Caitlin Bentley

PhD Candidate, ICT4D Research Centre, Royal Holloway University of London

Interests

International development and development aid and assistance, civil society, organizational learning and knowledge sharing, and open development.

Research

In the past 30 years, Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) have emerged as actors working towards developmental goals, and they tend to be valued as positive contributors. Many donors shifted considerable resources from governments to CSOs during the 1980s, creating new funding opportunities for CSOs. The relationship between donors and CSOs is complex. In particular, donors seek assurance that their contributions are being well invested, and CSOs are under greater pressure to provide evidence for donors. This has given rise to a powerful efficiency movement that has shaped relationships between them. CSOs and donors are significantly affected by the Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) systems that they have put in place; high levels of written communication are required, and employees engaged in M&E are often separated from field programmes. Such conditions magnify the burden of reporting while minimising opportunities for CSOs and donors to enhance experiential learning.

My research focuses on the ways through which relationships between bilateral donors and CSOs, working in the field of development, are mediated by the technological communicative means at their disposal, and how knowledge is shared across cultural and spatial divides that separate them. The purpose of my research is to examine how Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) can simplify and extend accountability processes, whilst simultaneously adding knowledge sharing and learning benefits between donors and CSOs. My ultimate aim is to explore how ICT-supported knowledge sharing and learning affects development impact and can potentially support regional and sectoral development learning and decision-making for donors and CSOs. 

Check out contributions by and mentions of Caitlin Bentley on www.software.ac.uk