Dear OUEDRAOGO and colleagues,
I like so much the topic under discussion. Let's consider a scenario. Imagine the left hand is conflicting with the right hand. Or, one hand is duplicating what the other hand is doing. Outcome: the whole body would suffer. If this were to happen in development interventions, and indeed it is unfortunately happening, it is counterproductive and self-defeating.
Thanks Serdar for sharing your reflection which, when followed, has proven effective in addressing development duplicates, waste of resources and negative effects on the lives and livelihoods of communities.
I would like to share my two cents:
Creating and working in technical or thematic working groups for review and supporting one another. I have found this effective. For example, I encourage development partners to plan and conduct a multi-stakeholder, multi-projects evaluation in a community rather than each doing it on their own. When done in silos, this requires more time, extra resources from all stakeholders including community members. When done by multiple stakeholders, it saves resources for both. It adds credibility and sense of ownership and belonging among all actors. It becomes easier to advocate for the use of jointly-generated evaluation results. It informs coordinated programming and improved development outcomes. Here comes in accountability to raise awareness not only among development actors but also among communities. Anyone involved in misaligning and therefore misusing limited resources should be held onto accounts.
Exchange and sharing platforms for learning and dissemination of results/evidence (slightly an extension of the above point): In this media-focused era, no single development actor would like to lag behind. Each wants to be at the high table to showcase what they are doing (this seems natural and okay to me when done with integrity). By being invited to a sharing forum by x partner, y partner can be encouraged to do the same in the future. Some development actors wrongly think that by holding information to themselves, they will have competitive advantage over others. There is lots of evidence that development organizations that are open and sharing lessons benefit more, and eventually become the powerful source of evidence about what works or about how to redress what does not work. They thus attract opportunities for funding and partnerships.
On a personal, possibly on a political note, I have seen these conflicting and duplicative development interventions somehow reflecting the lack of or limited leadership for sustainable development. Good governance can make a difference. It is common wisdom that most (if not all) development interventions are interconnected, interdependent, and enriching one another. Colleagues have clearly pointed it out. A very good lesson is this covid-19 pandemic. It has proved difficult for social, educational, economic, agricultural interventions, etc. to strive for results when health is under threat. I guess, no single development sector or actor can navigate the current development landscape alone and expect sustainable results. The same applies within the same sector.
In addition to the development forums and guidelines mentioned by colleagues, I believe community participation in the design and monitoring of projects through accountability practices can contribute to eventually addressing this serious challenge.
Stay safe and well in these crazy times!
With kind regards to all,
The African Capacity Building Foundation