(The Humanitarian Social Network)
Long-haul international flights are a great opportunity to catch up on action adventure movies I’d never bother seeing in the U.S. On my flight from Johannesburg on Friday night, I watched In Time, a Justin Timberlake as Robin Hood sci-fi film in which time replaces money as the world’s currency and presents just as many challenges to the have and have-nots.
This got me thinking about the currencies of international aid. On this trip, I had spent some time articulating the “layers” of aid. I devised the diagram below after a regional team conversation about M&E and reporting. It's somewhat typical for most INGO-led projects.
Those on the upper left hand side seem have an insatiable need for more information. Yet they rarely acknowledge the power of those who have this information on the lower right hand side.
What many leaders in the aid industry fail to recognize is that the further you are from the intended beneficiaries, the less informational control you actually have. While you may control the purse strings, layers in information sharing can great affect the time and energy needed to achieve quality programming. (By the way, is your organization able to demonstrate the added value of each layer?)
Justin Timberlake got me thinking on that flight… How would aid partnerships change if real-time, on-the-ground data were a currency with the same value as aid dollars? If time can be money, could information be an equal source of power for aid recipients?
This post originally appeared at: http://www.how-matters.org/2012/06/25/its-the-layers-justin/