To mark the final year of the Millennium Development Goals programme, Taylor & Francis Group are offering free access to selected research related to each of the eight MDGs. Visit their MDGs Further Reading page here.
I like the study, Why a managerialist pursuit will not necessarily lead to achievement of MDGs which makes a counterargument to the tendency in the aid trade to require a rationale based upon the following:
- linear patterns of causation;
- known points of intervention, with predictable outcomes;
- means of delivery that can be subject to linear programming;
- measurable outcomes (usually in practice outputs) from equally measurable inputs.
The authors argue that ‘certainty, predictability, and linearity’ assumptions and frameworks, which have become the dominant mode, are adopted not because the way to achieve poverty reduction, environmental sustainability, or other MDGs is known with any certainty in any context, but because ‘management’ tends to demand it.
The recommendation is to seek more constructive management approaches which allow for uncertainty, unpredictability and the seizing of opportunity. And the key to success is likely to be the ability of managers and those who commission activities to constantly interpret the challenges and opportunities that they face during implementation. However, an interpretive development approach is achievable only if those who commission development activities, as well as those who implement and support implementation, are aware of the problem and adjust their expectations and practices appropriately.