Coastline in Greneda

"Never a Dull Day": Civil Society and Sustainable Development in the Eastern Caribbean.

The project is about civil society organisations and sustainable development in the Eastern Caribbean. It looks at how civil society groups work towards sustainable development in small island contexts, how they sustain their work in a rapidly changing global development landscape and the practices, relationships, knowledge and experiences that contribute to ‘doing development’ by civil society groups.


Duration: From 2014 – 2017.


The research is an ESRC funded collaborative project with an intergovernmental organisation based in London, the Commonwealth Foundation. The research is concerned with how civil society can best be supported from the outside by international organisations and the complexities associated with this kind of support.

It takes place in the Caribbean, specifically the islands of Barbados and Grenada.

The objectives of the project are:

1. To develop an ethnographically inspired understanding of civil society groups in the sustainable development sector in the Caribbean.

2. To consider what implications this understanding might have for the way that civil society is conceptualised and engaged with by international agencies.

This project is important because civil society organisations are important development actors, with significant amounts of funding flowing through them. They have, however, been heavily critiqued for being ineffective and inefficient, with potentially limited capacity to address the root causes of development problems. How best to strengthen civil society is a crucial question for many international organizations, with existing frameworks of civil society often based on western and eurocentric understandings of the concept. This project aims to use the experiences of civil society groups to generate alternative perspectives on civil society and its place within the global development industry.

The project hopes to build a body of work that is useful for international organizations and civil society groups, encouraging them to reflect on their role within the global development industry.


Researchers involved in this project include: Sarah Peck, Daniel Hammett, Juan Miguel Kanai, The Commonwealth Foundation, civil society groups in the Caribbean.