If so this post is for you. I was talking to some others of your species yesterday. We were lamenting the problem of short term grants; my fellow conversationalists agreed that this was a real problem, but what can you do? Governments won’t countenance long term commitments. (Although multi-laterals like the World Bank don’t have to deal with annoying things like general elections, so not sure why they cannot take a longer view.) One chap related the general amazement recently when a ten year grant was approved – that this was something almost unheard of.
I didn’t think of this retort yesterday, but here’s what I wish I’d said in reply:
If you work for a donor we need you to be brave. Next time your boss tells you to work up an outline for a 3-5 year development intervention to achieve some kind of social change, don’t just knuckle down. Tell her it can’t be done, period. Tell her that 10 years is the minimum under the most optimistic of considerations (so optimistic that you’d have to be a bit of a looney to really believe it will succeed) and that 15-20 years is the kind of commitment that is actually required. Whatever you do, do not attempt some kind of compromise proposal (‘the best you can manage’). It won’t work, and we all know donor promises for follow-ons are dubious at best, and always involve ridiculous gaps while the results of the last phase are evaluated.
Maybe your boss will get the message, maybe you’ll get fired. But at least you’ll have done the right thing. Don’t be another creature of the system in which things are done like this just because that’s the way they’ve always been done.