This Week: Predicting the future success of your project and #selfiesfordevelopment

Back to the Future

Back to the Future movie poster (source:

Humans have an uncanny desire to foresee what will happen in the future (cue movie with dashing lead running to save his life after altering the future), coupled with a desire to be able to act on 20/20 hindsight. So, when the World Bank says it can better predict project outcome rankings at the outset of the project, ears should perk up.

new working paper investigated a predictive model based on project size, prep time, effectiveness delays, planned project length, country performance as measured by the Country Policy and Institutional Assessment ratings, and track record of the project manager. It correctly predicts 56% of unsatisfactory projects, a good deal better than the 17% correct prediction rate of ISR-DO self-assessment first quarter ratings.

While the World Bank is trying to figure out how to predict the future, others are trying to better figure out what’s going on now by advancing the data revolution.  Check out these four recommendations for improving country abilities for data uptake. They include improving already existing country datasets, modernizing National Statistics Development Strategies, introducing country compacts for better data quality, and initiating new collaboratives to deal with sticky situations.

One competlling example of data uptake is the The Guardian’s global development interactive graphic detailing women's rights around the world as part of their series, "women's rights and gender equality in focus." Another graphic worth checking out is this interactive map of dams in Africa that the Chinese have constructed or plan to construct. These projects illustrate China's growing role in improving electricity infrastructure throughout the continent.

Women's Rights Dataviz

Women's rights country by country (see interactive graphic on The Guardian)

Many of you may be reading this on your mobile phone. Whether you are or are not, there is no doubt that the hype for using mobiles for development has been hearty, and semi-successful. A new USAID handbook for “Integrating Mobiles into Development Projects” aims to help implementers avoid some of the regular pitfalls and make wiser decisions about when and how to use mobiles for development. Now you can learn how to best implement that #selfiesfordevelopment project you’ve been dreaming of.

Weekly updates are written by Taryn Davis of Development Gateway; email her your tips for next week's update to get a shout-out in the post.

Tags: This WeekWorld BankinternationalDevelopmenteffectivenessevaluationdataAfricaChinamobile