An analogy occurred to me recently:
Imagine that your best friend is quitting smoking. This is something you’ve really wanted her to do for a long time, as you’ve seen the teeth darken and heard the hacking cough for too long now.
So after much soul searching and commitment on your best friend’s part, she takes the first step on their journey. She reduces the number of cigarettes she smokes per day by three! She has been smoking a pack a day.
It has required more effort and commitment than she ever thought she was capable of before. She is proud of what she has done for this first step and this is what she knows herself to be capable of right now.
As your friend tells you about this, you balk, “Only 3 less per day?! Why aren’t you using the Nicorette [an anti-smoking medication]? That’s what’s going to help you really quit!”
How would your friend take this?
You have now negated what she was able to accomplish, which was a big difference to her, even though it was not up to your expectations.
The question: How often does this happen in aid partnerships, especially those with local organizations and on-the-ground implementing partners?
In my experience, much too often.