Graduation Year

Spring 2012

Document Type

Open Access Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


Environmental Analysis

Reader 1

Brinda Sarathy

Reader 2

Melinda Herrold-Menzies

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Rights Information

© 2012 Ana Berry


This paper argues for the importance of scale, management and sovereign-led development in considering a more human-centric model for Third World development. It begins by reviewing the history of the mainstream Western development model through the evolution of modernization theory and foreign aid. It explores general critiques of this model offered by scholars, focusing on unequal power relations, the high cost of aid, and problems with ‘cookie cutter’ style development projects that don’t take into account disparate environments. As the paper progresses, focus shifts more specifically to hydropower development and ‘Big Dams’. Nepal is the main case study for exemplifying the problems with foreign-aid-funded dam projects and for proposing the alternative model of smaller scale, management-focused, nation-led development projects. While the scope of this study is limited, the growing success of these projects in Nepal suggests that more focus should be paid to applying these methods in other developing countries.