What is the moral rationale for aid? By ‘moral rationale’ I mean the set of arguments and reasons given to explain, justify or give legitimacy to the involvement in international aid that explicitly refer to moral norms, values or ethical principles. In t his study I will examine key policy documents and interview aid workers, and try to identify the main elements of the moral rationale Norwegian aid agencies have for their work. Following a description of the identified main elements of “the Norwegian eth ics of aid”, I will analyse and discuss the empirical findings. What are the expressed ethical norms, values, virtues, and attitudes that give legitimacy, motivate and govern Norwegian international aid? How should this moral rationale be assessed?
The aid agencies to be studied are The Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA), Norwegian Church Aid (NCA) and Save the Children Norway (SCN). Thus, while foreign aid studies often concentrate on governmental foreign aid, official development aid (ODA), t his study will consider both governmental and non-governmental aid together. Further, the voice of the individual aid workers will be emphasised. I will make use of qualitative text analysis in order to study the stated normative basis of development aid, e.g. by studying how this is expressed in relevant government or NGO documents. The main method used here to produce data, however, is the open “in depth-interview” with aid workers.
Accordingly, by empirically mapping aid agencies’ and aid workers’ et hical reflections and bringing this into the international discussion within contemporary development ethics, this project will give an ethical and empirical contribution to the theoretical and normative discussions about relief and development aid.