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DAIdeas is a companion publication to our Developments newsletter. Designed to showcase innovative thinking in capsule form, DAIdeas continues our long tradition of creative thinking married to practical implementation and positive results.


Full Article Archive:

A Call to Arms: Shaping a More Innovative Approach to Adaptive Programming in Democracy Assistance

While adaptive programming is at the forefront of development programming, its basic tenets are not new. As the name suggests, this approach implies adapting a programme to the specific circumstances in which it will be implemented and to the needs of those it targets, as they evolve. Adaptive programming means that the programme’s purpose, structure, and expected outcomes are rooted in a comprehensive study of the context in which it will operate and an understanding of the problem that it will try to solve, developed in close cooperation with those key actors who will be involved in bringing about change.

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Mining Companies and Startup Partners Should Begin Developing Local Content Before Breaking Ground

A typical mining operation lasts 30 years or more. As a result, mining companies are accustomed to becoming long-term fixtures in the communities where they work, and local stakeholders have increasingly high expectations for company contributions to community welfare. Local content development is one tool mining companies have used to foster local economic growth and social license.

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Learning From Local Content Policies: Insights From a Study of Six Resource-Rich Countries

Since the 1970s, dozens of countries have enacted local content requirements in an effort to translate foreign direct investment, particularly in extractive industries, into local economic development. These policies require multinational companies to source local goods, services, and labor in a wide range of sectors, from civil works to transportation services. Yet the outcomes of these policies have been checkered—some approaches have strengthened local industries while others have been ineffectual or even counterproductive. As local content policies continue to expand in resource-rich countries around the world, policymakers should learn from these experiences when designing their own approaches.

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Applying Market Systems Approaches to Financial Inclusion Projects

The market systems approach to economic development has gained prominence within development work that prioritizes inclusive economic growth. Donors such as the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), U.K. Department for International Development (DFID), and Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) have endorsed market systems development as a way to help large numbers of poor people achieve sustainable increases in income, opportunities, and resilience. In 2013, these donors formalized their agreement and pledged to work together on related research and learning.

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Unlocking Local Content: Harnessing the Power of Data-Driven Decision Making

As new reserves of oil, gas, minerals, and other natural resources crop up around the world, multinational companies are seeking to enter new markets and invest in establishing supply chains. Increasingly, developing local content has become a popular means of maximizing supply chain resilience, lowering costs, reducing risks, and building relationships with key local actors. At the same time, policy makers in both new and mature markets are advocating for local content as a way of generating further benefits from extractive industry operations to the local economy.

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Market Systems Development: A Primer on Pro-Poor Programming

Ending extreme poverty. The goal could hardly be more ambitious—or more challenging. International donors have rallied around it, and are united in their belief that broad-based economic growth is essential to achieving their vision. The key, though, is that term “broad-based.” How do we ensure that economic growth programming is benefitting the very poor? And at a scale that really makes a difference? Increasingly, the answer lies in an approach called market systems development.

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Rethinking Participatory Development: From Critique to Better Practice

Amidst the development aid community’s many shifting enthusiasms, few concepts have as powerful and enduring appeal as the need to support citizen participation. Participation has featured prominently in assistance debates since the 1950s, losing attention in some periods but then reliably reemerging as an apparent panacea to the shortcomings of top-down approaches.

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Science into Action: Turning Climate Studies into Decision-Making Tools

Awareness of our changing climate has steadily grown over the past decade, but its impacts are viewed as intermittent and fleeting: a big flood or the doubling of the price of rice. News reports and climate change studies suggest widespread threats to our health and socioeconomic wellbeing, but often fail to explain how to adapt to the nuances of a shifting climate.

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Afghan Farmers Borrowing Money for the First Time, Investing in Their Livelihoods

Agriculture is Afghanistan’s lifeblood. Making agriculture work better means putting more food on the tables and more money in the pockets of Afghan farmers—and of everyone connected to farming. The Agricultural Credit Enhancement (ACE) program enables those who make agriculture work to borrow money locally, invest in basic inputs such as seed and fertilizer, and repay the loans after their crops come in.

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