Development is a difficult undertaking in any environment, but much more so in places such as Myanmar with its “perfect storm” of extreme poverty, international sanctions, and political repression and human rights violations with concomitant conflicts within development organizations over norms and policies.
Context-Sensitive Development examines how to effect successful development interventions in Myanmar. Anthony Ware points out that while practitioners have questioned universal economic prescriptions for development, they have not been as consistent in questioning the normative foundations behind their work. Ware does not argue for a facile moral relativism; he sees Myanmar as an egregious violator of human rights, but he does call for “context sensitivity” to help organizations adapt their values to better meet the needs of client populations.
Through his years of practice in the field and extensive series of interviews, the author brings into focus key issues of perception and practice that are intrinsic to the development enterprise. Although the focus is on Myanmar as a quintessential “difficult” case, Ware shows how his conclusions can be used elsewhere. His book represents a major contribution to both development theory and practice, vital for both the classroom and the development organization in situ.