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Teams that Do Development Differently

In the Global Policy Journal, Jehanzeb Khan and Annette Fisher argue that ‘Doing Development Differently’ is as much about the people and processes as it is about programme design and technical approaches.

Palladium’s Empowerment, Voice and Accountability for Better Health and Nutrition (EVA) project works with Pakistan’s media sector to build the capacity of journalists to produce stories on health issues.

You can’t go far these days in development circles without hearing about the importance of development work that is adaptive, locally led and ‘done differently’. And for good reason, there are strong indications to suggest that the failure of international development programming to achieve its objectives lies in tendencies to be too bureaucratic, donor driven and technocratic. But the track record of this growing consensus in bringing about changes in the way development is being delivered remains weak.

At a recent event on the two year anniversary of the Doing Development Differently network, practitioners noted the lack of an enabling organisational environment in relation to processes of procurement, financial management and human resourcing as a major blockage to putting a Problem Driven Iterative Adaptation (PDIA) approach into practice. To navigate the constraints of this environment it’s crucial for the conversation to move to the nitty gritty of operationalising a PDIA approach; for organisations working to deliver adaptive and locally led interventions to better develop their voices and learn from each other’s experiences.

Inspired by this thinking, two programmes funded by DFID recently engaged in a process of lesson sharing – the Engaged Citizen’s Pillar (ECP) of the Partnership to Engage, Reform and Learn in Nigeria and the Empowerment, Voice and Accountability for Better Health and Nutrition (EVA) project in Pakistan. A key area of lesson learning from the workshop was how to successfully manage human resources to deliver a locally led, politically smart and adaptive approach. This blog highlights some key points from the meeting.

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