We Need to Change How We Define Success in Development

Development is sensitive, political, difficult and often surprisingly controversial work, and the changes sought can be difficult to measure or quantify. Transformative agendas cannot be accomplished through an obsession with "bang for the buck" and the pressure to demonstrate numerical impact within short periods of time.By Bipasha Baruah I was asked recently to reflect on the changes I would like to see in the Canadian development sector, and the international development community at large, over the next decade. Here is my wish list. First, I think it is important to interrogate some established development orthodoxies. "Global north and south," "partnerships," "cost-effectiveness," "replication and scale" come to mind because they are frequently invoked but seldom defined or analyzed. Are terms like "global north and south" (introduced initially as an alternative to other problematic descriptors such as "developed" or "developing" countries, "first world" and "third world" nations) really relevant in a multi-polar world with deepening inequality between, within and across countries Or do we need to evolve a new vocabulary to talk about global development "Partnerships" are another one of those "sublime objects of ideology" that I think we should subject to interrogation. Even those of us supportive of the general thrust of partnerships frequently find ourselves confounded by the difficulties in achieving genuine partnerships based on equality and mutual respect, especially in contexts where there is tremendous disparity in power, influence and material resources. Are partnerships merely about contracting out arrangements with a few rhetorical caveats to make them look less like a servant/master model Some rethinking and reframing is definitely necessary.The development sector's engagement with poverty alleviation has evolved considerably over the past 40 years. Significant efforts have been made to accommodate conceptual advancements in the broader field of development studies. For example, because of a more nuanced structural understanding and acknowledgement of the sources of women's poverty and disempowerment, today many more actors in development engage not just with employment and labour force participation as means to empower women (and men in some settings), but also with more politically sensitive issues (property rights, political participation and the gendered division of intra-household labour, to name a few) that they had previously been hesitant or unwilling to take on. These progressive shifts have ironically occurred alongside regressive changes that construct poverty alleviation and gender equality not as complex structural issues but rather as technical-rational topics that can be addressed through a bureaucratic approach to development management and practice. The widespread use within donor agencies, government organizations, charities and even NGOs of the language and logic of business management -- through, for example, tools such as Results Based Management (RBM) and Logical Framework Analysis (LFA) -- has had a profound impact not just upon how development is conceptualized and operationalized, but also upon the operational cultures and management styles of organizations working on the ground to alleviate poverty and promote gender equality. Consequently, these actors increasingly understand development more as a managerial issue that can be planned, carried out and evaluated within short periods of time rather than as a messy, unpredictable process of social change. A single-minded focus on value for money and measurable outcomes has been central to this development regime. My criticisms of the obsession with cost-effectiveness, replication and scale are not blind to the fact there is indeed a great need for low-cost and high-volume technical and social innovations to improve the lives of poor people around the world. It is easy to appreciate the benefits that things like energy-efficient cook stoves, water purifiers, or solar lights can offer and the fact that they should probably be disseminated to large numbers of people in order to have a broad impact. My criticism has more to do with the assumption that such one-step simplistic interventions that make no effort to question entrenched inequitable social norms or structural global hierarchies will create lasting social change. I encourage the diverse constellation of actors that make up the contemporary development sector -- international aid organizations, development banks, national and foreign governments, local and transnational NGOs, private sector firms, social enterprises and charitable foundations -- to consider that quantity is not always more important than quality. The depth of the impact and the detail of the intervention must also be considered critical factors. Delivering quick, measurable results in large numbers is very different from delivering long-lasting development impact.Development is sensitive, political, difficult and often surprisingly controversial work, and the changes sought can be difficult to measure or quantify. Transformative agendas cannot be accomplished through an obsession with "bang for the buck" and the pressure to demonstrate numerical impact within short periods of time. Understanding complexity, engaging with uncertainty, allowing for failure, listening and working contextually are essential. Moving forward the development sector must actively learn to re-engage with these values. I echo the call Nilima Gulrajani makes for us to go back to thinking of development "as a non-linear and uncertain political process deeply embedded in conflictual local realities that implies few easy prescriptions and quick wins. Commonsense judgments from all parties would be welcomed, even when these challenge static performance metrics or efficiency benchmarks, as would values that embrace the civic and humanistic purposes of development. A non-managerial development practice provides a counterpoint to donor managerialism worth advocating."Bipasha Baruah, Canada Research Chair in Global Women's Issues and Associate Professor of Women's Studies and Feminist Research at Western University, London, Ontario.The views expressed in this blog are those of the authors, and do not necessarily reflect the positions of CCIC or its members.MORE ON HUFFPOST:

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The introduction of outdoor solar lightsAn outdoor solar light is a form of solar energy that uses sunlight to produce electricity. This type of light can be used to provide heat for lighting purposes, such as in street lamps. It can also be used to heat buildings and reduce heating costs. An outdoor solar light can also be used to produce electricity by supplying heat to the air and water. Outdoor solar lights can also be used to create an atmosphere around a house or other object, such as a wall. It can also be used to create a ground effect around a house, which can help reduce the need for electrical energy.Most outdoor solar lights are powered by solar power. Most outdoor solar lights use batteries and have built-in battery bank that provides up to 50% of the energy required by the sun. They can be easily turned on and off in a very short time. The best outdoor solar lights are designed to provide enough power to make your home run longer and get more light into your room. 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These outdoor solar lights are generally cheaper than ordinary solar lights and also provide much better energy efficiency than regular solar lights. If you want to install outdoor solar lights then there are some things you can do.The advantages of outdoor solar lightsThere are many types of solar lights, from direct solar to LED solar lights. It is always a good idea to make sure that you select the best one for your needs. They can be either large or small, so make sure that you choose the best one for your needs. They can be small and lightweight, so make sure that you use them correctly. Also make sure that you have enough space for your garden or patio so that you can situate your garden or patio.If you want to reduce your heating bills and install solar lights in your home then it is important to choose the right one for your needs. Most of the time, people are unaware of the benefits of outdoor solar lights and if you have not chosen the right one then it is best to get some advice from experts and do some research on the internet. Outdoor solar lights are very much appreciated by people because they have many uses. This article will show you some of the most common ways to use outdoor solar lights.Most of the world's cities are still small and few people are aware of the technology that is being used in our everyday lives. The problems that exist in many countries today are difficult to solve. People have long since stopped using them because of health concerns. Some people even use them as lighting lamps to decorate their homes. These light bulbs have some disadvantages, but they can be adjusted to fit your home.They have become more and more popular in the last few years.There are several types of outdoor solar lights that you can choose from. These are mainly made of glass, which is used in many different lighting applications. The reason why they are called outdoor solar lights is because they use an integrated circuit and thus have low power consumption. This makes them ideal for people who want to enjoy their outdoor activities without having to spend a lot of money on electricity. They also make it possible to save a lot of money by buying the right type of solar lights. Outdoor solar lights can also help you to take care of your home.How to use outdoor solar lights?The main purpose of outdoor solar lights is to keep the temperature in your garden safe and dry. It is an energy efficient solution that can save you money on electricity bills and it also helps to protect your home from heat stress. You can choose from three different types of solar lights. They are called solar street lights and solar post lights. These are usually used by homeowners who want to make their home look neat and clean. Solar post lights are small and lightweight and they can be easily attached to any light or power source.Some of the most popular outdoor solar lights that we have in the market are those that are inexpensive and simple to install. These solar lights can be found at your local hardware store, yard or garage and they can also be found at any other location in the world. You can find these solar lights at many places around the world. The best way to use them is to get some local knowledge about them and learn about their uses. If you have an interest in learning about these solar lights then get some training on them.A solar light is an optical device that uses a radiation absorbing material to make it appear as if it is attached to the surface of the object. It can be used to create a street light, turn off lights in an emergency or just illuminate a person's face. They can also be used to control lighting and have security systems installed to protect people from power surges. Outdoor solar lights can also be used to decorate buildings and vehicles, so they can provide privacy for people who may have some personal needs.Most outdoor solar lights can be set on a deck or patio, but they are also pretty powerful. A small group of people with some serious skill in outdoor solar lights will need to get out of their driveway and into the sunshine. This means they need to have enough power to go about their daily lives without needing to recharge their batteries. It is not always easy to find the right size for their needs and then find the right spot to put them in. They will need to know how to get into the house, so they need to have some safety measures in place.
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