Strategic and responsible development is vital to effectively combat poverty

A segment on Channel Nine’s ‘Sixty Minutes’ Australia aired last Sunday night highlights the necessity for responsible and accountable development. Global Development Group affirms that a strategic approach to development that includes accountability, planning, consultation and documented outcomes is vital in “building better lives for the world’s poorest people.”

Quality projects always take into account and plan according to the given unique community and environmental needs. Well-meaning ideas should never be automatically started or transplanted in a new context without sufficient consultation with that community itself. The real needs must be identified and an appropriate activity commenced that includes the community in the development of the solution.

Community involvement not only provides an assurance that real needs are being met, but it also plays a big part in the long-term success and sustainability of the project. Once foreign funding ceases or volunteers return home, the community itself must have the capacity to continue to operate a project if it is still needed, or empowered to thrive without it.

The on-going training of in-country personnel, together with opportunity to glean from the experience of others operating successful development projects, are vital cogs in the wheel of quality development. Global Development Group Executive Director, Geoff Armstrong, says, “Something I believe Global Development Group does particularly well is investing in the development of the in-country project leaders—those on the ground doing the “hands on” work. Over the last five years we have facilitated annual conferences that bring together a variety of leaders from different countries for education, support and sharing practical experiences and ideas with their peers. We recently returned from our 2016 conference where 100 people attended—a valuable time which I always enjoy.” ‘Principles and Strategies of Mature Projects’, ‘The Road to Sustainability’, ‘Risk Management’, ‘Measuring Project Impact’ were among the many topics presented at the Conference.

Tim James oversees capacity building and upskilling of staff at one of Global Development Group’s projects in Cambodia. “Our team have participated in Global Development Group networking meetings and have made some valuable connections with other GDG partners. GDG has also provided training seminars in child protection and strategic thinking. These courses have proved extremely beneficial for our staff,” Tim said.

Before projects commence with Global Development Group, they are first thoroughly assessed. There are various checks and policies that project partners must have in place before projects are able to proceed. Where registration with a government department is required, this must be done. Once Global Development Group is happy that criteria are met, projects are approved for implementation. Projects are also reported on every six months, monitored and checked, in accordance with the ACFID (Australian Council for International Aid and Development) Code of Conduct.

Successful projects result when they are strategic, involve consultation and involvement of the local community, meet high industry accountability standards, are committed to training and learning from others, measure outcomes and continually aim at empowering the very people they are trying to help.