"The development landscape has never been more cluttered than it is today," wrote Marc Bellemare in Foreign Affairs last week.

"Oh great, what have I missed?" I thought, as I had already prepared my intro lecture for International Development Communications. The industry exists, fueled by rich countries, which delivered $3.2 trillion of aid to poor countr.... That's a whole lotta landscape indeed, and that figure doesn't include foundations.

What better way to make a global development list and check it twice, than sharing it on one's blog? And who doesn't love a good typology? Please share any others of which you may know. I'm sure there's more refined ones out there, but here's how the landscape is laid out in my head.

Slide3Oxfam America refers to the diagram above as "the development compact," or rather, the agreement between government officials to respond effectively to citizens' needs and citizens to demand that their governments do their job and govern well and accountably. Note that civil society and the private sector are not present in this diagram - it's citizens and governments in charge of their countries' future. Now who else enters into this and tries to affect change?

Slide4The old-school "players" have been around basically since the idea of "development" came about. Of course the multi- and bi-lateral donors e.g. World Bank, UN agencies, USAID (which has some promising reforms, at least on paper), DFID, CIDA, SIDA, AusAid, MCC come to mind. Other donors include those from private philanthropy. The "biggie" foundations such as Ford, Gates, Rockefeller operate strategically, while other smaller, often family foundations utilize relationship-based and seed funding models. US foundations number over 80,000. Grants awarded directly to overseas recipients and to US-based international programs accounted for nearly 24 percent of total gra.... As one person told me when I entered my first job in philanthropy, "If you know one foundation, you know one foundation."

NGOs can be categorized by level at which they operate (international, national, local) and by the type of focus or activities in which they engage. For example, more service delivery/program-focused international NGOs in the US are Care, World Vision, and Catholic Relief, while more advocacy-focused INGOs include Amnesty and ONE. Some have predicted an end of the golden age of NGOs, or at least pending disruption for this part of the industry. The for-profit aid contractors such as Chemonics, DAI, and Futures Group are also here with a business model dependent on governmental foreign assistance.

Slide5aIn terms of the new-school players, if you're doing anything that uses private sector strategies to help people who are poor rather than shareholders, you can call yourself a social enterprise. Ashoka and Skoll were early supporters of individual social entrepreneurs, and this part of the sector has boomed over the last ten years. From social good businesses to fair trade cooperatives to social marketing to design for development to buy one/give one models, social enterprises encompass a lot and walk a fine line between for-profit and non-profit. There are lots of hybrids out there and clearly more to come! Corporate social responsibility initiatives are related, but should be distinguished as they are clearly operate as part of a for-profit model.

And of course who likes to fund social enterprises more than impact investors? Think, "what if I had a portfolio of $50 million to spend to make the world better?" That's what impact investors get to do all day.

But wait, what if we could all spend our money this way? Crowdfunders (often referred to as "revolutionary") like Globalgiving, Kiva, and GiveDirectly are all enabling people to have a more direct connection to the people they're supporting.

So what have I missed? Please share your comments, observations, and feedback about the development players in the comments section.


This post originally appeared at: http://www.how-matters.org/2014/01/13/the-development-players/

Views: 268

Tags: Georgetown course, NGOs, active citizenship, aid donors, aid ecosystem, corporate social responsibility, crowdfunders, development actors, donors, fair trade, More…grassroots organizations, impact investing, international NGOs, international development, international development communications, international philanthropy, philanthropy, social enterprise


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Comment by Luc Lapointe on January 13, 2014 at 12:57pm

Dear Jennifer,


A few years ago, Jean Michel Severino wrote a good article "The end of ODA" where he coined the concept of hyper-collective actions. Since then, we have seen a plethora of research and blogs on "one OR the other" instead of "one WITH the other".


The recent financial crisis has also exponentially triggered the OECD Private Club of 26 to rethink what is ODA and who would fill the gap created by decreasing commitments. Private Development Assistance like activities are now fashionable...we have gone hyper-individual instead of hyper-collective.


Are CSR activities a good way to address "needs"? Would corporations invest the same type of efforts if these CSR activities would not be income-tax deductible? The notion is kind of naive to believe that a multitude of uncoordinated CSR activities would produce better results than a national / local coordinated strategy. Do corporations pick up "orphan causes" or what is purely "sexy"? how sustainable are they? Would they maintain their commitment when the business situation is not as good?


From Impact Investment to crowdfunding and micro-credit....the problem is not how many people can you engage and how much money you can throw at "aid" delivery? The question is how strategic and effective can it collectively be? How do you align all of these new "players" into national and local strategies? It took 50+ years for the club of 26 DAC donors to put in place a process for transparency? After a series of eight HLF (Monterrey to Busan) - it's practically impossible to "effectively" measure the impact of ODA at the local level. How do you leverage these previous global commitments? From ownership to collaboration? How do you measure Impact Investment in this context? Or CSR activites?


Is the “social business” model of Unilever the solution to local problems?? Selling Lifebuoy soap or making soap locally? This is not rocket science. Would Unilever invest in having a local company produce soaps that are made locally and employ locally? Is this the best social model?


What are Impact Investors looking for? The next Facebook of development…scaling up is cool..maybe the best way to deal with a local need is “not” to scale up. Small…punctual efforts have more and immediate impact (and less costly).


So many examples in mind!


“Fragmentation or Pluralism?  It's still puzzles me that with all the technology solutions that exist today...that we are creating new hypes around well intentioned ideas that are so disconnected from the cause that they are trying to address.  Lots of interesting graphics are being produced but little commitment on the ground for collaboration.


I am 100% behind increasing participation and local engagement …the solution is simple. We have to go beyond the cute maps with dots or PPT.


What have you missed was the question? Religious groups, Private Voluntary Organizations, local volunteers, civic participation, Gap year programs, Voluntourism, international volunteering, private philanthropy, global corporate volunteering, and much more!


Saludos cordiales………….from Cali Colombia

Luc Lapointe

CEO & Founder, Keen TO

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