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Our approach


The Foundation for Development is a non-profit organisation with a distinctive methodology, of which it is proud. While acknowledging the sustainable approach to development embodied in the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, we believe in free markets, free movement of capital and a property-owning democracy in which transactions are ruled by law. The Sustainable Development Goals themselves are only goals; they are not methods. Those goals must be pursued through the lens of a rigorous, evidence-based development economics in order to be effective in changing societies and quality of life so that countries with critical political instability or otherwise unable to look after the interests of their populations evolve to meet modern standards.

This is constant hard work. Effective development is an up-hill battle against vested interests. Done badly, development work merely perpetuates anti-competitive political and commercial norms in a developing society, creating a short-term illusion of growth but in fact causing further stagnation. Conventional development, where it shores up an otherwise unsustainable political status quo, may be positively harmful, driving conflict when the development funds are subsequently reduced.

All development work must begin with a comprehensive and cold analysis of the contemporary political and economic conditions in the country, and decisions must be made about the extent to which existing structures will be supported and transformed, or whether they need reworking. Then a plan must be made for how to disburse funds, how much to micromanage their expenditure, and what benchmarks to use to incentivise the right sort of political and commercial transformations. 


We aim to assess development tools in terms of value for money spent by distributor countries, whether funded bilaterally or multilaterally. We persist in measuring relative efficiency of investment techniques, including constantly questioning the efficiency of working through foundations such as our own. If we cannot prove that we add something to a development project justifying a donor's contribution to us, then we ought not to be in the project. In this context we have pioneered some of the highest reporting standards for assessing the work of the NGO and development sectors when funded by state and, in particular, multi-state parties.

One of our central roles is the independent assessment of current development programmes.

 We will bring professional standards of accountancy, legal review, forensic accounting services where that may be necessary, and cost-benefit evaluation to existing projects. We can recommend restructuring, continuation, termination or Human Resources reconfiguration. We are pleased to serve as the management consultants of development projects.

We understand donors' needs, requirements, domestic constraints and red lines. We are implacably hostile to corruption in the context of development. We understand the complexity of using donor funds through the bewildering array of multilateral mechanisms available. We have experience of the international development banks, multi-donor trust funds, the UN development system and regional international aid institutions. There is little we have not seen in the way of unsatisfactory development cooperation. We are content to provide recommendations upon the continuation of multilateral contributions; the politics of restructuring them; or the conversion to bilateral or other donor mechanisms.

We are here to serve.

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Working with the land
Working with natural resources
Working with people

Case studies

We are proud of the work we undertake in conjunction with the countries and territories within which we operate. In all cases we operate with the knowledge and cooperation of the state in which development work is being undertaken. Our emphasis is upon achieving results in client states. This means that we have to take a view, in conjunction with our funders, about how best to work with our client states to achieve goals common to both.


Because we often recommend structural changes to development funding models or programmes in the course of our work; and we appreciate and acknowledge the political side-effects of any recommendations we may make, we stay constantly in contact with both client state governments, project funders and any international organisations involved, particularly so as to ensure the efficiency and productivity of the latter.

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Matthew Parish

Executive Chairman

Tel: +44 (or 0) 44 20 70 97 13 15

Fax: +44 (or 0) 44 20 30 02 73 02

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