These are my (arbitrary, personal, non-evidence-based) rules of thumb for identifying good development work:
- Starting out by buying cars.
- Claiming to work in “Africa” without specifying a location.
- More than four partners in your implementation coalition.
- A local to expat ration of less than 5:1 (10 or 15 to 1 – or more – is far better).
- Planning/budgeting for more than 4 visits from HQ a year.
- Extensive use of international interns.
- Using program staff as translators and interpreters.
- National staff in management positions over expats.
- Terrifying, highly experienced financial staff and a rigorous financial reporting system.
- Close collaboration with government on its lowest level – with city, town, and village authorities.
- Sharing of monitoring and evaluation data with the communities the projects works with, and training those communities on how to review the data.
- 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.
- Extensive use of paid local interns.
- Specific rather than standardized indicators for monitoring and evaluation.
- 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.