• Report

Absorptive Capacity: From donor perspectives to recipients’ professional views


Serie, R. A., Ayiro, L., Reyes, M. B., Crouch, L., Godia, G., & Martins, G. (2009). Absorptive Capacity: From donor perspectives to recipients’ professional views. (Background paper prepared for the Education for All Global Monitoring Report 2010: Reaching the marginalized). United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization.


The first decades following the end of the Second World War saw several developments that led to two simultaneous types of emergent “consciousness” in the richer countries, particularly, at first, among those on the victorious side. The events “driving” the new forms of awareness were the apparent success of the Marshall Plan, the successful formation of a new raft of international institutions, and the gradual emergence, culminating in the 1960s, of a whole new set of post-colonial nations. Two lessons of the aftermath of the First World War, in particular (amongst many others not relevant here, such as lessons learnt about monetary policy), seemed to have been learnt, to a significant degree, by the end of the Second World War: the importance of assisting rather than punishing or neglecting those whom circumstances had impoverished, and the importance of international collaboration, after the failure of the League of Nations to do anything particularly meaningful and the failure of some powerful nations to endorse the concept. The fact that specific individuals, such as Keynes, who had witnessed, studied, and presciently commented on the results of the Versailles peace at the end the first war, were still alive and active at the end of the second war, meant that their personal experience lent specificity, urgency, and optimism to the notion of “trying to do better from now on.”