2019 International Development Studio

10 07 2019

To keep the tradition alive, below are a few photos from the final student presentations in the 2019 International Development Planning Studio. This year, the proposals focused on projects in Nigeria, Uganda, Malawi, Tanzania, Indonesia, and Iran. The titles of the projects were as follows:

  • Reducing Food Insecurity in Yobe, Adawama, and Borno, Nigeria (Steven Black)
  • Ensuring Energy Accessibility in Rural Uganda (Barrett Cosgrove)
  • Increasing Rural and Semi-rural Electrification Rates In Lilongwe District, Malawi with Microgrids (Kia Lua)
  • Dar es Salaam Urban Planning Incubation Lab (Brandon McCord)
  • Decreasing Diarrheal Disease by Improving Water Safety (Kayla Septer)
  • Increasing Educational Attainment of Adolescent Girls in Central Tanzania through Menstrual Hygiene Management (Kelly Summers)
  • The Pollution Problem: A Collaborative Approach to Pollution in the Caspian (Neeki Zamanali)

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I’d like to thank Dr. Sophie Wenzel, Dr. Rebecca Powell Doherty, Prof. A. Ozzie Abaye, John J. Lipsey, II, Dr. Kerry Redican, Dr. Larry Vaughan Jim Foreman, Daniel Sumner, and Dr. Van Crowder for serving on the proposal review panel and/or for sharing their expertise with the students during the semester.





UAP 5524 – International Development

22 08 2016

This semester, Bill Anderson will be teaching UAP 5524 International Development, which will replace UAP 5764G International Development Policy and Planning as the core class for the Graduate Certificate in Global Planning and International Development Studies.

The syllabus for the class can be accessed here.

UAP 5524 Course Description

Concepts and practices in the field of international development have changed dramatically over the past few decades and even the past few years. This course is designed to introduce students to the main theories, approaches, and practices in international development planning as implemented by leading actors today.

This interdisciplinary course examines the historical and contemporary practice of international development planning, especially at the strategic versus the project level. Students will consider issues and challenges facing low-income states, societies, and communities and will examine a range of different and often competing approaches to development.

Through lectures, readings, videos, discussions, written assignments, and group tasks, the course will explore international development from a range of different perspectives.

In addition to review and discussion of these topics, students will develop and practice skills in planning through the preparation of a strategic plan for a developing country in a major sector or sub sector.  During the class, students will work on, discuss with each other, present, and critique different elements of their strategic plans, which will consist of several components prepared in a series of written assignments, revised, and then knitted together in a comprehensive plan.  To complement the theoretical discussions, several experienced international development practitioners and academics will participate as guest lecturers.





2015 ID Studio Presentations

6 05 2015

This year, 13 students took part in my International Development Planning Studio and developed 13 high-quality project proposals. The studio was supported a range of international development experts at Virginia Tech, who worked closely with the students to challenge and refine their ideas and help them develop the wide-range of skills needed to create an international development project proposal. I’d especially like to thank Bill Anderson, John BrowderEmily Van Houweling, Susan Marmagas, Kurt Richter, Kerry Redican, Keith MooreJames ForemanSophie Wenzel, and Shantal Hover for the expertise they brought to the studio.

18I have listed below the titles of the student proposals to provide an indication of the range of subjects that the students explored this semester.

  • Increasing Livelihood Opportunities and Productivity for Tuvalu’s Outer Islanders
  • Foundation of a Sanitary Pads Manufacturer in Makoko, Nigeria
  • The DTaP Project: Minimizing the incidence of Bordetella pertussis in Sokoto, Nigeria, through a vaccination and infectious disease education intervention
  • Addressing the High Incidence and Case-Fatality of Human Rabies in the Guntur District of Andhra Pradesh, India
  • Safe and Affordable Drinking Water in Santa María del Carbón, Honduras
  • Statelessness: Improving access to citizenship for stateless Dominicans of Haitian descent living in the Dominican Republic
  • Veron Mobile Clinic Project, Veron, Dominican Republic
  • Development Proposal to Reduce Iodine Deficiency in Nampula Province, Mozambique
  • HIV Prevention among Women in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
  • Proposal for Addressing Poverty in the Department of Alta Verapaz, Guatemala
  • Scaling up sanitation demand in iganga district: A proposal for improved sanitation and hygiene
  • Improving the Access and Quality of Education in rural areas of China
  • Defensive Driver Education Program to Reduce Road Deaths in Georgetown, Guyana

The images below were taken during the last two studios when the students formally presented and defended their proposals to a panel of international development experts.

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Studio Reading Exercise

29 01 2015

For my studio today, I challenged the students to prepare a review of 11 international development-related reports and papers (listed below). The combination of these documents led to some interesting discussions about the purpose of development assistance (from public, non-governmental, and private entities) and the emerging trends that are occurring within the sector. In the list below, I have included some of the questions the students raised after reviewing each reading. Please feel free to respond to any of these questions if you have an interest in this subject matter.

Studio Reading Exercise

1. World Bank (2015) World Development Report: Mind, Society, and Behavior.

  • What areas of international development do think stand to benefit from a greater consideration of psychological and social behavioral drivers?
  • Do you think development efforts focusing on human behavior and decision making will be more effective at a global, national, community, or person-to-person scale?

2. World Bank (2014) World Development Report: Risk and Opportunity.

  • Would the creation of a transnational risk board be more effective at the international or regional level?

3. Oxfam (2011) The Politics of Partnership: How donors manage risk while letting recipients lead their own development.

  • How feasible are partnerships involving the management of risk? Could they end up doing more harm than good?

4. Brinkerhoff, D. W. (2010) Developing Capacity in Fragile States.

  • With limited resources, is it possible to balance short term stability with long term development in a fragile state?
  • In fragile states with pressure to provide a quick response, how can interventions reach people without undermining the government?

5. Global Health Strategies initiatives (GHSi) (2012) How the BRICS are reshaping global health and development.

  • Although this paper focused on health related issues, the proposal to create a “multilateral bank that would be exclusively funded by developing nations and finance projects in those countries” was mentioned. This proposal has been explored further since this paper was published, and it has been said that the BRICS bank could rival the World Bank. What types of impacts could a BRICS bank have?

6. Kharas, H. and Rogerson, A. (2012) Horizon 2025. Creative destruction in the aid industry.

  • If you were directing an aid agency, what strategies would you use to remain nimble/adaptable? How would you monitor your relevance or vulnerability as global needs and the aid landscape changes over time? What are the benchmarks or red flags that might convey your relevance or stagnancy as an institution?
  • This paper is based on finance driving and shaping international development. To what extent do you agree that this is true?

7. European Commission (2011) Aid Effectiveness 2011. Progress in Implementing the Paris Declaration.

  • What are the key challenges to delivering effective aid? How might these challenges be met to improve aid effectiveness?
  • How would the design of national development strategies for aid effectiveness affect other development objectives and goals?

8. OECD (2014) Making Development Co-operation More Effective – 2014 Progress Report

  • Different countries have different cultures and values. Thus, different priorities can be set concerning development co-operation principles. How can we approach these differences constructively in the monitoring process?
  • The Busan Partnership Agreement is a voluntary commitment. Would a more compulsory agreement be a more effective way to meet the specified targets?

9. Zimmermann, F. and Smith, K. (2011) More Actors, More Money, More Ideas for International Development Co‐operation.

  • How can we prevent aid fragmentation between DAC and non-DAC aid recipients?

10. USAID (2013) USAID’S Legacy in Agricultural Development: 50 Years of Progress.

  • In addition to measuring income and higher productivity, how else could we assess the long-term effectiveness of agriculture development? 

11. USAID (2014) 50 Years of Global Health: Saving Lives and Building Futures.

  • What are some of the failures in international development? Do you think the changes are as positive as those documents in the report?




Spring 2015 – International Development Planning Studio

22 11 2014

UAP 5764
Instructor: Ralph P. Hall
Meets: Wednesday, 1:25pm to 4:00pm
Location: Architecture Annex 111

Studio Overview

Concepts and practices in the field of international development have changed dramatically over the past few decades. This studio course is designed to prepare students with the most current approaches to the practice of international development as implemented by leading actors today. Students will learn the traditional project planning tools used by multilateral and financial institutions as well as alternative approaches/tools. They will be equipped with a variety of skills necessary for working on development projects in the real world.

Throughout the studio, elements of project development, planning, management, implementation, and monitoring and evaluation will be covered from the perspective of the prevalent development sectors. Emphasis will be placed on synthesizing and practicing skills through the preparation of a proposal for an international development project/program. During the studio, students will work on, present, and critique different elements of their project proposals. To complement the theoretical discussions, several studios will be led by experienced practitioners and academics in the field of international development.

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Studio Objectives

Upon completion of the studio, students will be able to:

  1. develop a complete proposal for an international development project/program – which will include a problem analysis, a needs assessment/stakeholder analysis, a gender analysis/discussion, a clear set of goals/objectives (supported by a logframe analysis), an assessment of resources and organizational ability, a proposed work plan and timeframe, a budget, a monitoring and evaluation plan, and a plan for the successful implementation of the project; and
  2. undertake a financial analysis of a proposed development project.




Spring 2014 Courses

22 10 2013

With Spring 2014 preregistration starting today, I wanted to post an update on the two courses I will be offering next semester.

UAP 5324 / BSE 4394: Water Supply and Sanitation in Developing Countries

IMG_0751In this course, we will examine the planning process for the provision of water supply and sanitation (W&S) services in developing countries. The course is structured to provide both an engineering and policy perspective on the subject. Thus, the readings, class discussions, and assignments will require students to think as both an engineer and planner/analyst. The course will begin with a review of the state of water and sanitation services in different parts of the world and will raise the question of what constitutes “access” to water. Following this introduction, we will study the design of important W&S technologies. We will then examine the broader environmental and public health considerations in water W&S planning. Armed with an understanding of critical W&S issues and technologies, in the final section of the course we will examine key ideas/topics such as multiple-use water services (MUS), demand-oriented planning, service pricing, decentralization vs. centralization of W&S services, community participation in the planning process, and post-construction support.

Note: I plan to use a Google Glass and Google+ platform to support this course and transform the way in which the material is delivered.

Prerequisites: None (The CEE3104 prerequisite no longer applies. Students in BSE and Engineering, please “force add” the course on the first day of the class if you are unable to preregister.)

When: Tuesdays, 12:30pm to 3:15pm

Where: Wallace 407

UAP 5764: International Development Planning Studio

Concepts and practices in the field of international development have changed dramatically over the past few decades and even the past few years. This studio course is designed to prepare students with the most current approaches to the practice of international development as implemented by leading actors today. Students will learn the traditional project planning tools used by multi-lateral and financial institutions as well as alternative processes. They will be equipped with a variety of skills necessary for working on development projects in the real world.

Throughout the studio, elements of project development, planning, management, implementation, and monitoring and evaluation will be covered from the perspective of the prevalent development sectors. Emphasis will be placed on synthesizing and practicing skills through the preparation of a proposal for an international development project/program. During the studio, students will work on, present, and critique different elements of their project proposals. To complement the theoretical discussions, several studios will be led by experienced practitioners and academics in the field of international development.

Prerequisites: UAP 5764G International Development Policy and Planning

When: Thursdays, 12:30pm to 3:15pm

Where: Architecture Annex 200

The slideshow below shows the studio cohorts for 2012 and 2013. This studio is an intensive experience, but we do have some fun along the way.

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International Development Planning Studio

4 01 2013

UAP 5764, 2013 Spring Semester
Instructor: Dr. Ralph Hall
Meets: Thursdays 12:30pm to 3:15pm
Location: Architecture Annex 111

Studio Overview

Concepts and practices in the field of international development have changed dramatically over the past few decades and even the past few years. This studio course is designed to prepare students with the most current approaches to the practice of international development as implemented by leading actors today. Students will learn the traditional project planning tools used by multi-lateral and financial institutions as well as alternative processes. They will be equipped with a variety of skills necessary for working on development projects in the real world.

Throughout the studio, elements of project development, planning, management, implementation, and monitoring and evaluation will be covered from the perspective of the prevalent development sectors. Emphasis will be placed on synthesizing and practicing skills through the preparation of a proposal for an international development project/program. During the studio, students will work on, present, and critique different elements of their project proposals. To complement the theoretical discussions, several studios will be led by experienced practitioners and academics in the field of international development.

Studio Objectives

Upon completion of the studio, students will be able to:

  1. develop a complete proposal for an international development project/program – which will include a problem analysis, a needs assessment/stakeholder analysis, a gender analysis/discussion, a clear set of goals/objectives (supported by a logframe analysis), an assessment of resources and organizational ability, a proposed work plan and timeframe, a budget, a monitoring and evaluation plan, and a plan for the successful implementation of the project; and
  2. undertake a financial analysis of a proposed development project.

Syllabus