Governments, healthcare providers, schools, universities, NGOs and private sector organisations across the world are working to improve the quality of and access to basic services for some of the poorest and most vulnerable people in the world. Whilst the heart of human development is in core service delivery – such as providing education and delivering public health interventions – there are some innovative aspects that can underpin these to enhance their effectiveness:
Using innovative technology effectively
New technologies and innovative approaches such as mHealth, social media and data analytics are allowing organisations to pilot and assess new solutions to entrenched problems in the developing world. For example, mobile devices can be used to track inventories at pharmacies, to deliver health promotion messages and to collect health data from the field.
New contracting approaches
As donors look for better ways to make aid effective, Payment-by-Results (PbR) methods for education and other development programmes have reformed the way that development funding is delivered, and results are measured and assessed. The key principle behind PbR is risk-sharing – such that delivery organisations take some ownership of the risk of underperformance, and that this risk is shared between the donor and the implementer. However, in order to facilitate payments, a very robust monitoring and evaluation approach is necessary. This can be costly and time-consuming, so a pragmatic balance needs to be struck between the focus placed on PbR / monitoring and the focus placed on actual programme delivery.
The right partnerships
Effective improvements in health and education depend on the collaboration of state, non-state and large and small private companies. The most successful partnerships are where partners have shared goals but can deliver complementary expertise (whether in policy, implementation or otherwise).
Girls’ Education Challenge
DFID’s flagship £300m Girls’ Education Challenge (GEC) Fund works in 18 of the poorest countries, supporting 36 projects and 3 major private sector partnerships to increase access to and quality of education for girls in the developing world. This is one of the first challenge funds where many projects are paid partly on a ‘Payment-by-Results’ basis.