How I’m Judging You

Statue of Justice

These are my (arbitrary, personal, non-evidence-based) rules of thumb for identifying good development work:

Bad signs

  1. Starting out by buying cars.
  2. Claiming to work in “Africa” without specifying a location.
  3. More than four partners in your implementation coalition.
  4. A local to expat ration of less than 5:1 (10 or 15 to 1 – or more – is far better).
  5. Planning/budgeting for more than 4 visits from HQ a year.
  6. Extensive use of international interns.
  7. Using program staff as translators and interpreters.

Good signs

  1. National staff in management positions over expats.
  2. Terrifying, highly experienced financial staff and a rigorous financial reporting system.
  3. Close collaboration with government on its lowest level – with city, town, and village authorities.
  4. Sharing of monitoring and evaluation data with the communities the projects works with, and training those communities on how to review the data.
  5. A clear vision of what the target area (group, community…) will look like once the project is over and what will have changed. Approval from the target area/group/community of the vision, and support for it.
  6. Extensive use of paid local interns.
  7. Specific rather than standardized indicators for monitoring and evaluation.
  8. Translators on staff.

PS – Thanks to Brendan for reminding me why I write.

Photo credit: Citizensheep
Chosen because, you know, judging, justice…look, it’s not easy choosing images.