When I set out on this project, my goal was to identify techniques for collecting and processing feedback from the “ground-up,” utilizing the wealth of crucial information stored in the local people who the World Bank attempts to help with its projects. I expected to find basic skills that would rely on emerging technologies, like the Internet, smartphones, and satellite data, which would give the World Bank, and me, a leg up in its pursuit of better feedback collection.
“[T]he peculiar situation of… aid bureaucracies is that the intended beneficiaries of their actions—the poor people of the world—have no political voice to influence the behavior of the bureaucracy. The absence of feedback from aid beneficiaries to aid agencies has been widely noted… Moreover, poverty and underdevelopment typically comprise a cluster of problems, and it is often not clear which particular problems of the intended beneficiaries an aid agency should address. Thus, an ideal aid agency must find answers to the problems of zero feedback and unclear objectives.” – William Easterly, “Where Does the Money Go? Best and Worst Practices in Foreign Aid”
According to American economist and New York University Professor of Economics, William Easterly, “Lack of feedback is one of the most critical flaws in existing [foreign] aid.” (Easterly, 2006). In his paper, “Planners versus Searchers in Foreign Aid,” Easterly breaks down the mindsets of workers in the international aid community into two types: the Planner and the Searcher.
As world citizens, one of our most important responsibilities is to provide aid to those who need it. The World Bank (WB) is an international organization that embodies this principle, whose objective is to eliminate poverty worldwide through economic development assistance, using aid money to fund projects ranging from microloans to local businesses to large-scale agricultural developments. Despite the simplicity of this mission, its implementation has been anything but simple.