Mainstream literature in international development has focussed either on advocating for ‘direct’ interventions (changing developing countries following western models) or on the dangers of intervention (for instance advocating for neoliberal trade as a solution to African poverty). Until recently, this dichotomy has obscured a possible third way, that of ‘indirect’ interventions, an approach that has gained increasing consensus in the last decade. While indirect development offers a solid approach, no models are analysed in the literature that can help scholars and practitioners advance this field further. This first chapter introduces the reader to the need for exploring models of indirect interventions and explains how each chapter contributes to grounding such a model on ethnographic evidence. This chapter also briefly provides the reader with critical information about research methodology and the characteristics of the ethnographic study, introducing Tostan communities as appropriate sites for a case study.
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