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The Doing Development Different (DDD) community emerged in August 2014 and advocates that (a) the barriers to development are as much political as technical; (b) international development agencies therefore need to design programmes to be problem-driven, locally led, flexible and adaptive, and politically smart.[1]

CARE’s programming principles reflect many of those in the DDD manifesto, particularly empowerment, partnership, learning, accountability and sustainability. The manifesto is a helpful reminder of how we can walk the talk. It also forces us to recognise that, to achieve these goals, CARE has to reconsider whose change we are contributing to, who we listen to, who we work with to achieve that change, and ultimately, how we share power with those whose empowerment we’re talking about.

Adapting the key aspects of the manifesto, and with insights from the Thinking and Working Politically (TWP) community of practice and the Collaborating Learning and Adapting (CLA) learning lab, we can highlight the following CARE learning and priorities:

  • Genuine collaboration and partnership with local actors: We need to let go of a CARE-centric approach. So we need to maintain and expand commitments to ask local women’s organization where they think we should focus, including marginalized concerns such as the labour rights of domestic workers or standing behind partners to promote pastoralist cross-border mobility and security.
  • More politically smart and locally owned analysis and planning: Doing development differently requires a focus on power relations, and a more grounded understanding of political context. CARE has increasingly learned the value of adapting political economy analyses to make them more problem-driven, participatory, iterative, and gender-sensitive.
  • Adaptable program design and implementation: We have shifted attention from a narrow focus on project-specific attribution to contribution to systems change. Using theory-based approaches such as outcome mapping and contribution tracingand the use of vignettes have been particularly helpful to identify the right data and capture complex social change processes more effectively. We have defined core standardsto help operationalise adaptive management, formulated complexity-aware monitoring, evaluation, learning guidance, and developed learning and reflection tools to support country teams and partners to better adapt programming to achieve transformative and sustainable change.
  • Fast feedback and learning loops: We need to listen more systematically to partners and project participants. We have experimented with Keystone’s constituent voice (CV™) model to help make feedback from impact populations and partners routine and as easy to use as possible. Increasing focus on knowledge management will also help ensure decisions are more evidence-based.
  • Brokering multi-stakeholder engagement to shift power: We have seen an increase in CARE’s role as a broker for multi-stakeholder engagement. This includes bridging scientific and community knowledge through participatory scenario planning (PSP) and supporting citizens to prioritise their own concerns and dialogue with power-holders through community scorecards (CSC), and using ICT platforms to scale these up.
  • Manage risk through small bets: Flexible central funding such as the Scale X Design competition has helped cultivate promising innovation from country teams, such as a smartphone application to digitize Village Savings and Loans Associations (VSLA) groups in Tanzania, or rapid prototyping for input supply shops which serve last-mile farmers.

Emergent learning about what it takes to do development differently

Ambitious manifesto pledge: To do development differently,agencies should be doing all of these things together. Yet, few of CARE’s projects coherently integratemore than a few of these features. We need to break down the walls between analysis, implementation, evaluation, accountability and learning. For example, how we can ensure that more politically smart analysis is systematically linked to M&E planning cycles and citizen feedback systems? This requires a significant refocusing of energy and resources, as these are often seen as optional “extras,” rather than core business priorities.

Organizational infrastructure: To do development differently,we need to better understand who we are, where we are; what we’re doing right and what we’re doing wrong.Developing the hardwaresuch as a CARE-wide strategy, an accountability framework, and an impact reporting system are key battles won. And these allow us to better define priorities (around gender equality, inclusive governance and resilience) and take the pulse of the organization. But now comes the fight to change some of our software; a focus on staff capacity and attitudes to make sure we really walk the talk.

To collaborate or compete: To do development differently, we need to let go of some of our own power; and recognize that doing so works. We should to be supporting able, but underfunded, local women’s organizations rather than undercutting their funding and sub-granting. “Brokering” means we need to listen and facilitate, and take a back seat when it really counts.

Donor flexibility: To do development differently, more than anything else, agencies like CARE need a more flexible funding structure. Roughly ¾ of CARE’s funding is restricted, and yet the majority of our best DDD examples were made possible through flexible donor funding streams such as framework agreements from DFID, Danida, or other private donors. Despite pockets of support within institutional donors, the Value for Money (VfM) and Payment by Results (PbR) agendas will only make the DDD agenda more difficult. So, we need a coherent narrative to show how flexible funding, like flexible money (e.g. cash transfers) is more effective in delivering the change citizens themselves really care about.

[1] For example, see Andrews, 2013; Booth and Unsworth, 2014; Pritchett et al., 2013; Wild et al. 2015; Valters et al. 2016.

doing_development_differently.txt · Last modified: 2019/01/31 20:31 by