ODI Development Progress
ODI's Development Progress aims to measure, understand and communicate where and how progress in development has happened. What are the latest methods we deploy to measure progress and why do they matter? What are the social, economic and political contexts that have facilitated and enabled progress in different countries? How do domestic and foreign resources contribute to financing progress? By examining and explaining progress across multiple sectors, this four-year project explores these and other questions, with an aim to providing evidence for what’s worked and why over the past two decades. Find out more by visiting our website.
ODI’s role as a Wikiprogress Correspondent
As a Wikiprogress correspondent, ODI will highlight our work to investigate stories of progress in international development over the last two decades.
Despite global and domestic challenges such as the food crisis, the threat of climate change, as well as barriers to accessing health, education and employment opportunities, significant and inspiring development progress has been accomplished all over the world. Founded on this belief, ODI established Development Progress, a project funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, which aims to highlight stories of progress and challenge the tale of pessimism and negativity that too often characterises narratives and perceptions of development.
Stories from the first phase of the project were selected from among low and middle-income countries using the following criteria: scale; sustainability; equity; regional variation; and an element of surprise – countries that have not achieved widespread recognition or achieved progress ‘against the odds’. 24 case studies were carried out, spread across eight different dimensions of wellbeing including: economic conditions; health; water, sanitation and hygiene; education; governance; environmental conditions; agriculture and rural development; and social protection. Case studies can be viewed and downloaded from the following country pages: El Salvador; Costa Rica; Brazil; Egypt; Burkino Faso; Benin; Ghana, Ethiopia; Eritrea; Somaliland; Uganda; Rwanda; Malawi; Namibia; South Africa; Mauritius; India, Bangladesh, Bhutan; Thailand; Lao PDR; Cambodia; Vietnam; Indonesia. ODI also published a global report mapping development progress. The report summarises evidence of progress and how it was achieved in the 24 case studies. The project recognises there is not one path to progress, but progress comes in many different shapes and from; progress is diverse. Watch this short film for an overview of the findings from the first phase of the project:
The first phase of Development Progress has now been completed, and the second phase of work has begun. Over the next four years, through a series of events, publications and online tools, Development Progress will become a hub for contemporary debates in development. Our aim is to generate evidence and analysis to further understand:
- innovative methodologies for the measurement of progress
- the social, political and economic environments that facilitate progress
- how domestic and foreign resources contribute to the financing of progress
- how to better incorporate poor people's perspectives on progress into development funding decisions
- the role of global institutions and trade in facilitating progress
A series of 25 case studies will further explore where progress has happened and why. Each country case study will explore a particular focus area within one of the following dimensions of wellbeing, with several case studies explicitly researched from a multidimensional angle.
Material wellbeing The basic economic and material dimension of progress. Case studies will be on countries that have managed to shift their growth patterns and the distribution of secondary income in favour of the poor, and those that have significantly improved individuals’ economic resilience and associated access to services. Particular attention will be paid to equity and economic security.
- Quality of life in urban areas: Peru and Thailand
- Resilience of the rural poor: Bangladesh and Mali or Malawi
Health Physical, mental and social wellbeing and not merely the absence of disease or illness. Case studies will examine specific, narrower outcomes within health service provision: maternal health and combating preventable diseases – both of which are linked to MDGs that have proven elusive for many countries.
- Maternal and child health: Nepal and Mozambique
- Neglected tropical diseases: Sierra Leone and Cambodia
Education Knowledge, skills and competencies. Case studies will examine progress across two areas that have shown to be particularly challenging in education globally: the quality of basic education and access to post-primary education.
- Post-primary education: Mongolia and Kenya
- Quality of basic education: Chile and Tanzania
Employment A contributor to incomes, particularly of the less well-off, but also an important contributor to self-respect and fulfilment. The quantity of work is of course important but perhaps more so is its quality. Case studies will explore countries that have been able to increase quality employment in urban and rural areas, in the informal sector, and for specific deprived groups.
- Access to productive employment: Uganda and Sri Lanka
Environment The quality of air, land and water, biodiversity and atmospheric change; and at the household level, access to clean water and improved sanitation. Case studies will focus on the interrelation between environmental sustainability and economic and social progress, identifying environmental protection and income-generating activities that have been mutually reinforcing.
- Sustainable energy: Brazil and Vietnam
- Sustainable resource management for agriculture: China and Burkina Faso
Political voice The inclusiveness and functioning of governing institutions that enables the participation of individuals in political processes, allowing citizens to participate in policy making and speak up against what is perceived as wrong (intrinsic value), and ensuring accountability of public officials and institutions whilst revealing values, needs and deprivations (instrumental value). Case studies will focus on national-level political processes aimed at enhancing freedoms and improving governance.
- Open and inclusive political systems: Morocco
Social Cohesion A ‘cohesive’ society works towards the wellbeing of all its members and fights exclusion and marginalization (social inclusion); creates a sense of belonging and promotes trust (social capital); and offers members the opportunity of upward social mobility. Case studies will consider the integration and representation of historically excluded groups into political processes, focusing particularly on countries that have increased women’s empowerment.
- Women’s empowerment: Tunisia
Security Personal security, including the reduction of armed violence and improved citizen safety. Case studies will examine what factors have enabled improved peace and security along with strengthened resilience and recovery mechanisms in countries overcoming conflict.
- Peace and security: Timor Leste and Liberia or Bosnia
Multi-dimensional A set of three multi-dimensional case studies will more fully explore how dimensions of progress potentially interact, centred on a selected sub-set of ‘linked’ dimensions.
- Resilience and employment: Ethiopia
- Health, education and political voice: Ghana
- Political voice and social cohesion: Colombia
Find out more by downloading our introductory Project Note.
ODI Resources and Events
OECD World Forum: Measuring Well-Being for Development and Policy Making
Development Progress interviewed a number of delegates at the 4th OECD World Forum in Delhi, including Joseph Stiglitz and Jeffrey Sachs, to get their views on the conference and wider issues involved in debates about the measurement of well-being. Recordings are available below:
- Emma Samman - Measurement matters: ODI's Emma Samman gives her view on the OECD World Forum in Delhi and singles out Angus Deaton's contribution concerning household survey data for praise. She also talks about the findings of her new paper for Development Progress.
- Jeffrey Sachs - If you're not scared, you're not well informed: President of the Earth Institute at Columbia University Professor Jeffrey Sachs spells four focus areas for the agreement of sustainable development goals/ He calls for concise criteria that that will inspire the next generation, warning that the evidence concerning man's influence on the planet leads him to conclude that if you're not scared, you're not well informed.
- Alison Evans - A potentially powerful consensus: ODI Director Alison Evans describes the OECD World Forum as an example of a potentially powerful consensus. Speaking to Development Progress she asks what can now be done to bring new measures of well-being into the policy making arena.
- Allister McGregor - What's next, technocracy or transformation?: Allister McGregor, Team Leader on Vulnerability and Poverty Reduction at the Institute of Development Studies talks about the challenge of what follows the 4th OECD World Forum. He says we are at a critical juncture between a technocratic process and a transformational one.
- David McNair - Inequality was the MDG blind spot: David McNair, Head of Growth, Equity and Livelihoods at Save the Children talks to Development Progress about the need for issues such as malnutrition to be taken into account when measuring child well-being. He then spells out what action Governments should taking to address existing problems.
- Enrico Giovannini - Beyond GDP: Enrico Giovannini is President of the Italian Statistical Institute (Istat). From January 2001 to July 2009, he was Director of Statistics and Chief Statistician of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). He talks here to ODI's Development Progress about why we need to keep up momentum in the push to move beyond GDP in measurement of well-being.
- Professor Joseph Stiglitz - Well-being and inequality: Fresh from making a keynote speech at the OECD World Forum in Delhi Professor Stiglitz spoke to ODI's Development Progress about why he thinks measuring well-being beyond GDP and tackling inequality are so important.
- Duncan Green - OECD World Forum: Duncan Green, author of From Poverty to Power gives his take on how the OECD World Forum on measuring well-being is unfolding.
Development Progress website
Short film introducing the second phase of Development Progress
Introducing Development Progress - understanding what works and why
Using case studies to untangle complexity and learn from progress
Measuring well-being - different approaches, their implications and an illustration