The problem with bottom up approaches to development

Both are right. Participatory #ValuingVoices is key but incentives for change and equity, both within donors and communities are complex

Waylaid Dialectic

Duncan Green has an enthusiastic blog post on an interesting sounding book in which bottom-up approaches to development are promoted over conventional aid. Duncan writes:

 It covers a series of themes, with a set of practical recommendations on each:

Identifying and supporting local capacity
Listening to local voices to develop responses and approaches
Using funding mechanisms that enable rather than distort local entities
Supporting local actors to work together to achieve greater impact

It then distils these into a set of ‘good practice principles’ and key recommendations which are worth reproducing in full:

Good Practice Principles:

1. Listening: design and adjust according to locally-felt concerns and shifts in the local context; listen to and act upon information and feedback received.

2. Harnessing and deploying latent capabilities: before identifying gaps and needs, look at what already exists in terms of local resources and capabilities, and how they can be supported.


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Monitoring-and-Evaluation versus Management

Nice blog on ICT (information and communications technology) and M&E (monitoring and evaluation) in international development, about how M&E is to compensate for weak management…

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I’m at the M&E Tech conference in DC today. It’s two days of discussion on how to better use technology for monitoring and evaluation of development projects—and, relatedly, how to monitor and evaluate the use of technology for development projects. So ICT4M&E as well as M&E for ICT4D. Got it? Cool.

We’re barely done with the second session but I have a quick reaction: We’ve talked a lot about the need to put more time and money into M&E. It’s a perennial issue in development, even ignoring the technology dimension.

What’s always struck me as weird about the “spend more on M&E” argument is that the whole idea of M&E is totally unique to development, aid, nonprofits, and the broader social good space. M&E doesn’t exist in the private sector. Why is that?

Short answer: monitoring and evaluation are part and parcel with management. Whether you’re managing a project, store, service provider, manufacturing plant, or…

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