Technical Advisors as Brokers: Translating Gender Equality and Human Rights Policies and Values into Practice in the Water Sector in Nepal

  • Pamela WhiteEmail author
  • Juho Haapala
Original Article


How are development policies, prepared by donors, translated into practice in different social settings? Many modalities are used, but we consider bilateral projects to be a conduit for value change and sustainable development. Our case concerns two bilateral projects with Nepali and international technical advisors. The article discusses the complex scenario that technical advisors must navigate to broker policy ideals into practice. They must respect the intentions and regulatory and normative frameworks of the donor and recipient governments, and the local cultures and realities of the local governments and villagers with whom they work. At the same time, they promote value change in support of gender equality and human rights. This also raises the question of whose values count—those of the donor, Nepalese Government, local participants or the advisors? We argue that technical assistance has an indispensable role in facilitating sustainable, equitable and inclusive rural development outcomes in socio-culturally difficult operational environments.


Development cooperation Technical advisors Gender equality Social inclusion Rural water supply Human rights Nepal Brokers 


Comment les politiques de développement, élaborées par les bailleurs de financement, sont-elles traduites dans la pratique dans différents contextes sociaux? De nombreuses modalités sont utilisées, mais nous considérons que les projets bilatéraux sont un vecteur de changement de valeur et de développement durable. Notre cas concerne deux projets bilatéraux avec des conseillers techniques népalais et internationaux. L’article traite du scénario complexe que doivent suivre les conseillers techniques pour négocier la mise en pratique des idéaux politiques. Ils doivent respecter les intentions et les cadres réglementaires et normatifs des gouvernements bailleur et récipiendaire, ainsi que les cultures et réalités locales des gouvernements locaux et des villageois avec lesquels ils travaillent. Dans le même temps, ils encouragent le changement de valeur en faveur de l’égalité des sexes et des droits humains. Cela soulève également la question de savoir quelles sont les valeurs qui comptent - celles du bailleur de financement, du gouvernement népalais, des participants locaux ou des conseillers? Nous soutenons que l’assistance technique a un rôle indispensable à jouer pour faciliter un développement rural durable, équitable et inclusif dans des environnements opérationnels difficiles sur le plan socioculturel.



We are grateful for the participation of the key informants and project staffs, and the travel grant received from ‘Maa- ja vesitekniikan tuki ry’.


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Copyright information

© European Association of Development Research and Training Institutes (EADI) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of HelsinkiHelsinkiFinland
  2. 2.FCG International Ltd.HelsinkiFinland
  3. 3.HelsinkiFinland
  4. 4.Water and Development Research GroupAalto UniversityAaltoFinland

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