Just recently I learnt a new saying – said to come from Africa: “What you do for me, but without me, you do against me.”
If we look at still current practice of development aid but also reconstruction after a war or another disaster, we realize how much of such commitment by-passes the affected communities.
Today reconstruction and development aid are big business. The EU allegedly spent € 56.2 billion on development aid in 2013 (https://europa.eu/european-union/topics/development-cooperation_en). How much of this money ultimately flowed into EU pockets (ie to EU companies) is irrelevant for now just as the questions whether or not such profiteering or the amount is appropriate (based on the financial budget). How different would regions look, in which such investment flows, would the money spent be used together with those affected? Does development aid and reconstruction sow tomorrows conflicts (and thus further business)? The saying would suggest so.
The major challenges for development aid (of small and large communities) are not so much the right knowledge of e.g. sustainable technologies, but identifying appropriate development processes (through integrative process design). Ultimately these must be determined by the affected communities themselves . If anything, the help from the outside would be through relevant knowledge about possible process design, method diversity in implementation and relevant experiences. That would be the role of development aid and not the actual implementation! Integrative process design integrates the personal development of each affected person.