Tarry Asoka on the need for a paradigm shift

Video copies of Nollywood films. According to Tarry Asoka, Nigeria's film industry shows how collective efforts can produce profitable businesses in the absence of economic opportunities and a globally acclaimed management model. Photo by: Michael Rank / CC BY-NC-SA

It’s time for a paradigm shift in international development, writes Tarry Asoka in an exclusive guest opinion. Too many aid organizations are doing too many things, according to the independent health consultant. Read the full op-ed, and check out this excerpt:

Two of the main reasons why current aid delivery is ineffective are intermediation (and its related negative line of accountability) and the multitude of individual donors (and the roles they play in the delivery of aid).

Both causes are ultimately related and stem from the inability of donors to deliver aid to target beneficiaries. As recipient country financial and management systems are found to be inadequate (from the point of view of donors), several layers of middle management are created to manage and implement donor-funded programs.

Many bilateral donors — notably the U.S. Agency for International Development, U.K. Department for International Development and some others — work though implementing partners or management agencies that broker relationships with national authorities and use national professionals to undertake development activities with the hope of reaching the target groups. As there are contractual requirements along this chain, it is usual that the effort required to deliver benefits to target populations is dissipated in meeting these contractual obligations. Moreover, these middle managers are more accountable in the opposite direction to their clients rather than the people they are meant to serve.

Read Tarry Asoka’s full op-ed, brought to you by Devex in partnership with the United Nations Foundation.

About the author

  • Tarry Asoka

    Tarry Asoka is an independent health management consultant and former health adviser with the U.K. Department for International Development in Nigeria. He is an alumnus of the prestigious Cambridge Health Leadership Program, and has more than 20 years of experience in providing and managing health services in private, public, faith-based, NGO and international agency settings.