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development talks

Doing Development Differently - why aid has to change and how

Uppdaterad: 20 september 2016

When: Wednesday, October 5, 2016                                  
Time: 09:30-11:45 for Development Talks and 13:00-15:00 for workshops (Registration and coffee from 09:00)
Venue: Sida, Valhallavägen 199, Stockholm (Oasen)

Too many development initiatives have limited impact. Educational curricula are developed but children do not learn. Nurses are trained but clinics lack staff. Governments adopt reforms but institutional practices remain the same and too little changes for their citizens.

Genuine development progress is complex: solutions are not simple or obvious, those who would benefit most lack power, those who can make a difference are often disengaged and political barriers are too often overlooked. Development initiatives often fail to address or adapt to these complex realities, promoting interventions that will have little impact.

As a response to this a number of development practitioners and researchers promote approaches under the heading of Doing Development Differently, which:

  • focus on solving local problems that are debated, defined and refined by local people in an ongoing process.
  • are legitimised at all levels (political, managerial and social), building ownership and momentum throughout the process to be ‘locally owned’ in reality (not just on paper).
  • work through local conveners who mobilise all those with a stake in progress (in both formal and informal coalitions and teams) to tackle common problems and introduce relevant change.
  • blend design and implementation through rapid cycles of planning, action, reflection and revision (drawing on local knowledge, feedback and energy) to foster learning from both success and failure.

Welcome to an inquisitive and forward-looking Development Talks where we will share various experiences, explore new ideas and gather strong advocates on how to Do Development Differently.

The event is free of charge. Register by Tuesday October 4, 2016. The afternoons parallel workshops are unfortunately fully booked.


Moderator: Sida


09:00 Coffee and Registration

09:30 Welcome and Introduction
Anna Hammargren, Deputy Director General, International Development Cooperation Department, Ministry for Foreign Affairs.

International Development in the 21st Century: Where have we come from, Where are we going, and What's Next?
Dr Ben Ramalingam, research fellow and digital cluster leader at Institute of Development Studies, UK and author of “Aid on the Edge of Chaos”, and Leni Wild, Research Fellow, Overseas Development Institute, UK.

Adapting in Myanmar – lessons from the field
Jonathan Beloe, Director, Context Adaptability, International Rescue Committee. Exploring how programs adapt in practice, drawing on ADAPT research in Myanmar.

Panel discussion
Ben Ramalingam, research fellow and digital cluster leader at Institute of Development Studies, Leni Wild, Research Fellow, Overseas Development Institute, Emma Proud, Director of Mercy Corps’ Centre of Excellence for adaptive management, Nicole Goldstein, Advisor, Better Delivery Department, DfID, Samir K. Doshi, Senior Scientist and Lead, Real-Time Data for Adaptive Management, USAID Global Development Lab, Per Nordlund, Sida’s lead policy specialist on democracy and human rights.

Closing notes and how to stay engaged
Sida on what happens next, the workshops that will ensue and how to stay engaged in the discussion on Doing Development Differently.

11:45 Lunch
(Lunch is not provided by Sida, but the restaurant is open for all participants)

13:00-15:00 Parallel Workshops
The facilitated workshops will get participants working to unpack what DDD approaches would mean in practice in each area.  

1. Thinking and working politically: everyday political analysis and how to make successful problem-solving practices sustainable?

Facilitated by Per Nordlund, Lead Policy Specialist on Democracy and Human Rights at Sida, Helena Bjuremalm, International Idea and Leni Wild, Research Fellow, Overseas Development Institute.
Aid practitioners are increasingly accepting that development is inherently political in character. And if the problem is political we have to change relations of power and sustain behavioural change, meaning that technical solutions or aid volumes may not suffice. So how should aid practitioners change what they do, and how they do it? Political analysis with short feedback loops, flexible and adaptive ways of working are central for answering this question - and for solving real development problems and challenges, that if sustained lead to behavioural changes that can be consolidated into organisational and institutional structures. This is very different from more standard development projects and programme approach that aim to build institutions and organisations to solve problems. How do we do political economy analysis and programme implementation that supports consolidation of successful practices and behavioural change that in turn build institutions and organisations?   

2. How can Sida enable and support our cooperation partners to Do Development Differently?

Facilitated by Jonathan Francis and Rebecka Kitzing-Ivarsson, Department for Organisational Development, Sida, Ben Ramalingam, IDS and Simon Gill, Project Director for Budget Strengthening initiative, Overseas Development Institute.
This will be an interactive workshop where we will explore concretely the barriers to working iteratively and adaptively. The focus of the workshop will be on results based management and the relationship between Sida and its cooperation partners. Participants are encouraged to think in terms of processes (design, monitoring, evaluation, learning, etc.) and tools (log frames, agreements, work plans, budgets, reports, etc.). The purpose of the workshop is to identify specific barriers to working iteratively and adaptively and to consider steps to overcome these barriers.

3. Leadership and learning for adaptive organisations – what does it take?

Facilitated by Samir K. Doshi, Lead, Real-Time Data for Adaptive Management, USAID Global Development Lab, Joakim Molander, Head of Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation and Emma Proud, Director for Centre of Excellence, Mercy Corps Europe.
This session will explore what an institution or organisation needs to do in order to foster adaptive practices that put iteration and learning at the centre. What does it take in term of organisational buy-in and how can one foster that? What does it take in terms of leadership, incentive structures, culture and working practices and what are possible ways to bring those about?

4. Iterative adaptation in practice with ADAPT

Led by Jonathan Beloe, Director, Context Adaptability, International Rescue Committee.
This session will take the form of a seminar where participants can learn from the ADAPT research and pilots and share own experiences of practicing adaptive management approaches. Themes that will be explored through the case studies and pilots will promote discussions regarding; adaptive by design - integrating adaptive approaches into the design of new projects; adaptive implementation - how to ensure that implementation is iterative, agile, and analysis driven;  and building donor-implementing agency relationships and enabling environments for adaptive practice.

15:10-15:40 Summing up from the workshops
A joint reflection with short synthesis from each workshop and a discussion on next steps.

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