Ten questions to ask of any development project:
☐ Does it provide something most people in rich countries have/use, but few people in the recipient community have/use?
☐ Is the project likely to be abandoned once donor funding runs out?
☐ In order for the project to succeed, would people in the recipient community have to significantly change their habits or reorganize their daily routines?
☐ If the cost of the project was just handed out to recipients in cash, would they spend the cash on the thing the project provides?
☐ Are freebies at the center of the project?
☐ Are pictures of Smiling African Children featured prominently in the project’s marketing?
☐ Does it target middle income communities rather than very poor ones?
☐ Is the target population living in a city rather than the countryside?
☐ Is the project’s main target something other than people’s incomes?
☐ Does it assume a competent/non-corrupt local government to work?
Count the number of questions you answered “Yes” to:
0-2: You’re probably on the safe side
3-5: There are some worrying signs of bloat here.
6-8: Bloatier than a cow in a salt-lick factory.
9-10: Run awayyyyyyyyyy!