​Rethinking Development: An Impact-Based Approach

AKU-VIP conducted a workshop around the importance of using impact-based approaches in tackling issues in international development. Facilitated by Amirali Parpia, Manager of Multilateral and Bilateral Relations for Pakistan and Afghanistan from the Aga Khan University, and former IIP intern, Aqeela Somani, Chief Operating Officer from Evrlinx Technologies Inc., 20 of our interns had the opportunity to hone their critical thinking and problem-solving skills.​

Using methodological tools such as Problem Trees and the Logical Framework Analysis, interns gained better questioning abilities in project planning, management, and evaluation for large-scale development issues. Through the use of collaborative applications like Mural and Slido, speakers encouraged interns to apply such tools in case studies they provided. Interns were encouraged to look at the bigger picture and asking questions like: ‘So what?’ and ‘Why are we doing what we’re doing?’. Interns virtually worked in different groups and presented their case studies. They unpacked elements such as root causes of issues and consequences of developmental action.

This hands-on workshop was favorably received as participants engaged in practicing critical thinking and developed insight into impact-based approaches. They were able to see how such approaches could be used for their own internship projects, beyond the realm of international development. One of our interns, Kaila greatly benefited from the session, seeing how problem trees and logical framework analysis could be used as potential tools for solving issues of climate change. Interns mentioned how they appreciated the opportunity to learn how to unpack issues, identifying root causes and symptoms, and then developing solutions through an impact-based approach. They learned how to think about problems from a multidimensional perspective, and the importance of including often marginalized voices in dialogues of international development. The only critique interns had was that there was not enough time to share the results of their work together.

The speaker series is a monthly event hosted by the Virtual Internship Programme and is part of the Professional Development component of the VIP that allows interns to learn and practice new skills, meet and network with AKU and AKDN colleagues, and to learn more about the Network and its institutions. 

This year’s last speaker series will be held on Tuesday, December 8th and will host Dr. Tashmin Khamis and a group of workshop facilitators from AKU’s Network of Teaching and Learning. They will hold an interactive workshop to explore virtual facilitation tools and techniques interns can use to collaborate and build their facilitation skills to lead future virtual engagements.