A bunch of experts in an OECD country get a notion of how to make more “effective” aid, and then go and research it, returning to publish in OECD journals, talk at gatherings of the rich and powerful, and slap each other than back. When Hollywood stars behave like this, we reach for the vomit bucket, don’t we? Don’t we always say that one should ask the poor what they need?
People are not naive, stupid, or uninsightful. Above all, the life they are leading belongs to them, not to us. Why are they not included in research conversations? Why are they not the “client” for research? Research agendas need to reflect what the “recipients” experience as the obstacles to their own efforts to developing their villages, economies and countries, and not what outside analysts see as obstacles to someone’s development.