Bricks, Mortar and Capacity Building

A Socio-Cultural History of SNV Netherlands Development Organisation


The history of development cooperation has attracted very little research to date. This volume offers an innovative interpretation by considering the history of SNV Netherlands Development Organisation, which has been in existence for over forty years now. Through SNV’s history, an analysis emerges of the role of the Netherlands in development cooperation and the attitudes of Dutch society towards it over the last fifty years as well as the changing ideas, practices and policies in development work more generally.
The views and expectations of (former) SNV staff and those of local participants who were ultimately to benefit from the development activities were the focus of this historical research. This has resulted in a socio-cultural history ‘from below’ rather than a dry description of the organisation’s administrative changes and formal bureaucratic structures.

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Inge Brinkman studied History and African Studies (Ph.D., Leiden, 1996). She has been engaged in various projects on socio-cultural History at the African Studies Centre, including the history of development work, the war in Angola and communication technologies in Africa.

List of photos and figures vii
Foreword ix

1. Introduction
2. Merchants and ministers: Understanding SNV’s background
3. SNV’s start: Bricks, mortar and the transfer of knowledge (1963-1972)
4. The years of radical commitment: Democratisation and secularisation (1973-1984)
5. Expertise expected: The professionalisation of SNV (1985-1994)
6. Building capacity: SNV at the millennium (1995-2005)
7. Final remarks

Written sources
Abbreviations and glossary
Appendix 1: Ministers and State Secretaries for Development Cooperation
Appendix 2: SNV chairpersons / directors
Appendix 3: SNV countries
Appendix 4: SNV activities
Appendix 5: SNVers
Appendix 6: SNV finances
Appendix 7: Chronology
General public (including academia) interested in socio-cultural History, Development Studies, especially the praxis of development work and the history of development cooperation.