This paper addresses the question of effectiveness in international development practice. An experience of North-South collaboration to strengthen the social work program at Nicaragua's Universidad Centroamericana is described and discussed in the context of a critical discussion of evaluative literature on international development assistance programs. It is noted that qualities found to be associated with effectiveness in overseas development assistance workers resemble remarkably closely skills expected in social workers. Given the coincidence of social work values and skills with acompañamiento, the most progressive of approaches to international development practice, an argument is made for an enlarged role for social workers in international development work.