Degree Name

MALS (Master of Arts in Liberal Studies)


Liberal Studies

Date of Award


Committee Chair or Co-Chairs

Marie Tedesco

Committee Members

Jill LeRoy-Frazier, Rebecca Adkins Fletcher


Many countries in West Africa, including Liberia, remain trapped in extreme poverty and dysfunctional social services amid continued increase in foreign aid. This study examines complexities influencing decisions of government donors in determining the kind of development assistance needed in Liberia and nation states in West Africa. This research explains the ways in which aid perpetuates poverty instead of alleviating it using interdisciplinary research approaches. Although aid is critical to Liberia’s development agenda, aid implementation faces numerous challenges because of extant poverty and rampant corruption.

Part of the problem in Liberia is not solely the failure of aid to meet its goals. I conclude that poverty persists despite billions of dollars in aid because of corruption, human rights abuses, and inequalities, not the concept of aid. Democracy is effective when economic development allows citizens to have power within their own nation and government is accountable to its citizens.

Document Type

Thesis - unrestricted


Copyright by the authors.