The world’s largest bilateral donor has been on a mission lately to find new ways to do development business. As the U.S. Agency for International Development’s chief innovation officer, Maura O’Neill is central to this effort. Read her exclusive guest opinion on innovative financing for development, or check out this excerpt:
A few miles outside of Busia in Western Kenya, Carol Nekesa brings us out to a small village that is enjoying a regular supply of clean water for the first time. Next to the stream where the villagers regularly fill up their containers of water, a chlorine dispenser has been installed.
For years, we have known that adding a little bit of chlorine to water can kill the bacteria that make people sick. And getting sick from bad water can too often turn fatal for people already ravaged by disease.
But until recently, only 10 percent of Kenyan families have been using chlorine. Why was that and how could that change? Carol, a Kenyan from Busia, was part of a team that was pioneering not just a particular solution, but a systematic method for creating more cost-effective solutions again and again.
As the OECD Development Assistance Committee holds the Fourth High Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness in Busan, South Korea, at the end of this month, we all seek better answers to “what works” in the fight against poverty. How can we uncover what people really will use to lift themselves out of extreme poverty and debilitating disease instead of what others think they need? How do we source and deploy solutions faster and cheaper? And how do we discover innovative ways to finance them?
Read Maura O’Neill’s full op-ed, brought to you by Devex in partnership with the United Nations Foundation.