by Ramadian Nugrahane
In recent years, new strategies have emerged to help address how the effectiveness of development programmes can be improved. Among them is the overarching Doing Development Differently (DDD) movement, as well as Thinking and Working Politically (TWP) and Problem Driven Iterative Adaptation (PDIA).
On 15-16 March 2017 in Jakarta, the Knowledge Sector Initiative (KSI) KOMPAK programme and The World Bank in Indonesia jointly hosted the fourth international DDD workshop where around 200 practitioners, researchers, government and other partners gathered to unravel common threads, discuss the practical challenges of mainstreaming TWP and PDIA, and build momentum between communities of practice to do development differently.
Development practitioners are seeking to develop and implement more politically astute, adaptive programmes. Yet, challenges persist at the most prosaic levels of everyday work: finding the right people to work politically and iteratively; avoiding default to technical ‘solutions’; building support for new approaches among partners; and adapting traditional design, procurement and monitoring and evaluation (M&E) systems. The challenge of translating these strategies into practice requires a different understanding of the roles of all involved, including governments, donors, civil society and implementing organisations.
One of the myriad issues in Doing Development Differently written on papers by participants at the DDD workshop in Jakarta
The two-day workshop attempted to address those challenges and took the form of plenary discussions in talk-show format and short, engaging presentations in TedTalk format by speakers who had successfully implemented principles of TWP and/or PDIA. These included Drs. Suyoto, MSi (Kang Yoto), Bupati of Bojonegoro in East Java who is adopting a DDD approach to improve public services and strengthen dialogue with citizens. He emphasised,
"Don't just think in the box or out of the box, Do Development Differently by creating a new box.”
For many participants, one of the most exciting parts of the workshop was when they were put into different breakout groups. In each of the small groups participants worked with a facilitator to do development differently by applying TWP and PDIA tools to identify and then address problems: taking approaches to scale through replication and diffusion; from log frame to search frame: iterative monitoring, evaluation and learning; networks, movements and coalitions: beyond your usual suspects; flexible and accountable: make your authorising environment work for you; building your dream team: politically astute, problem driven and adaptive; going against power norms: gender and inclusion.
In her summary of the workshop, Dr. Nicola Nixon, Counsellor for Poverty and Social Development, the Australian Embassy in Jakarta, underlined initial steps needed to be taken to improve the effectiveness of development. She said,
“We need to have more robust conversations about politics and power.”