22 October 2011

Five things I learned from commenting on the MVP

Well, that was interesting.

After my rather mild comments about the MVP last week we had the reply from Jeff Sachs and Prabhjot Singh.

Then we had some other blogs too.

David McKenzie provided a rebuttal of the response from the Millennium Promise team to me (many thanks David, even though we do not know each other).

Berk Ozler notes the role that the UN and the funders have played in the MVP. Michael Clemens from CGD weighs in too.

So after all the hoo-hah (a brilliant English term for fuss), here are 5 things I learned in the course of the last week.

1. If you offer a critique of the MVP, get ready for a full-on "stern" response. There seems to be an "if you are not with us then you are against us" narrative at work.

2. Get ready for any content in your critique to be drowned out by the impact issue. My blog was primarily about how to use the upcoming impact assessment to get a fix on how sustainable the MVP experiment would be once the donor money had gone. None of the above blogs mentioned this point.

3. The powerful can also be seduced by the "I've seen it work" argument. No need for boring old impact assessments, it seems.

4. One could make a career (of sorts) out of debating the MVP. There is a micro-industry of MVP debate out there. Lots of good stuff, but it must get a bit all-consuming.

5. The DFID funded evaluation of the MVP is more needed than I had realised. Well done DFID. And I will be the first to congratulate the MVP team if rigorous impact assessments show a positive impact attributable to the MVP.

Signing off on this topic for a while...


Tobias Denskus said...

6. Be reminded that virtual discussions, although technically global in reach, often take place in a very selective circle of, in this case, Western men of renowned institutions based in or around the global capitals of development thinking, research and practice literally discussing villages in Africa.

Lawrence Haddad said...

Thanks Tobias.

I'm certainly under no illusion that these kinds of discussions are global, but your point is well taken. Has anyone done any research on the reach of blogs?

P Baker said...

7. 'Protesting too much' is not a good idea, it don't look good. There is a saying: 'Accept praise as though you are used to it; accept criticism as though you enjoy it for a change.'

Lawrence Haddad said...

I like number 7... yes, disproportionate responses tend to be counterproductive and raise further worries...

Bose said...

Ecstatic adoration to constructive criticism

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