So What?

Working hard… or hardly working?

December 19, 2014  • David Devlin-Foltz

What works?

With thanks to Emily Janoch on CARE’s Gender Equality team, we relay this link to this Huffpost UK item that lauds DFID’s support for innovations and research on “what works to prevent violence” against women. The APEP team was naturally intrigued by the grant recipients using media interventions in challenging contexts like Yemen and Occupied Palestinian Territories. DFID plans to probe whether such multimedia and communications campaigns “can work to change behaviour or only attitudes” and asks whether “they work on their own or only when combined with on-the-ground advocacy?” Tough questions well worth asking, but we suspect the answers won’t be clear-cut or generalizable enough to say definitively “what works.”


Who says it works?

Jindra Cekan’s blog post collects recent experiences with listening – really listening – to project participants in development projects. She riffs as well on how careful listening to customers and repeated trials leads to better projects. She cites Michael Hobbes in the New Republic (and may it survive): “The repeated ‘success, scale, fail’ experience of the last 20 years of development practice suggests something super boring: Development projects thrive or tank according to the specific dynamics of the place in which they’re applied.” Hey, that sounds like good “design thinking” – and some informed skepticism about scaling up. Just sayin.’ 


No work – and happy holidays…for the rest of us

Wishing all our gentle readers lovely holidays, whatever and wherever you are celebrating. Your APEP pals will go offline in time for the end of Hanukkah, Christmas Eve, and of course Festivus.  “So What?” will be back in your in-box’s Friday, January 9th.  Please do come back hungry for informed snark, 2015 style.