Academic Partnership in Support of Teaching Development Aid Curriculum in Russia

The Government of Russia is undertaking efforts to recreate its own national aid delivery infrastructure and build up the institutional capacity of its organisations responsible for international development.

The World Bank is assisting Russia in its endeavour to build capacity for more effective and efficient development assistance by providing technical support to the ‘Russia as a Donor Initiative’ (RDI) programme. This programme is led by the Russian Ministry of Finance and the World Bank’s technical assistance is funded by the Government of UK, Department for International Development (DfID).

The Institute of Development Studies (IDS), UK was commissioned by the World Bank to provide input into the implementation of the RDI programme. Specifically, through the provision of knowledge transfer to Russian academic institutions and universities in development and teaching training courses related to development aid issues within the tertiary and graduate education programmes. IDS is a leading organisation in the field of international development with a reputation of expertise in policy, research and teaching and learning.

Aims and objectives

The overall aim of the RDI is to support capacity building for Russia as a donor by offering access to international experience in development aid and providing recommendations for the Russian Official Development Assistance (ODA) programme.

In order to contribute to this aim, the specific objectives of IDS’ role in this were to:

  • Develop curriculum materials for postgraduate programmes and professional development short courses for civil servants working in the field of aid and international development
  • Build capacity of Russian academics working in this field
  • Share outputs widely with Higher Education Institutions throughout the Russian Federation and government ministries

In order to realise these objectives the following activities were planned:

  • Identify a group of Russian academics working in this field
  • Design a programme of IDS mentoring and support for the Russian team to write curriculum and training materials
  • Produce draft curriculum materials
  • Hold workshops with a wider group of academics from Russian universities and Russian civil servants to share the materials produced


November 2010:

The team leaders from IDS visited Moscow to meet with the group of Russian academics from the three institutions: Higher School of Economics (HSE), Moscow State Institute of International Relations of Russia (MGIMO), and Moscow State University (MGU). A total of 12 academics signed up for the project. The purpose of the visit was for the IDS team leaders and the academics to get to know each other and to develop the structure and timeline of the project, and draft an outline of the overall structure of the curriculum materials.

December 2010:

The Russian team visited IDS to work with IDS fellows – coming from the Governance, Globalisation, and Vulnerability and Poverty Reduction teams – over a two-week period to begin process of developing content for lectures and modules and to identify key readings for the accompanying reader.

The two-week visit was structured around presentations by IDS fellows followed by discussions focused on the integration of the material from the presentation into the curriculum design. The academics began the process of developing the different topics, modules and content for the curriculum materials and IDS fellows provided feedback on the different drafts.

January/February 2011:

The Russian team continued to develop the curriculum materials with comments and input from the IDS team. The final draft of the content was produced in mid-February 2011 together with an accompanying reader.

March 2011:

Two workshops were held in Moscow to share the training modules. Both the academics from the Moscow-based universities and the IDS representatives presented the contents of the training materials. One workshop was held with Russian civil servants and the second with academics from universities within the Russian Federation.

The first workshop was held 17-18 March 2011 and participants included representatives from the following organisations:

  • Ministry of Finance, Russian Federation
  • Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Russian Federation
  • Ministry of Economic Development
  • Rossotrudnichestvo
  • Federal Supervision Service for Consumer Rights Protection and People Welfare
  • Center for International Cooperation in Education Development (CICED)
  • International donors including USAID, UNDP and Government of Netherlands and the World Bank

The second workshop was held 21-22 March 2011 and participants included representatives from the following academic institutions:

  • Higher School of Economics
  • Diplomatic Academy Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Russian Federation
  • Irkutsk State Railway University
  • Moscow State University
  • Moscow State University of International Relations
  • State Academy of Economy and Rights, Khabarovsk
  • Yaroslavl State University
  • St Petersburg State University
  • St Petersburg State University of Economy and Finance
  • State University of Tomsk
  • Financial Academy under the Government of the Russian Federation


The curriculum materials produced largely by the Russian partners, with guidance and direction by IDS Fellows, comprised a series of four sections:

  • Theoretical Framework of International Development Aid
  • International Development Aid Architecture
  • Development Aid in Practice
  • Russia as a Donor