Guest blog written by Alinnor Doris Chibumma, Daniel Ayako Filibus, Emmanuel Philip Chorio, Mohammed Barma Adam, Patrick Egie Ederaro, Felix. O. Ogbera.
This is a team of six development practitioners working for the Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission (ICRC) in Nigeria. They successfully completed the 15-week Practice of PDIA online course that ended in May 2019. This is their story.
The journey of our PDIA training was like the 1804 journey where the destination was quite unfamiliar and the terrain very challenging. But the journey had to be made to achieve success. PDIA is about matching your capability with your challenge. Therefore, the composition of our team was made up of people of diverse backgrounds.
Owing to our diversity, we started by building our team, agreeing on the problem we aimed to solve; setting the ground rules for our team’s operations and success. We agreed to accept our differences, our idiosyncrasies and agreed also on common ground to promote unity as a hallmark towards achieving our goals of carrying out a successful PDIA training by finding and fitting the contextual solutions to our problem – Low Acceptance of PPP’s by MDA’s in Nigeria.
Continue reading PDIA Course Journey: The Thrills and Bliss of Working on PPPs in Nigeria
Guest Blog by Lucy Peace Nantume, Robinah K Manoba, Maurice Olupot, Rebecca Kukundakwe.
This is a team of four development practitioners working for the Democratic Governance Facility (DGF) in Uganda. They successfully completed the 15-week Practice of PDIA online course that ended in May 2019. This is their story.
As employees of a donor agency aimed at building state capability in various areas, PDIA had become for us a catchy frequently used acronym in the organization although honestly speaking most didn’t know exactly what it entailed. Some focused on cramming what it meant in full so that when called upon we would appear to know it while others had resigned to viewing it as the new “in thing” till it gets dropped and a new concept comes along.
Against that background, an opportunity to get more insights into PDIA was thus an idea worth pursuing. The past 15 weeks of the PDIA course have brought out a mixture of feelings both individually and as team ranging from the positive (excitement, joy) to the negative (disillusionment, disappointment).
It wasn’t hard to agree on a name for our team and sign up. Since initially it seemed like the four of us were the only ones interested, we adopted the organization acronym and thus the name “TEAM DGF”. Later we learnt that other colleagues also formed a team thus the organization was privileged to have two teams signed up. This came with added advantages as teams consulted, shared and motivated each other.
Continue reading PDIA Course Journey: Deconstructing ‘PDIA’ a Catchy Acronym in Development
Guest blog written by Cara Myers
Cara Myers is the Co-founder and Executive Director of the Mozambique School Lunch Initiative (MSLI). She learned about the PDIA approach by taking two courses at the Harvard Kennedy School as part of her Master’s in Public Administration in International Development (MPA/ID) program. She then began applying more of the concepts directly with the MSLI team. This is her PDIA story.
It was March of 2016 and the rains had completely failed for a second year in southern Mozambique. Farming families had no crops. Children were missing school to dig up river roots to eat. Teachers were sending students home because they were “too hungry to learn anything.” Even in normal years, child malnutrition and poor school participation are major issues in Mozambique. This is one of those big, complex problems that is caused by a myriad of interrelated causes and sub-causes that are difficult to disentangle and prioritize.
So there we were, myself, Talvina Ualane and Roberto Mutisse, all of us former colleagues who had worked together for a disaster relief nongovernmental organization in Mozambique in the past and felt deeply motivated to do something to help people affected by this crisis. But, where did we even begin?
We started with what we could do. This is one of the key aspects of the triple-A framework used in PDIA, which stresses that the space for change must include three key factors: authority, acceptance, and ability. PDIA also emphasizes moving to action quickly rather than taking a long time to try and plan everything out before starting to work. By deconstructing the problem into small, manageable bits, it creates points of entry whereby you can start addressing one of the causes or sub-causes of the problem and build the capacity to do more from there.
Continue reading PDIA Journey: The Mozambique School Lunch Initiative
Guest blog by Mark Heyward
Much is made these days of doing development differently, of adaptive programming, and thinking and working politically. Devpolicy Blog featured a series of articles on this topic in September 2018. But do these approaches work?
One program that has embraced adaptive programming is Innovation for Indonesia’s School Children (INOVASI). The program, which began in 2016, is a partnership between the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) and the Indonesian Ministry of Education and Culture. It is being implemented by Palladium. INOVASI has adopted the problem-driven iterative adaptation (PDIA) approach to help Indonesian government partners find out what works to improve learning outcomes.
Continue reading The problem with ‘best practice’: using PDIA to find solutions for Indonesian education
written by Lant Pritchett
Change is hard. It is hard for individuals. It is extra hard for organizations. Change is especially hard for organizations when they have been successful. Organizations often develop strategies, norms, and practices that are tailored to produce success in a particular activity or context. When those strategies are successful, organizations have an especially difficult time to create and manage change that is not simply “more of the same, better.”
This is true even of large, successful, well-managed private sector organizations facing (organizational) life or death consequences.
The Big Store recounts how Sears, a veritable American retailing behemoth—accounting in the early 1970s for one percent of all US GDP—fell into a crisis and how incredibly hard it was to turn the organization around. Even when people could see the organizational crisis it was often the people who were the very best at doing what made the organization a success in the past who were in top management positions—and hence those least likely to be able to recognize the need for, plan out, and lead change.
Continue reading Developing Country Education Systems that Learn
Guest blog written by Ignatus Jacob Matofali, Shamim Ahmed Zakaria, Catherine Peter Marimbo, Nyambiri Kimacha.
This is a team of four development practitioners working for the Prime Minister’s Office, OPML, and the World Bank in Tanzania. They successfully completed the 15-week Practice of PDIA online course that ended in May 2019. This is their story.
Development is not something that can be achieved overnight and through ideas that worked in other contexts.
It is important to make room for really understanding problem and context instead of suggesting solutions that are external and may not work in the specific country context. There should be a clear definition of the problem by the agents who are facing the problem and they should be involved in finding solutions to that problem. There is no single solution to complex problems which means that solving it requires finding the root cause of the problem by deconstruction, though this process multiple solutions to a problem will be generated as a result of the emergence of new ideas.
We initially only had scratched the surface and thought, perhaps the issue with disaster risk management in Dar es Salaam was simply that there are no disaster management committees. We thought that maybe by having these committees established and functional then our problem would be solved. Then as we got further into the course and were forced to construct and deconstruct our problem, we learnt that we were missing the bigger picture and that what we had done was propose a solution to what we thought was the problem. Further development of fishbone diagram, led us to understand that lack of committees at ward and sub-ward level was only really one sub-cause in a much more complex setting. Other issues such as a general lack of awareness of disaster issues by community members etc. came into play and eventually we restructured our problem and established about six sub causes in total. Our problem statement then changed from “Disaster Management Committees (DMCs) at ward level are non-existent or not fully functional in addressing Disaster Risk Management (DRM) in Dar es Salaam” to “Disaster Risk Management efforts in DES aren’t effective in managing disasters”. Continue reading PDIA Course Journey: Disaster Risk Management in Tanzania
Guest blog written by Paul von Chamier
In 2011 the World Development Report shed some light on the extent of the challenges that drive premature load bearing, a concept discussed in earlier BSC blog posts. Among hundreds of figures presented in the Report was a simple table that showed how long it should take for so-called fragile countries to achieve a “decent” level of governance. To define that “decent” level the author, Lant Pritchett, used the World Bank’s World Governance Indicators and assessed how many years it would take until fragile countries hit the threshold of governance quality of the top 40 percent of the best performing countries, this was a score of 6 on the scale of 0-10.[i] The results of the exercise were somber:
The results suggest that more robust leadership will be instrumental if those countries are to achieve a satisfactory level of governance. If fragile countries were to continue at their current average pace they will not pass the threshold in any foreseeable future. Even in a very optimistic scenario, in which the fragile countries would all at once start improving their institutions at the pace of 20 best performing countries (the likes of Singapore, Taiwan, Denmark, and Canada), it would still take three decades to accomplish. This is the case even though that threshold only denotes a decent level of governance (i.e. not even the level that people in the most developed countries enjoy). Progress, even when rapid, takes place at a very slow, organic pace and even when strong leadership is present it might take a whole generation to bear fruit.
Continue reading Premature load bearing: a fresh look at the WDR 2011