Social Good

Trends in International Development Project Management: Human-Centered vs. Client-Centered Approaches

International development projects and programs are large, often overlapping, and primarily focused on achieving local level results that are difficult to link to larger political priorities. Developmental projects are, in theory, designed to maximize social benefits as part of larger state-building efforts. However, problems may arise from a lack of integration with broader sectoral and national policies; creation of parallel management systems and structures; proliferation of reporting arrangements; lack of subsequent attention to operation and maintenance; and rising costs due to delays. Furthermore, international experts are often not well equipped or capable of completing projects within the normal expected time frames for donor-supported projects. This gap in project implementation suggests that actors in the development sphere ultimately deny their power to effect sustainable change, and thus negatively impact the intended results of large-scale, international development initiatives.

Dr. Adam Simpson is an experienced advisor for development and peacebuilding initiatives. As Manager of Global Programmes for UN Women, he provides strategic guidance and oversight for the Programme Directorate's global portfolio. Adam is also an advisor to the UN Secretary General’s High-Level Panel for Women’s Economic Empowerment, which has brought together influential leaders to launch a shared global agenda that accelerates women’s economic empowerment in support of implementing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Adam previously worked for the United Nations Office for Project Services, overseeing projects in Asia, Europe and the Middle East. He also worked with the Aga Khan Foundation and NATO in Afghanistan, managing a suite of healthcare infrastructure projects in the northern provinces. He spent several years in the private sector as a management consultant with Vancouver-based AMBiT Consulting, where he worked on an award-winning project to establish Canada’s first distributed medical learning education programme, in partnership with the health sector, government, and academia.
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