This article, by for the Center for American Progress, is a powerful explanation of why people matter in development, and why Maranatha Health is committed to human-centred development in all our work. See some exerpts below, or read the full article here

"Human-centered problem-solving that address the actual needs of communities may seem intuitive, but they are often not included in international development efforts. Across the developing world, beneficiaries are often the last people to be consulted about efforts that are meant to affect their lives."

"Design thinking, or human-centered design, leads with empathy and designs with the community. Most importantly, it considers human factors—taking into account human needs, capacity, perception, and culture to design solutions in partnership with the communities that designers serve. This approach does not focus solely on one big idea, and it does not make assumptions about the needs and capacities of developing communities. The steps of the design-thinking process are to empathize and listen, understand experiences through research, observe people and their behavior, ask communities and people the right questions, ideate on how to effectively consider these human factors when designing a solution, prototype proposed solutions, repeatedly test the effectiveness, and finally implement the solution."

"Development agencies’ recent shifts toward human-centered project design represent a significant step forward, but it is imperative that these approaches be applied more frequently and universally as the global community works to implement the Sustainable Development Goals over the next 15 years. These design-thinking approaches enable agencies to address complex human problems and visualize solutions in a way that most effectively addresses human needs. They also help agencies become more accountable and credible to the communities they serve by incorporating a participatory, bottom-up process. Furthermore, these approaches prioritize individuals and communities by giving them a central voice and role in how they achieve their own growth, which is the basis for successful and sustainable development."

Read the full article here

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