Remote management of projects in fragile states (GSDRC Helpdesk Research Report 908)

Abstract

Query

Please provide examples of successful remote management of projects in fragile state settings. In particular we are interested in who undertook the remote management, the results and lessons learned.

Key findings

  • The use of remote management in development cooperation has increased significantly in recent years, with projects in many locations including: Afghanistan, Iraq, Somalia, Sudan, South Sudan, Syria, Angola, Sri Lanka, Uganda, Chechnya, and Pakistan;
  • Remote management is generally considered a temporary measure which should be used only as a last resort;
  • However, as security risks have remained high in certain countries, remote management has become a standard and semi-permanent approach;
  • There are different forms and degrees of remote management of projects which entail different configurations of decision making and implementation;
  • Key factors that can foster success in remote management projects include: acceptance of activities by local communities; effective staff recruitment, training and retention; flexibility in programming and budgeting; proximity to beneficiaries; visibility; mobility; and effective preparation for fast changing environments;
  • The majority of the literature reviewed expressed serious reservations about the remote management approach, supporting the overarching principle that this is an approach which should be temporary and a last choice resort;
  • Some literature recognises the benefits of a remote management approach in terms of training local staff, improving the understanding of local contexts and needs, and improving local accountability.

Citation

Herbert, S. Remote management of projects in fragile states (GSDRC Helpdesk Research Report 908). Governance and Social Development Resource Centre, University of Birmingham, Birmingham, UK (2013) 9 pp.

Remote management of projects in fragile states (GSDRC Helpdesk Research Report 908)

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