Nina van der Puije


Research Clusters

PhD Project Title

Decolonizing Evaluation Practice in the Development Sector. Towards the Acknowledgment of African Religious ‘Development Alternatives'.


OECD countries‘ "development" practice traditionally strove for "development" goals driven by "modern" social, technical and economic ideals. These ideals stem from values and norms that have their roots in "Western“ industrialised countries. Amid persistent poverty, refugee flows, redistribution conflicts and ecological constraints – despite six decades of "development" cooperation – the renowned "development" approaches are increasingly being challenged. So far the established “development" cooperation sector rarely identifies “non-modern“ approaches toward “development” or much less recognises their contribution towards constructing a better society. This is particularly the case for religious and spiritual approaches towards sustainable transformation, despite their prominent role in the lives of many in the “South”. Through the case example of African Initiated Churches’ “development” approaches, this study seeks to unearth the reforms in "development" evaluation practice required to acknowledge the potential of “non-Western” situated (religious) knowledge toward sustainable transformation.

Edu­ca­tio­nal Back­ground

  • Since 2022 – today: PhD candidate Interdisciplinary IRTG, Humboldt University of Berlin, Germany
  • 2017 – 2022:  PhD candidate- Department for Development Policy and Postcolonial Studies, Kassel University, Germany
  • 2010:  M.A. degree in Comparative Religion and Ethnology at Goethe University Frankfurt, Germany

Professional Experience

  • Since 2022 – today: Research fellow - Interdisciplinary IRTG Transformative Religion. Humboldt University of Berlin, Germany
  • Since 2018 – today: Associated Researcher - Research Programme on Religious Communities and Sustainable Development, Humboldt University of Berlin, Germany
  • 2011 - today: Consultant and Evaluation Advisor for several development cooperation agencies (German Development Cooperation (GIZ), Bread for the World, Misereor - amongst others)


  • Acknowledging Development Alternatives and Local Knowledge: The Key for Revitalizing Global Partnerships (SDG 17)? Reflections on Development Cooperation Reform. Paper presented at the EXCEED/DIE Conference on Rethinking Development Cooperation - Bonn, September 2018
  • African Initiated Churches as Advocates for Development Alternatives? Religion and Development from a Post-Development Perspective. Paper presented at the Research Programme Workshop on Religious Communities and Sustainable Development - Berlin, June 2018
  • Strehl, Meike, Nina van der Puije, Aram Ziai. 2020. Was bedeuten gleichberechtigte Süd-Nord-Beziehungen in der Praxis? In: Welthaus Bielefeld 21, 2-3.