Why you want to ask your target group and not your advisors

What do you get when you ask 100 development advisors how people feel about something in their countries?

You’ll get the advisors’ opinion!

What don’t you get?

A reliable picture of how the people in question actually feel.


Advertisement execs know of this decisive difference very well. No matter how great their experience, running ads based on assumptions can go terribly wrong.

That’s why they use focus groups to test their ideas before investing in rolling out a costly campaign.

Development cooperation still often suffers from conflating the opinion of their advisors with how the target group might really feel.

There’s been change over time, yes. However, it’s not so much in form of a conceptual shift to approaching development work.

It’s more that the problem is not viewed only as western hubris anymore — probably because we have more advisors from developing countries working within projects today.

Unfortunately, the cause of approaching issues with apriori assumptions is not limited to having been brought up in a foreign country.

A well-to-do, 50+ local advisor based in the capital can be as remote to a poor rural youth as his or her colleague from overseas.

Make sure you ask your target group directly. It’s money well spent and you’ll save some on project retreats.