In places where state-citizen relations are limited, adaptive programming approaches that understand and respond to complex ‘sub-national’ political dynamics can lead to positive results.
On 1st of February 2022 two DLP research fellows, Baia Warapa and Mark Moran, participated in a discussion panel for the Center for Global Development (CGD) on “Adaptive Programming at the Sub-National Level: Evidence from Papua New Guinea”.
The discussion centred particularly around examples of donor programming in the South Fly District of Papua New Guinea’s Western Province and highlighted the importance of development programming that understands context and is flexible and adaptive, and how this can be accomplished.
A good adaptive programming approach “empowers and facilitates local actors”, looking at whole communities, not only the individual(s) thought to be leading change.
Sub-national adaptive programming also requires understanding the existing local leadership context. In South Fly, the challenges of transport and travel, and the need for formal community leaders to conduct business in the capital of Daru, can be disruptive. Nonetheless, informal committees will often step up when formal leadership isn’t there. Likewise, women leaders are increasingly filling the spaces left by male leaders and excelling at collaborative leadership.
Baia and Mark were joined by Geoff King (Counsellor Justice, Accountability and Subnational, Australian High Commission in PNG, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade), Sandra Naranjo Bautista (Public Policy Specialist and Chief Executive Officer of ‘Better Govs’) and Andrew Parker (Freelance Development Economist and Entrepreneur).
Want to learn more about local leadership in South Fly, and how it has risen to recent challenges? Check out this summary of a recent webinar discussion on Leadership in the shadow of the pandemic.