Saturday, October 8, 2011

Measuring development impacts

Here's a rather long but interesting presentation from a guy who works in lion conservation in Tanzania. Basically he and his colleagues realized at some point that nature conservation is very difficult if human poverty persists. So they proposed setting up a grid to follow human development indicators (education levels, childhood malnutrition, etc.) in 250 villages. They take baseline measurements in each village, and then repeat the same measurements every two years. They don't propose development projects themselves, but rather use their periodic measurements to assess the impacts of the different development projects that come and go in any given village.

I like this idea, because instead of starting yet another ambitious yet unproven development project, they are dedicated to measuring the efficacy of different approaches. Their biennial measurements serve as a standardized reference to compare any given development project. With time they will be able to indicate what approaches have been effective in improving human life, and which approaches are ineffective

It's not as glorious or heroic as Bono or Jeffrey Sachs declaring some huge, romantic, plan, but it's a lot more useful in the end.

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