Thankfully, the “expertise infusion” aid model is currently being transformed. Aid funders tend to think too much about the supply side of development, and very little about where the demand is coming from. More and more international actors are focusing on building their own skills to accompany, support, and relate more effectively to local institutions and organizations, rather than overpower or co-opt them.
Not only must we “build groups up,” we must lower the glass ceiling that currently blocks community leaders and activists from participating in and benefiting from local aid funding and accountability mechanisms. Effective funding and capacity development initiatives, such as the one featured in this video from Results for Development Institute, are needed to support a wider number of local leaders, enabling grassroots movements to emerge and gain strength, and in the process increasing the demand for human rights and development at local and international levels.
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I believe the ability and penchant to understand and work with organizations of any size or type can and should become a core capacity of donors, governments, and all key stakeholders in international development. And if provided a better story, the public can come along on this journey as well.
We can and should remain hopeful about the ability of humans to change their own situations, challenge power asymmetries, and unleash social change. In the video, Results for Development has shown us how.
This post originally appeared at: http://www.how-matters.org/2012/06/26/demand-driven-development/