A new organization called What Went Wrong? has started operations in Ghana. Anyone can call or tweet reports of aid projects gone awry or unfinished.
This is an exciting development, because programs like this have a great deal of potential to improve service delivery, particularly in hard-to-reach places. It's not a new idea; for example, an organization called WaterAid is working with local partners to report and map broken water pumps in Malawi.
There's something about What Went Wrong? that makes me a bit uncomfortable though. Perhaps because its team appears to be photographers and visual designers, it seems to focus more on documenting an "experience" with aid, instead of making aid work better. Shaming aid behemoths like USAID or the World Bank for poor performance can be deserved and bring necessary reforms, but I'm not sure tweeting pictures of unfinished aid projects at NGOs is always the most productive way to improve delivery, especially for small local NGOs in a culture that values saving face. I can appreciate development disaster porn-- I've saved a copy of a newspaper article titled "Goats Infest Tomato Factory" for years-- but I would love to see an organization like What Went Wrong? partner more closely with organizations delivering aid, to create a link between identifying problems and providing solutions.
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I have worked in economic policy and research in Washington, D.C. and Ghana. My husband and I recently moved to Guyana, where I am working for the Ministry of Finance. I like riding motorcycle, outdoor sports, foreign currencies, capybaras, and having opinions.