Many organizations, regardless of industry, are often so focused on their immediate tasks that they don’t find the time to take a step back and see how their activities impact their overall mission. The global development industry is no stranger to this struggle, but given what’s at stake it’s essential that organizations reflect on their efforts to ensure they’re delivering the kind of impact that’s needed.

To that end, our research on innovation and economic development has uncovered three questions that we believe could significantly increase the efficacy of many development projects.

Does our mission align with the mission of those we seek to help?

Sometimes the mission of an organization is in conflict with the mission of the people it is trying to help. When this happens, the work of a development organization can unintentionally impede progress in poor countries.

Are we creating dependence?

In 1961, President John F. Kennedy called for “aid to end aid” and for American aid to “help people help themselves. Safe Water Network seems to be pursuing a similar strategy. The organization is committed to solving the access to water problem in poor communities, but rather than create dependence, it’s working to extract itself from its projects over time by ensuring their  sustainability.

Is our intervention creating or connected to a market?

The creation of new markets is one of the most viable and sustainable ways to eradicate poverty and create prosperity in poor countries because markets not only provide income for people to lead better lives, but they also generate necessary taxes for public services such as, education, healthcare, and so on.

Read the full article about effective development projects by Efosa Ojomo at Christensen Institute.