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An ambitious programme to support work to collectively identify what a new international development system would look like and what we all need to do to obtain it.

Image by Maninder Sidhu


The Reforming International Development programme (RID) gathered pace with the ground-breaking Jigsaw Survey and a September 2022 article by Barry Knight in Alliance magazine on An End to Aid Failure.

Since then we have disseminated the research widely, creating a lot of interest, especially from organizations and supporters for whom the survey results really resonated.

One reason why it is difficult to create change in the International Development sector is that it is heavily siloed, with many specialized agendas and too much competition and too little collaboration, despite our common goals.

A great value of the Jigsaw Survey was that it identified 4 areas for change considered highly important by respondents - the “Four Pillars of Change” - and demonstrated support for these at a 70% to 85% level across the board, among both funders and front line implementers, plus people from both the Global North and the Global South.
Today we are in Year 3 of what we expect to be a 10 year program. From September 2022 to end 2023, our main aims have been:

  • Disseminate the Jigsaw Survey widely, inviting comments and suggestions.

  • Conduct co-creation and online discussion sessions with a wide range of people in the Sector, especially those in the Global South whose voices are rarely heard.

  • Enable those involved to build on and expand the Survey results, turning them into practical action pathways for change.

  • Develop a compelling data base to guide future direction, build a Consultation document and actively participate in two key Conferences in 2023.

  • Identify like-minded organizations with similar vision and values with whom we can partner, collaborate, and share information in future.

In early 2024, we will review progress versus these objectives, and, in consultation with a range of others, chart a pathway for change to advance the effectiveness of the ID Sector in a practical and enduring way.

Image by Antoine Plüss


The program is being led by two very experienced consultants.

  • Barry Knight, a co - founder of the #ShiftThePower movement with four decades of high level experience in international development, who has been involved in the program from the beginning; and

  • Rebecca Hanshaw, until recently CEO of the Global Fund for Women, UK.

Together with David Drewery, Executive Director of Alliance magazine, a not for profit organization whose vision and values are closely aligned to HSDT, and Bruce and Hugh Davidson, they form a Coordination (KIT) Group which meets monthly.
Using the Jigsaw Survey and Four Pillars of Change as a baseline, and a six factor approach to systems change, the consulting team, together with three Team Leaders from the Global South, have already met face to face at a Conference in Istanbul.

They have conducted many scores of discussion sessions with online groups, to co-create the outlines of the international development system which people on the front line want and need. 

A Report on progress has been sent to all participants in these constituency building conversations.  This will form the basis for a Consultation document, summarizing the emerging proposals developed so far, to be published in Fall/Autumn 2023.
In order to fully involve those typically excluded from conversations on international development, an invitation to crowd source views and data has been created, translated into many languages, to be shared with the constituency we have already created, for roll out to their networks. In addition, online and face to face conversations have taken place with other selected organizations with objectives for change aligned with our own.
Alliance magazine recently set up an online portal for the RID program which gives you links to the Jigsaw Survey, plus a growing body of articles written on reforming international development (14 articles so far).

In “Breaking out of Echo Chambers”, Barry and Rebecca explain how their colleagues are expanding constituency conversations.

Image by Cole Freeman


The Consultation Document will be refined through further involvement of our discussion and co-creation groups. HSDT submitted proposals for two sessions at the WINGS Conference in Nairobi (3rd-5th October), and both were accepted. One is entitled “Elephants in the Room”, which will be highly participative, inviting all those attending to take part. The other session is on “Transformation”, in collaboration with Trust Africa and Urgent Action Fund Africa.
A major priority is preparation for the #ShiftThePower Summit in Bogota on 5th-7th December.  Three members of the HSDT Team have been invited to join the Advisory Committee for the Summit, and our Report will reform discussions at the Summit. The HSDT Lead Team will be heavily involved in person at this Summit Conference, including Bruce Davidson (Chair of  HSDT), Barry Knight and
Rebecca Hanshaw. 
Other topics emerging from our continuing co-creation groups, which our Teams will consider further, both before and at the Bogota (Columbia) Conference, include:

  • Need for more honesty in the International Development system. Our Teams are finding a tendency for people to say one thing and do another.

  • More consideration of advantages for funders in leading change, eg.  greater impact and effectiveness.

  • Reluctance to concede that not all front line people are pure and that hierarchies in Global South countries can prevent funds getting through to people on the front line.

HSDT is keen to collaborate, share information, and form partnerships with organizations which have a similar vision for the future of the International Development Sector and aligned values. We are already working closely and informally with a number of these, and are in the process of developing a long term partnership strategy.

Image by Mathis Jrdl


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