Improving Services to the Poor
Current projections indicate that if development efforts rely on ‘more of the same' it will be decades, if not longer, before the world's most disadvantaged people have access to basic services of adequate quality. This paper, based on three years of applied research into the political economy of basic public goods and service delivery [including basic education], finds that a more realistic understanding of developmental change is needed: that development breakthroughs are domestically driven, cumulative, untidy and unpredictable. The authors recommend that both domestic and international partners should spend less time on grand designs and more on tracking down specific problems and finding practical and politically smart ways to solve them. The study is rich in examples and cases, and describes six principles of an international compact endorsed by 400 people from 60 countries called the Doing Development Differently Manifesto. These principles are:
- Focus on local problems defined by local people in an ongoing process.
- Legitimate the reform process at political, managerial and social levels.
- Work through conveners of stakeholders to introduce relevant change.
- Blend design and implementation through rapid cycles of planning, action, reflection and revision – drawing on local knowledge and feedback.
- Manage risks by making ‘small bets' pursuing activities with promise and dropping activities that do not seem to be working.
- Foster real results – real solutions to real problems with real impact: these build trust, empower people and promote sustainability.