Watermelons, development projects and square boxes

Square watermelons from Japan. If only people grew in square boxes too.

Here’s a great story that shows why people are not like watermelons (see picture): they won’t grow in square boxes.

It’s a perfect example of the pitfalls of logframes. In this case, the logframe created the wrong incentives for field managers. They didn’t pay enough attention to what other people were doing. So although the team completed all their activities, they didn’t achieve their goals. Continue reading

Measuring results: the demand-side revolution

Upside down world

An excellent TV show this week followed a British midwife who worked for a fortnight in a Liberian hospital. The first thing she did was turn on two shiny new incubators that UNICEF had provided. They hadn’t trained the staff how to use them.

My wife was shocked: how could such expensive kit be provided without training? After years in aid, I wasn’t so surprised. It’s a familiar story, coming down to the incentives that shape how aid agencies actually run projects. Continue reading