This paper introduces a series of reflections by alumni of the ODI Fellowship Scheme. The reflections range over the period when the Scheme started, when the Nuffield Foundation provided the seed-money and when the gifted brain of the ODI’s first Director, William Clark, devised the Fellowship model which still broadly holds, for several of them served as Fellows in Africa in the early years of independence. I want to respond here though to three frequently-asked questions which arise from such commentaries (and are sometimes more than implicit in them)
- Is the Scheme really demand-led?
- Isn’t technical assistance simply self-perpetuating?
- While is it clear the Fellows benefit, including in their future careers, is that all?
In short, I want to explain why we are still running something called the ODI Fellowship Scheme, with larger numbers of Fellows, forty years later, and several decades after African, Pacific and Caribbean countries achieved their independence.