Barriers to Growth vs. Small Catalyst
There are various roles of a volunteer. Which are often known as the Learner, Trainer, Co-Facilitator, Change Agent, & Project Co-Planner. Depending on your project and whichever phase you are in your service you are constantly adapting to one role or the other as you jump over hurdles of integration, and culture and language barriers. It is not uncommon for a volunteer to play all of the roles at some point.
You may wonder what do the various roles have to with growth vs. smaller interventions. Well, a lot actually. Develop Economists are often pressed with questions to find out what are the best programs that work and the largest impacts in terms of aid. One of the biggest drawbacks of this includes the cost. Some programs are more costly than others.
What are the drawbacks?
With the various roles mentioned above, the volunteer has advantages but due to sporadic cancellations and work availability it is not always easy to determine what role you will play. The lack of stability can impact the outcome of project for better or worse. The criticism and problem of this is that you can interfere with the type of knowledge you hope to produce and information will not be as reliable.
There is a big presence of NGO’s in my country service and therefore the opportunity to run evaluations to determine what is working, not working, and what is really going on. As a result of some programs being more costly than others and if a programs fails there always remains the consequences of who will pay those pays.
Another drawback is Aid literature is often indecisive, inaccurate, and more complicated. Even if you had resources, design and implementation is between 4-6 months.
What incentives/advantages for those well equipped in the field?
The advantage of being able to spend time in a given place is the ability to spend time in the field able to spend a lot of time in the area you are interested in.
Being able to develop relationships and really gain an understanding of the people, the place, and the history.
The proposal for scholars is to be able to try 5 or 6 micro experiments in order to determine where to spend time. Whether, to spend time answering big questions or small questions given all the challenges faced in the field.