Development Cooperation 2.0 (III): Florencio Ceballos: IDRC: Learnings, limitations and challenges from the experience

Florencio Ceballos
IDRC: Learnings, limitations and challenges from the experience

Crisis of performance, effectiveness, results, etc. in development cooperation, despite the increasing amount of resources devoted to it.


  • Industrial way of thinking, not post-industrial. The actual development paradigm is old and not valid. We need a new, up-to-date paradigm.
  • Focus on pilot projects that are not maintained after the pilot phase, so they die in the medium- or long-run.
  • Short-sightedness of asymmetric internationalism: there’s more and more knowledge in the South about south issues than in the north, so don’t (you northern developed country) look at your local environment, because it does not mirror the southern reality.
  • Money is an issue, but not the issue.


  • Try a new networked, collaborative way of designing and implementing projects
  • Forget about old ways of accountability and reporting mainly focused to satisfy the “needs” of the funding institution’s bureaucracy: instead, public accountability through the institutional web site, blogs, etc.
  • Boost (local) leaders, people that can enable (social) changes. Horizontal leadership and social capital, again enhancing networks and (symmetric) networking

Development and ICT4D are blurring concepts that are becoming indivisible aspects of Development in general.

We’ve much focused in access to infrastructures that we didn’t realize that mobile telephony was closing the digital divide at our backs. So, how does the telecenter has to adapt to this trend and make of (a) the PC+Internet a (still) valuable tool and (b) the mobile phone a more powerful tool (as the PC+Internet is)

New cooperation models: from charity to collaborative business strategies where both partners (northern, southern) benefit/profit from ICT4D projects.

More on horizontal leadership

The assumption that you (the North) can change the world, with just one project, designed in the framework of your office, is absolutely wrong. It’s better to empower, boost the leaders that are already operating this change through their daily work, so they can have a wider and deeper reach and impact, so the social change truly happens and at a higher level.

It’s not that we have to forget about all we’ve learned through the years about development, but just forget about the asymmetry that now rules development cooperation.


Development Cooperation 2.0 (2008)

If you need to cite this article in a formal way (i.e. for bibliographical purposes) I dare suggest:

Peña-López, I. (2008) “Development Cooperation 2.0 (III): Florencio Ceballos: IDRC: Learnings, limitations and challenges from the experience” In ICTlogy, #52, January 2008. Barcelona: ICTlogy.
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2 Comments to “Development Cooperation 2.0 (III): Florencio Ceballos: IDRC: Learnings, limitations and challenges from the experience” »

  1. Dear Friend,
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  2. I think the big frauds out there need to be named and shamed. They continue to not work cooperatively and instead are only out for their own enrichment (which would be fine if they actually achieved good results). These frauds reside in the UN agencies, international NGOs and advocacy groups.

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