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Erin Sirett is one of Inter Pares’ current donors, but she also has a unique relationship to Inter Pares. She did her Ph.D. research on Inter Pares! For her Ph.D., Erin analyzed and critiqued international development and the non-governmental organization (NGO) sector. Her research explored how NGOs uphold colonial relationships in their North-South partnerships, despite their best intentions to develop equitable relationships. This is in large part due to the reporting and accountability requirements of government funding agencies. Erin admits that she finds it “a bit difficult to find hope in the NGO sector.” However, based on her experience working closely with Inter Pares and our Bangladeshi counterpart, Nijeri Kori, Erin finds Inter Pares and Nijera Kori exceptional in their awareness of the imperialism of international development and their intentional efforts to fight against it.
Erin describes Nijeri Kori as an organization that “organizes women and landless people to challenge their local political, economic and social structures.” She proclaims: “This is the type of work that needs be done to bring about social change. Inter Pares is a rare organization in the regard that the work they support is for political organizing and not simply service-delivery.” Erin supports this model of social change that is based on the teachings of Paolo Freire’s Pedagogy of Oppressed. This organizing model encourages communities to “take control of their own destinies and gives them the power to make the difference they want to see in their communities.”
Erin continues to donate with Inter Pares because she believes that the “contributions of individuals allows Inter Pares to be more autonomous in its work.” Having had the opportunity to travel to Bangladesh and experience the work done by Nijeri Kori Erin reflects: “Seeing the work was inspiring. I think of the people and all the risks that they take to bring about social change, and I want to do my part to support them”.
Inter Pares is a rare organization in the regard that the work they support is for political organizing and not simply service-delivery.