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Title An investigation of the usefulness of an international organization to a small island developing state: the case of Seychelles and the Commonwealth
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2014
URL http://uir.unisa.ac.za/bitstream/handle/10500/14176/thesis_bru_jba.pdf?sequence=1
A major aim of many international organizations is to support development in
member countries but despite the importance of this objective in international
relations and international cooperation, there are surprisingly few evaluations
regarding the effectiveness of development assistance as perceived by recipients.
This study, which was conducted using qualitative research methods, addresses
the issue as it applies to Seychelles and the Commonwealth.
The focus of the Modern Commonwealth, an association of 54 countries, is to fulfil
the agenda of member countries as stated in periodic declarations of heads of
states. The association has been particularly active, and vocal, in supporting
small, least developed, and vulnerable states, including small island developing
The Republic of Seychelles, a member of the Commonwealth since 1976, is a
microstate with limited resources to support national development. Relying heavily
on overseas development aid, then on commercial loans, the country attained
remarkable levels of socio-economic development despite reaching the verge of
bankruptcy in 2008 – when help was sought from the IMF. The continued
existence of deep political dissensions has also earned it the label of „unquiet
Despite considerable support received from the Commonwealth, few individuals in
positions of responsibility in Seychelles think that this assistance has had an
impact on the country?s development. Commonwealth support in areas which
could potentially change the future of the islands, such as maritime boundaries
and petroleum prospecting, are generally invisible to most.
It is clear that some Commonwealth assistance is visionary and sustained but
according to recipients in Seychelles, the bulk of it falls short of expectations. This
perception is due mostly to the inability of people in-country to connect with the
Commonwealth or to understand how the Commonwealth functions. ii
Commonwealth officials also seem unaware of the effects of their assistance
programmes on intended recipients in Seychelles.
The study reveals that communication systems that are inclusive rather than
exclusive, approaches that show sensitivity to national context, and a focus on
relationship-building, could improve both the content and relevance of the
assistance provided by an international organization as well as recipients?
perception of the value of this assistance.

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