Good Development

Geneva Global’s 10 operating principles for good development

Geneva Global has codified what we believe to be good practice in the realm of international development.

These standards, principles and beliefs focus on effective development practices at the community level, but are broadly applicable to the field.

Our approach to development can be summarized in three interrelated principles:
  • Approaching development with an investment mindset
  • Catalyzing sustainable and measurable social improvements
  • Encouraging community initiative and ownership

Under these three headings, we have collated Geneva Global’s ten operating principles for good development.

1. Strategic Selection

Good development combines the intentional use of social transformation tools (grants, loans, equity), in cooperation with other key actors (government, industry, civil society) to create and deepen lasting impact. We believe that it is our responsibility to prioritize social capital investments to exceptional programs operating where extraordinary need and opportunities coexist. Typically, this means working with poor and marginalized communities with the most acute basic human needs that currently have limited power to change their situation.

2. Superior Social Return on Investment

Good development demands value for resources invested. Philanthropic dollars should be invested in interventions, programs and organizations that most effectively deliver the greatest measurable outcomes over a defined period of time. This is best accomplished when all stakeholders track resource deployment, compare target indicators to benchmarks, evaluate outcomes against realistic goals and maintain accountability and transparency.

3. Innovation

Innovation pushes international development efforts to reflect ever-changing realities on the ground and to achieve greater results. Each investor must balance innovative creativity with active risk management, while valuing knowledge and lessons learned from previous development experience.

4. Changing Paradigms

To alleviate poverty, good development must do more than just change material circumstances; it must also address systems, cultural world views, beliefs, and social paradigms, which contribute to poverty’s hold on society.

5. Long-Term Sustainable Design

Geneva Global has always sought to identify and promote organizations and programs that focus on a “hand up” rather than a traditional “hand out.” When possible, projects should promote, enhance and create opportunities for beneficiary and community self-sufficiency. Contributing to long-term sustainability should be the ultimate goal of effective development programs.

6. Multi-Dimensional Impact

Effective granting recognizes that individuals, families and communities touched by poverty are also affected by a complex web of institutional structures and social forces. In response, effective granting seeks to impact multiple dimensions of both individuals and society.

7. Access to Local Financial Capital

To create positive, long-term change in the lives of the poor, mechanisms must be employed to break the cycle of poverty. A crucial step toward achieving this goal is removing obstacles that keep the poor from accessing the capital needed to move up the prosperity ladder.

8. Mobilizing and Enhancing Existing Local Resources

Good development builds on what people have, who they are and what they already know and do. It supports and helps strengthen existing efforts to overcome the causes of poverty. Good development recognizes that foreign assistance catalyzes durable change only when programs build on local initiative.

9. Avoiding Negative Impacts – “Do The Least Harm!”

Development activities change the status quo. Ideally, this change is for the better, but in reality, some development will have unintended consequences on beneficiary populations. Though these cannot always be avoided, good development takes intentional steps to anticipate, mitigate and avoid negative impacts on individuals and communities.

10. Promoting a Community of Learning and Effective Practice

All investors – donors, intermediaries, implementers and beneficiaries – must be committed to learning from all stakeholders, as well as disseminating knowledge gained. It is through a community of learning and practice that good organizations and programs become great and good practices are disseminated, influencing the sector and increasing the scope of impact.