Against Development Assistance on Suspicion: Understanding the Motivations of the Local Population in Order to Do Not Take the Wrong Action With Good Intentions
There is no general formula to enhance the positive impact of development projects. However, it helps to understand the local community and culture before an intervention is lounched.
The economics professor and poverty researcher Esther Duflo vividly describes how little things decide on the acceptability of well-intentioned and often overpaid aid programs: A cost-intensive, certified public awareness campaign about the consequences of unwanted pregnancies in Kenyan pupils remained without any results, but the girls who received free school uniforms rarely became precociously pregnant and attended class for a longer time frame. Teachers (and students) at 120 Indian schools appeared more frequently to classes after they documented their presence at the beginning and at the end with a photo of the class and their reward were measured according to the number of photos. Similarly nurses behaved in public health centers, who evaded working time control by attendance recorders through personal apology, but then took a liking to the photographic documentation of their attendance at work. Hiring additional nurses in the Indian Idaipur to motivate parents to vaccinate their children more often turned out not to be beneficial. However, when the parents were rewarded with a kilo of lentils for vaccination, willingness to participate in the prevention program increased by leaps and bounds.
Read more (unfortunately following source is only avalaible in German):
Esther Duflo. Kampf gegen die Armut. Aus dem Französischen von Andrea Hemminger. Suhrkamp Verlag, Berlin 2013