Web Article: The Pandemic, the Fourth Development Pillar, and the Philippines (DevPolicy Blog, ANU)

Utilising Develtere’s typology, the traditional aid industry is dominated by three major groups: official bilateral development agencies (the first pillar); multilateral international institutions (the second pillar); and non-government development organisations (the third pillar). In the past two decades, the field of development cooperation has seen the emergence and proliferation of a gamut of novel actors that form part of what Develtere and De Bruyn call the fourth pillar of development. This refers to a variety of relatively small and spontaneous initiatives emanating from a diverse group of non-development specialists – including individuals, families and philanthropistsfaith-based groupsdiaspora or migrant groups, and a range of others – that demonstrate a degree of commitment to respond to development needs.

The fourth pillar actors are not necessarily development workers, but a common feature they all share is the intention to contribute something good to their society by taking action themselves. As concerned citizens, they feel responsible for helping resolve development challenges. In contrast to the structured way of traditional development actors in defining and carrying out development work through a certain development methodology imbued with a planning logic, the non-traditional actors are characterised by their ‘anthropo-logical’ and do-it-yourself approach whereby qualities, characteristics, and skills of people are all deemed central. By making good use of varied resources ranging from money, time, talents, networks, experiences, and labour, these new actors are able to respond to the lacunae in the development work managed and mandated by the first three pillars.

The spirit of solidarity and the decentralised cooperation instigated by the fourth pillar resonate with the Filipino indigenous concept called bayanihan, described by Ang as the “collective effort to achieve one goal” and the “practical response to both individual and community needs which, under certain circumstances, would be difficult to achieve if people with meager means did not organise themselves and pool together their resources”. Bankoff refers to this communal practice as “toiling on another’s behalf and assuming another’s burdens”, and Ealdama defines it as “a Filipino tradition where people just went out of their way to help those in need”.

The full article can be accessed at https://devpolicy.org/the-pandemic-the-fourth-development-pillar-and-the-philippines-20200605-1/

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Published originally on 5 June 2020 at https://devpolicy.org/the-pandemic-the-fourth-development-pillar-and-the-philippines-20200605-1/

Development Policy Blog is hosted by the Crawford School of Public Policy, Australian National University.

Photo by Stefan Munder from Flickr/CC BY 2.0

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