Pursue Efficiency and Equity
When planning the size of a development project, especially a government grant, many non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and others will decide based on what is allowed by the donor. Although understandable and in many cases necessary, this may or may not lead to the project being efficient. Project efficiency must take into account that costs and benefits vary at different project sizes or levels of output. While benefits are desirable, costs are to be avoided. A project is considered efficient when the excess of benefits over costs is maximized or when the net benefits are the largest. In the diagram, the maximum net social benefits occur at project size Qo. It is at this level that an efficient allocation of resources or an efficient project size, has been determined by project managers. In reality, this is rarely or never done in development projects managed by NGOs and others.
Efficient allocation of funds also depends on the way project components are tailored for each group of targeted beneficiaries. If an intervention works in one context, there is no reason to assume that it will work in another. Even if the same needs and symptoms are observed in both contexts, the roots of a problem, and therefore the most efficient solution, can differ significantly. IBG’s situational, modeling and analytical work always takes this into account.
Distributive Justice – Equity
The distinction between efficiency and distributive justice (also known as equity), is that a project might be efficient, but that does not mean it is equitable. This means that the distribution of benefits may not be just. How the benefits are distributed, from the many possibilities available, depends upon the ethical views of the decision-makers.
It is also important to understand that there are tradeoffs between equity and efficiency. If one were to be fully pursued this could result in the other not being achieved. The use of an integrated project analysis measures the costs and benefits for both the financial and economic/social appraisal. This can then allow for an understanding of how the net benefits will be distributed among stakeholders.
Build and Maintain Partner Bridges
THE INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS LEADERS FORUM AND THE OVERSEAS DEVELOPMENT INSTITUTE CAME TOGETHER TO CREATE THE PARTNERSHIP BROKERS PROJECT (NOW THE INDEPENDENT PARTNERSHIP BROKERS ASSOCIATION INCORPORATING PBAS). THE PARTNERING INITIATIVE (TPI) MANAGED THE PARTNERSHIP BROKERING PROJECT ON BEHALF OF THE INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS LEADERS FORUM.
At IBG, we build bridges of working relationships and formal partnerships. Because one of our core values is improving program efficiency, we believe that services can be provided more efficiently when working with other highly qualified partners. Our core team partners with leading agencies and organizations to provide the best services possible.
Our staff includes an accredited partnering broker, trained through the Partnering Brokers Accredited Scheme (PBAS) which is dedicated to promoting professionalism and integrity in brokering multi-stakeholder partnerships for sustainable development.
In building bridges with partners we follow three core principles – equity, transparency and mutual benefit. Articulated by The Partnering Initiative in their publication, The Partnering Toolkit, these principles are fundamental to effective partnering, no matter where in the world, at what level or scale or with what partners.
What does ‘equity’ mean in a relationship where there are wide divergences in power, resources and influence? Equity is not the same as ‘equality’. Equity implies an equal right to be at the table and a validation of those contributions that are not measurable simply in terms of cash value or public profile.
Openness and honesty in working relationships are pre-conditions of trust – an important ingredient of most successful partnerships. Only with transparent working will a partnership be truly accountable to its partners, investors and other stakeholders.
If all partners are expected to contribute to the partnership, they should also be entitled to benefit from the partnership. A healthy partnership will work toward achieving specific benefits for each partner over and above the common benefits to all partners. Only in this way will the partnership ensure the continuing commitment of partners and therefore be sustainable.
THE ABOVE DIAGRAMS AND CORE PARTNERING PRINCIPLES ARE USED WITH PERMISSION FROM THE PARTNERING INITIATIVE. FOR MORE INFORMATION ON THE PARTNERING INITIATIVE visit their website here.
Adhere to the Highest Ethical Practices
IBG is committed to the highest ethical practices for impact evaluations. Our design criteria include:
Impact evaluations require a substantial investment of resources. IBG will only undertake impact evaluation for programs whose effectiveness is unknown. This includes significant changes to interventions that are thought to improve project outcomes. A justification test considers whether the lack of an evaluation is unethical, especially given limited resources.
Randomization of Benefits
The use of a counterfactual will deny or delay benefits to a control group. We will always make sure that all subjects are equally eligible and have the same chance at being part of the test group. In situations where the program will be phased-in over time, the implementation of the next cohort can be the initial control group.
Adequate provisions are taken to protect the privacy of subjects and maintain confidentiality. This might include coded or anonymized data collection. Additional safeguards are taken to protect more vulnerable subjects such as children, marginalized groups and the economically disadvantaged.
Informed consent is received from all subjects directly or through legal representation. All risks to subjects are minimized. Technology and other innovative means of communication will be used, such as an informed consent video or a speaking book that gives details of the study in the person’s language. Another way of ensuring full consent is to evaluate participant understanding and acceptability.
Equity is an important part of IBG’s work. We are committed to making sure the selection of subjects is equitable, irrespective of race, gender or socioeconomics.
For impact evaluations, all involved need to be responsible, including research groups, institutions, sponsors and collaborators. This responsibility is demonstrated in agreements and memoranda of understanding (MoUs).
Our commitment to optimizing program efficiency and ensuring a just distribution of the net benefits are a direct demonstration of IBG’s stewardship of resources. But even more important are our motivations.
At IBG, we do not consider ourselves to be ‘owners’ of an organization, but instead, brokers. Combining our own resources with those of specialized partners, we form a focused team to tackle specific problems, helping to alleviate poverty by achieving sustainable development outcomes. While ownership is associated with having rights, stewardship means having responsibilities. Our most challenging responsibility is to improve development outcomes.
For IBG, being a good steward also means being accountable—to the communities where we work, to our partners and to our donors. We encourage collecting data and making evidence-based decisions. In doing so, our first accountability is with communities, making sure they are the primary custodian of the data and that they are involved with the analysis. We are accountable to our partners, to understand and contribute meaningfully to their organizational objectives. Our donors are provided with the opportunity to engage and better understand the real development issues and challenges.
We measure our ability to influence impact on a project-by-project basis, learning from all our experiences. Ultimately, we measure our success through continual progress towards improving development outcomes