Vaughn Graham

The Ownership of Official Development Assistance in the Security and Justice Sector in Jamaica 2005-2013: How the Nature of Sectoral Policymaking Reflects and Challenges International Aid Policy.

Supervisors: Danielle Beswick and Heather Marquette

Since the early 1990s official development assistance by OECD DAC donors has been increasingly undertaken on a sector by sector basis. This has been reflected in reliance on sector-wide approaches (SWAps) as a development policy practice; and a way of ensuring ownership since 2005. Ownership now offers to change the relationship between donors and recipients and may help to make aid more effective. Therefore ownershiphas now become the central narrative of a global aid effectiveness agenda. By building on earlier experiences, SWAps are now elevated as the ideal vehicle through which to foster ownership in recipient sectors. However there are challenges.

Understandings of ownership are largely prescriptive, broad, and do not engage with the theoretical and operational aspects of sectoral development policymaking. Further, while much has been documented about SWAps in the health and education sectors in specific countries, SWAps in any security and justice sector continues to be sparse and contested 20 years on. We are not sure why, but are led to believe that these contestations are tied to country-specific institutional factors.

By relying on Institutionalism, the thesis offers to explore the sectoral policymaking implications of aid ownership, and discuss how the nature of domestic policymaking reflects and challenges its understanding.


Vaughn Graham is a doctoral researcher in the International Development Department at the University of Birmingham. Before coming to Birmingham he completed studies at the University of the West Indies (UWI), Mona, where he studied Public Administration and later specialized in Development Management. He was also part of the teaching team in the Department of Government, UWI, Mona.

Vaughn has worked with the Ministry of Justice in Jamaica for over 10 years, where his responsibilities and experience span justice programme management, justice policy development, research, and monitoring and evaluation. He has experience handling Government of Jamaica responsibilities under various donor funded programmes and projects (USAID, CIDA, CDB, UNDP, UNICEF, EU) and has represented the Ministry in various capacities. Between 2007 and 2009 he was instrumental in the early development of the National Policy on Restorative Justice. In 2009 he was sponsored by the United States Department of State as an International Visitor to study International Criminal Issues and the structure of the US Criminal Justice System in three states. In 2010 Vaughn received a UK Commonwealth Scholarship award to pursue doctoral studies in International Development.

Vaughn’s aspiration is to combine his professional and academic experiences to work with donors, civil society, and governments in developing countries.


  • BSc, MSc (UWI)
  • Post-Graduate Certificate in Project Design, Implementation, and Management, Jamaica
  • Post-Graduate Certificate in Organizational Development and Change, Jamaica

Research interests

  • Aid Effectiveness
  • Rule of Law
  • Security and Justice Sector Governance
  • Sector-wide Approaches (SWAps)
  • Programme Monitoring and Evaluation

Professional memberships

  • The American Society for Public Administration (ASPA)
  • The Canadian Association for the Study of International Development (CASID)
  • Development Exchange (Devex)
  • Evidence Based Policy in Development Network (EBPDN)
  • US Department of State Alumni Association

Teaching responsibilities

  • Graduate Teaching Assistant: Research Skills and Methods (UoB) 2012/13
  • Guest Panellist: Sector-Wide Approaches. Aid Management module (UoB) 2012.
  • Graduate Teaching Assistant: Social Research Methods I (UoB) 2012
  • Tutor: Introduction to Political Analysis (UWI) 2007-2010
  • External Examiner: Department of Government (UWI) 2007-2010

Conference papers

Graham, V. (2013) ‘Ownership as a Measure of Aid Effectiveness in the Security and Justice Sector: The Case of Jamaica’ Salford Postgraduate Annual Research Conference (SPARC) 2013: theory, practice, impact, University of Salford, UK, 5 June.

Graham, V. (2013) ‘(Un) Critically Deconstructing the Ownership Narrative in Sectoral Development Policymaking. How ‘Ownership’ Legitimizes Structure and Inhibits Change’ Critical Debates With(in) Development: Power, Resilience and Change, University of Sussex, UK, 13 June.


Graham, V. (2011) Book Review: The Literature Review: A Step-by-step Guide for Students by Diana Ridley, London: Sage, 2008 in Evaluation & Research in Education Vol. 24 (3) 2011.

Forthcoming revised publication titled “Evidence-Based Policymaking: What is it? How does it work? What Relevance for Developing Countries?” RAPID Programme Overseas Development Institute 2012.

Op-ed monthly publications in the PA Times based in Washington DC. I write on US-based Foreign Aid, Security, and Public Administration in the Caribbean. See