Counteracting Development Amnesia: Studies from the Periphery

Duration: 2013–2016

Funding: The Academy of Finland, no 260359

Project leader: Tiina Kontinen (JY), Prof. emeritus Juhani Koponen, corsortium leader (University of Helsinki)

Counteracting Amnesia in Development is a consortium project between the University of Helsinki, Finland; University of Jyväskylä, Finland; University of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania; and the Interdisciplinary Analysts, Kathmandu, Nepal. The research project investigates the notion of “development” both from historical and contemporary perspectives, and poses a question whether the institution of development is suffering from amnesia, and to what extent it is such a learning institutions it claims to be. The different subprojects examine development from the historical perspective, focusing on Finnish development cooperation, and the concept of development in Tanzania and Nepal in comparison with the local concepts of maendeleo and bikas. The subproject of the University of Jyväskylä scrutinizes on the institutional learning mechanisms of monitoring and evaluation. It investigates the criteria of organizational knowledge, and the ways knowledge produced in monitoring and evaluation contributes to learning. It also examines the institutional and historical characteristics of development that enable or hinder learning especially in the contexts of non-governmental organizations engaged in development.

Unpublished reports:

Kontinen, T. & Timonen, O. (2016) Reflections on organizational learning in a Finnish NGO. Report delivered to a case NGO, May 2016.

Kontinen, T. & Joro, V. & Robinson-Moncada, S. & Timonen, O. (2016) How do NGOs learn about monitoring? Towards a change in organizational epistemology in International Solidarity Foundation (ISF). Report delivered to ISF, January 2016.  


Timonen, O. & Kontinen, T. (2015) A narrative impact assessment of women’s empowerment in a community-based micro finance project in Cajamarca, Peru.  October 2015.

Joro, V. with Maria Jascent (2015) Narrative Assessment of "Gender Education Programme on Prevention of Domestic Violence" in Kyankwanzi and Wakiso, Uganda. Report delivered to ISF, October 2015.

Joro, V. (2017) Gender Roles and Domestic Violence: Narrative analysis of Social Construction of Gender in Uganda. Master Thesis, Political Sciences and the Master Degree Programme for Development and International Cooperation.


Kontinen, T. (2018) Learning and Forgetting in Development NGOs. Insights from Organisational Theory. Oxon: Routledge. 

Kontinen, T. & Onali, A. (2017) Strengthening Institutional Isomorphism in Development NGOs? Program Mechanisms in an Organizational Intervention. SAGE Open 7 (1).

Kontinen, T. (2016) What sense does it make? Vocabularies of practice considering knowledge creation in a development NGO. In: Hayman, R. & King, S. & Kontinen, T. &   Narayanaswamy, L. (eds). Negotiating Knowledge: Evidence and Experience in Development NGOs. Rugby: Practical Action,29-46.

Kontinen, T. & Katsui, H. (2015) Ethical, managerial and methodological perspectives in knowledge creation in two Finnish civil society organisations.  JEP – Austrian Journal of Development Studies 31(1).

Carbonnier, G., & Kontinen, T. (2015). Institutional Learning in North-South Research Partnerships. Revue Tiers Monde, (221), 149–162.