14 January 2013

Development Leaders: Overlooked and Wanted

Leadership is an under researched issue in development. The emphasis has been largely on policies and programmes, latterly on institutions and politics. But politics means people. Individuals, relations, coalitions, alliances.

I just came across the excellent Developmental Leadership Programme (DLP) --an international policy initiative supported by targeted research supported by the Australian aid program. This paper gives a good overview of the work of the programme, led by Adrian Leftwich.

The DLP is clear that leadership is not a matter of individual leaders, but is a political process.  This is something I am very interested in in the context of scaling up nutrition. The Transform Nutrition research programme, led by IFPRI and supported by DFID, has a strand of research on nutrition leadership.

On leadership of a different kind, a friend of mine has started a leadership mentoring programme for managers in the UK to do pro-bono work with small business in Swaziland to support them in developing their ideas. In return they learn about themselves and about the challenges of being an entrepreneur in another context. It is called the International Leadership Challenge. An interesting model -- and one well worth evaluating.

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