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Think tank recommendations for international development

They do a lot of thinking at think tanks, or so we’ve been told, but they also offer useful suggestions once in a while.

In the book “Tapping Philanthropy for Development” edited by Lorna Michael Butler and Della E. McMillan, Butler and Robert Mazur present several recommendations offered by an external think tank, actually a two-day workshop to discuss the Center for Sustainable Rural Livelihoods (CSRL) program, a public-private partnership meant to address the root causes of rural poverty in Uganda.

The think tank offered the several recommendations. They are:

* Plan in advance for the permanent things that will be left behind.

* Move Africa to the top of the list; South Asia is also appropriate.

* Look for a “rising star” — a country that is moving forward.

* Look for an existing program, organization or partner that has shown evidence of success and commitment.

* Go where no one else is working, not a country or region inundated with development programs.

* Consider partners that bring strength not available at – in this case, Iowa State University; it could be almost any entity.

* Look for conducive government policies and initiatives.

* Take into account that a set of interventions will be more useful than one major focus.

* Look for program leadership from the selected country or region; have someone on the ground who can listen to the community.

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