ireland and in the UK. Gyoh (2008) argues that the absence of a theoretical framework outlining development education’s approach to development and the exclusionary nature of the educational approaches pose persistent barriers to the global South’s participation in development education. He emphasises the need to explore the theoretical underpinnings of development education which define and articulate the approach to development advocated by development education initiatives. Gyoh (2008) argues that current theoretical principles in development education prioritise a highly structured elitist educational approach, rather than an approach which emphasises advocacy and challenging values. Hicks (2008) contends that there is a lack of critical understanding amongst students and staff of development issues including poverty, inequality, diversity, interdependency and power. 

          This view is endorsed by Bryan (2011: 4) who asks the ‘thorny’ question whether development education has been de-clawed or stripped of its original radical underpinnings. Bryan highlights the tension which exists between the radical nature of development education and the ‘more dominant instrumentalist approach to schooling’. It is our contention that partnerships experience similar tensions. Therefore, there is a need to interrogate notions of partnership in development cooperation and development education to clarify the role, purpose and philosophical underpinnings of such initiatives. Without critical engagement, development education initiatives such as partnership and linking programmes, including student placements in a developing context, run the risk of maintaining dependence and inequality, reinforcing rather than challenging negative stereotypes and unequal power relations (Disney, 2009; Martin, 2005; O’Keefe, 2006).

Are partnerships in teacher education a potential resource for Development Education?

This article has raised a number of preliminary issues relating to partnerships in higher education and teacher education specifically in relation to power, the inclusion of the Southern perspective, mutuality and reciprocity and perceived weaknesses. Development education in terms of its process, action component and conceptual framework has much to offer the process of partnership formation. Development educators have recognized facilitation and intercultural skills for dealing with the negotiation of power relations. In order to move beyond the ‘rhetoric of partnership’ (Crawford, 2003), it is imperative that partners openly address the issue of power in terms of ownership, decision making, funding, planning and evaluation.

          Gyoh (2008) has highlighted the problematic nature of the inclusion of the Southern perspective in development education. Development partnerships have the potential to include this perspective in development education initiatives in Ireland. To date, CGDE and ZITEP have hosted many visitors from Uganda, Zambia and Lesotho to colleges of education in Ireland. If funding for partnerships stipulated greater co-operation with the development education community, development education planning could maximise opportunities provided by visitors to Ireland. Equally, the development education community could work with development partnerships in their planning to ensure effective cross-cultural planning and project design. While we are not recommending that funding should be dependent on co-operation with the development education community, it does make sense for both sectors to work together in the interests of sharing resources and creating a broader network/framework for development education in Ireland.

          Partnerships are theoretically committed to collaborative relationships based on mutuality and reciprocity. In reality, this is not always as straightforward as it appears. Indeed, partnership processes could benefit from adopting some of the systems of development and intercultural education. For example, some intercultural learning could help to clarify expectations, assist in creating greater levels of mutuality and reciprocity, help each partner understand the perspective of the other and develop basic cross-cultural communication. However, Alasuutari (2011) and Andreotti (2010) contend that in order to incorporate effective intercultural learning, it is important to analyse the learning process through a multi-spectrum lens including issues of power, social justice and post-colonial perspectives.

          In response to weaknesses that have been identified in both sectors, the incorporation of critical literacy and ethical intercultural learning is needed to deal with issues of power, ethnocentrism and representation in development education and development partnerships (Alasuutari, 2011). Ultimately development education has the capacity to interrogate notions of partnership in development cooperation and development education. As stated earlier critical engagement in development education initiatives such as partnership and linking programmes is crucial, in order to challenge negative stereotypes and unequal power relations (Disney, 2009, Martin, 2005, O’Keefe, 2006).

          The theory and practice of development partnerships as they are conceptualised, delivered and evaluated provide potential material for development education resources and support material. Valuable lessons continue to be learnt but these lessons need to be documented. While the lessons themselves provide contemporary material for development education, they can be documented in a range of development education journals, books and materials.



In light of the opening question as to whether North-South partnerships remain the dominant approach for aid and development co-operation, it is important to note that partnerships form a strong pillar in current development co-operation policy. However, it could be argued that commitments to partnership are tokenistic in some instances. Nevertheless, in the absence of any alternatives, it is likely that partnerships will remain on the development co-operation agenda for some time. However, we have not yet arrived at firm research outcomes regarding the value of partnerships approaches, and whether they make any long term improvement in local or global terms. We do know that partnership approaches often fail to take into account issues of power in the relationship, and that the impact of power imbalances ultimately have an impact in the development of sustainable co-operation. The relationships developed by partners could benefit from some of the principles of development and intercultural learning. Conversely, development education has much to gain from development partnerships especially teacher education partnerships.

          Further research is urgently needed to evaluate the essence of the ‘partnership model’. One of the aims of the doctoral research upon which this article is based is to explore and evaluate the nature and impact of partnership as a tool in teacher education development cooperation, and in doing so, to inform and support the future development of global partnership collaborations within higher education, specifically teacher education institutions.  



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Fiona Bailey is a postgraduate research student with the Department of Learning, Society and Religious Education, Mary Immaculate College, Limerick. Through her doctoral research she is examining the theme of partnerships in teacher education between colleges in Ireland and partners in Lesotho, Uganda and Zambia. This research is funded by Irish Aid through the Programme of Strategic Cooperation between Irish Aid and Higher Education and Research Institutes and is administered by the Centre for Global Development through Education (CGDE) and Mary Immaculate College, Limerick.


Dr. Anne Dolan is a lecturer with the Department of Learning, Society and Religious Education, Mary Immaculate College, Limerick. Currently she teaches a range of methodology courses in primary geography, development and intercultural education. After working as a primary teacher for a number of years, Anne worked in the area of development studies in Ireland and abroad. She worked as a development education officer for NCDE (National Committee for Development Education), as director of the International Centre for Development Studies, NUI, Galway and as Chairperson of Comhlámh, the Association of Returned Development Workers. She spent two years in Lesotho with the Agency for Personal Service Overseas (APSO) working in the Lesotho College of Education (LCE) as a lecturer in development studies. Anne has conducted research and evaluation work for the Development Education Unit of Irish Aid, Trócaire, Comhlámh, 80:20 and the Curriculum Development Unit in Mary Immaculate College.


[1] The Global South refers to the countries most of which are located in the Southern Hemisphere.  It includes both countries with medium human development (88 countries with an HDI less than .8 and greater than .5) and low human development (32 countries with an HDI of less than .5) as reported in the United Nations Development Programme Annual Reports. Most of the global South (some 133 countries) is located in South and Central America, Africa and Asia. The Global North refers to the 57 countries with high human development that have a Human Development Index above .8 as reported in the United Nations Development Programme Annual Reports. Most, but not all of these countries are located in the Northern Hemisphere.

[2] The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) are eight international development goals that all 192 United Nations member states and at least 23 international organizations have agreed to achieve by the year 2015. They include eradicating extreme poverty, reducing child mortality rates, fighting disease epidemics such as AIDS and developing a global partnership for development.

[3] The Paris Declaration, endorsed on 2 March 2005, is an international agreement to which over one hundred Ministers, Heads of Agencies and other Senior Officials adhered and committed their countries and organisations to continue to increase efforts in harmonisation, alignment and managing aid for results with a set of monitorable actions and indicators.

[4] The Accra Agenda for Action (AAA) is an international agreement that aims to highlight the need for specific reforms in the aid sector to achieve improved aid effectiveness. The AAA resulted from the Accra Third High Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness (24 September 2008) and is designed to complement the implementation of the Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness. While acknowledging that improvements have been made since the signing of the Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness, the AAA highlights three key areas where progress is required to ensure continued improvements in aid reform, including:

·   strengthening developing country ownership of development;

·   more effective and inclusive partnerships for development;

·   delivering and accounting for development results.

[5] Development and Intercultural Education project (DICE): (http://www.diceproject.org/index.aspx). The DICE Project, funded by Irish Aid, has as a central objective to support the inclusion of development education and intercultural education perspectives as essential elements of initial teacher education. It seeks to develop positive attitudes and values in students such as peace, tolerance and a desire for social justice. The project promotes global solidarity, human rights and environmental awareness while also developing students’ ability to recognise and challenge discrimination and inequality.

[6] Ubuntu Network (Teacher Education for Sustainable Development: Integration Development Education into Initial Teacher Education): (http://www.ubuntu.ie/) 
The Ubuntu Network supports the integration of Development Education (DE) and Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) into post primary Initial Teacher Education (ITE) in Ireland. The Network is made up of teacher educators from Dublin City University, Mater Dei Institute, the National College of Art and Design, Limerick School of Art and Design, National University of Ireland Maynooth, National University of Ireland Maynooth, St. Angela’s College, Sligo, Tipperary Institute, Trinity College Dublin, University College Cork, University College Dublin, and the University of Limerick. Representatives of NGOs (Just Forests, Eco-UNESCO and Amnesty International) involved in DE and ESD sit on the steering committee, as do representatives from Mary Immaculate College, the DICE Project (Development and Intercultural Education at Primary level) and IDEA (Irish Development Education Association).

Bailey, F and Dolan, A (2011) 'The Meaning of Partnership in Development: Lessons in Development Education', Policy and Practice: A Development Education Review, Vol. 13, Autumn, pp. 30-48.