Converge, Engage, Inspire!

I can say to date, from the time I came to the US, September, 2018, the Devex World, 2018 Conference, has been the best so far. It truly met up to the set theme, “Converge, Engage, Inspire!”
With regards to my work in the development sector for the last 8 years and more so, now, I have deeply been searching myself if the non-profit sector is the best vehicle for development for poor countries. Recently, I have even questioned how less robust the non-profit sector tracks its return on investment as opposed to the business sector. The questions have I have had, are; Is this NGO Model working? Why are the results of interventions so meager? Why aren’t governments of developing countries contributing more to their own development by increasing their revenues and strengthening accountability? Why aren’t communities rising up to design their own movements or solutions?
I was deeply inspired by the delivery of the Devex World 2018 Conference as there was a clear demonstration that my many questions were actually being asked, in the development sector. It was encouraging to see the general call for integration of business practices, non-profit and strengthening of public, private sector partnerships through innovation was the main call to action. This gives hope that if development interventions are improved as per the call to action, the world may see a jump from the slow results that have been observed in attainment of SDGs to more progressive leaps. The space for voices from the community, that is the Anti-FGM Activist from Ghana, the First Lady of Afghanistan, the Ministers of Health from Rwanda and Kenya further heightened to call to action. The Devex 2018 Conference, overall was a platform for the all key stakeholders in development- governments, communities, business and non-profit sector to review their approach to solving the world’s problems, using innovation and increasing accountability for the resources already being invested. Last but not the least, the networking was top notch, with interaction of professionals from the broad continuum of the development space and different countries to share lessons and how best we can all work together.
My take home from the conference is that we need to continue speaking up when we feel discontent, keep asking the right questions, have ways of improving systems or an overhaul thereof, and be open to continuously change and change fast. I hope that this opportunity will be available in 2020 for Atlas Corps Fellows not only to attend as delegates, but also as Speakers.

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