Evidence tells us that political factors are usually more important in determining developmental impact than the scale of aid funding or the technical quality of programming. Although international development organisations have made efforts to improve the quality of programmes, in many cases, these improvements lead to disappointing results. Successful implementation usually happens when programmes are implemented with the political environment in mind. Too many times over the past few decades, we have seen projects fail because they demand changes that are not politically feasible. TWP is about ending the hubris of aid, instead accepting the need to collaborate better with local partners and to influence and persuade power holders at different levels of the value of change to ensure politics is a solution rather than the problem. Thinking and working politically encourages active engagement with context, promoting programmes that are aligned with a domestic support base to generate reform momentum and a willingness to work with partners to help navigate political obstacles.
The Thinking and Working Politically (TWP) Community of Practice (CoP) first met in Delhi in November 2013 and aims to help better understand how to translate the evidence that political factors are usually much more important in determining developmental impact than the scale of aid funding or the technical quality of programming into operationally relevant guidance. The CoP encourages political engagement as an iterative and adaptive approach that is relevant programmatically, and for broader development policy objectives.