In development, stabilization, and peace building, donors increasingly recognize the importance of being sensitive to the local contexts of their efforts. Yet the use of "blueprints" remains widespread. Even when standard approaches are modified for particular aid partners, there often remains a poor fit between donor efforts and local conditions. The waste and disruptions that result are even greater in high-profile and politically sensitive situations, when political considerations demand large-scale responses.
Robert D. Lamb is a senior fellow and director of the Program on Crisis, Conflict, and Cooperation at CSIS. Kathryn Mixon is program coordinator and research assistant with the Program on Crisis, Conflict, and Cooperation at CSIS.