Debates: Increasing IO Efficacy

My research partner and I have been attempting to tackle a problem highlighted by various local officials in Bosnia about International Organizations and NGOs. The issue is that oftentimes external aid often involves a team of people who come in, provide a few training sessions, and then leave. These sessions can often be complicated, and don’t address practical skills local officials need in order to properly implement government reform. This is especially true when NGOs are focusing on improving local government and increasing citizen participation.
My thought on a possible solution was that instead of short term training programs, NGOs should create multi-stage long-term plans that involve assigning a few experts to stay in each municipal level administrative office to ensure new policies and practices are implemented correctly. The overall goal for these governments is to increase the effectiveness of local government while simultaneously increasing transparency and reducing corruption. These “foreign attach├ęs” would essentially be on assignment for a few years, possible switched out with every so often, just the way diplomats are in embassies. Local staff and officials that remain would help with continuity, but the idea is that they would have constant guidance and supervision on their operations. As each office better understands the culture of good governance and is able to weed out corruption, the number of foreign advisors would reduce, or their terms would decrease until finally they are only sent for annual evaluations and check-ups.

My research partner argues that this is not practically applicable, that local staff would have a hard time accepting these officials and that this kind of program would undermine any local effort to improve local government. I do agree that this can almost be construed to be some kind of colonization, but the UN High Commissioner in Bosnia essentially does the same thing on a federal level. It is very difficult to get any policy or discussion between the parties in Bosnia without his insistence or guidance. Therefore it is clear that Bosnia’s democracy is at a fledgling state, and whatever the implications may be, they need all the help they can get in order to create an effective administration.

An extreme case is Kosovo, where the country is essentially entirely controlled by EULEX, an EU body that runs Kosovar policy and administration. This model has essentially completely delegitimized the country and any efforts they have put forth on truly governing themselves. I think this case shows a good example of the precautions that would need to be in place if we were to implement a multi-stage guidance program, however I do think long-term foreign advisors are necessary if democracy is ever going to work in Bosnia.

Thoughts on the pros and cons of this?