September 6, 2009
Excellence too good for developing countries?
I heard it from Dr. Mohammad Yunus himself, creator of the Grameen Bank in Bangladesh. Developing countries should use the latest innovative technologies and approaches to meet their goals and implement their programs. At the time it was the use of cell phones in rural areas. Seems common sense now 20 years later.
But some of our PEPFAR funders question whether excellence is the right approach, and quote the same example we heard so many times over the past year; …..one of their grantees had developed innovative adolescent friendly clinics which had proven too ambitious for duplication and a dumbed down version had to be implemented waisting all the PEPFAR funding for this intervention.
Mpilonhle seems to be falling in that same category of doubt….. are we too efficient and too high tech. Can South Africa handle such an approach yet is the question. With all respect to PEPFAR and the wonderful work they do in South Africa, I have a very difficult time with this so called dilemma. One example that “went wrong” – for reasons that I think are worth exploring - seems to overshadow the so many examples that went right.
Mpilonhle has proven that centres of excellence can be done in rural South Africa with a local workforce. Why not learn from us rather then finding us “too 21st century!” It is all about management and raising expectations…and South Africa is oh so ready for it.