The challenge for many firms and people wanting to participate in development activities is in understanding the intricacies with the tactic to secure involvement. Activities through agencies including the Australian Agency for International Development (AusAID), the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank, are usually let through a public, competitive tendering process. Increasing this matter is the fact that in almost all cases, the operation is different for each agency.
Myth - that the development industry is different.
Well obviously it is, much like all industries - different clients, different products, different channels to market, different cultures, different environments, different risks etc.
What makes it the same is the must make sure client needs are met, if not exceeded, and that products and services are as desired/needed, not imposed.
So how can you get involved? Is it luck? It is skill? Is it people, goods and services?
All and much more I am sure.
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A key step often required is the need to demonstrate experience, understanding, value, sustainability of strategies etc to those assessing a tender.
Reality Check - Successful tenders must be compliant to the requirements of the request, must be price competitive, and require to find the balance between the technical requirements of the response and the selling nature of the process.
One of the most important aspects of development initiatives is their ability to produce sustainable outcomes into the communities within which the activities take place. Consequently, gaining knowledge from past activities assists to shape the style of future initiatives. For firms or individuals seeking participation, understanding how such learning could modify development approaches is a critical step in determining the type and level of involvement to target.
Fact - gaining knowledge from past activities continues to shape future interventions.
The Development Market Today
The following points are some key observations about the directions [approaches] being taken in the provision of development assistance. These directions have the potential to impact on any strategy organisations and individuals might adopt to enter, maintain, or increase their involvement:
• Funds are being diverted from government aid agencies to other government departments for sector-specific programs
• There is a continuing trend to devolve more decision making towards the offshore post of the donor country, out of the 'central' headquarters
• An boost in donor co-ordination and collaboration where, for example, the USA [through USAID] and Australia [through AusAID] might align program approaches in order to avoid duplication and other associated impediments, into a sector- wide approach
• A trend seeing more assistance being aligned to foreign policy where, for example, security and regional stability could influence aid disbursement
• Bilateral donors are opening their markets, enabling individuals and organisations to compete at least closed opportunities
• There is an increasing trend for a go on to larger activities, such as sector-wide approaches, as opposed to specific project interventions
• Scale and global reach may very well be an essential criteria in winning and managing major programs
• Relationships and networks in country with donor representatives, recipient governments, local organisations and development professionals are getting to be increasingly important.