The challenge for many firms as well as people wishing to participate in development activities is in understanding the intricacies of the tactic to secure involvement. Activities through agencies like the Australian Agency for International Development (AusAID), the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank, are generally let through a public, competitive tendering process. Adding to this problem is the fact that in almost all cases, the operation is different for every agency.
Myth - that the development industry is different.
Well obviously it is, much like all industries - different clients, different products, different channels to advertise, different cultures, different environments, different risks etc.
What makes it the same is the need to ensure client needs are met, if not exceeded, and that services and products are as desired/needed, not imposed.
So how can you become involved? Is it luck? It is skill? Is it people, products or services?
All and much more I am sure.
A key step often required may be the need to demonstrate experience, understanding, value, sustainability of strategies etc to those assessing a tender.
Reality Check - Successful tenders must be compliant to the requirements of the request, must be price competitive, and need to find the balance between your technical requirements of the response and the selling nature of the process.
One of the most important aspects of development initiatives is their capability to produce sustainable outcomes into the communities within which the activities take place. Consequently, learning from past activities assists to shape design for future initiatives. For firms or individuals seeking participation, understanding how such learning could modify development approaches is a critical step in determining the type and level of involvement to target.
Fact - gaining knowledge from past activities will continue to shape future interventions.
The Development Market Today
The following points are a few key observations concerning the directions [approaches] being taken in the availability of development assistance. These directions have the potential to impact on any strategy organisations and people might adopt to enter, maintain, or enhance their involvement:
• Funds are being diverted from government aid agencies with other government departments for sector-specific programs
• There is a continuing trend to devolve more decision making to the offshore post of the donor country, out of the ‘central’ headquarters
• An boost in donor co-ordination and collaboration where, for example, the USA [through USAID] and Australia [through AusAID] might align program approaches to prevent duplication and other associated impediments, into a sector- wide approach
• A trend seeing more assistance being aligned to foreign policy where, for example, security and regional stability could influence aid disbursement
• Bilateral donors are opening their markets, making it possible for individuals and organisations to compete at least closed opportunities
• There is an increasing trend for a proceed to larger activities, for example sector-wide approaches, rather than specific project interventions
• Scale and global reach is likely to be an essential criteria in winning and managing major programs
• Relationships and networks in country with donor representatives, recipient governments, local organisations and development professionals have become increasingly important.
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