How to Determine the Excellence of Development Models

Development practitioners use various interventions or models to provide services to beneficiaries. For example, the ultra-poor graduation model is used to help people come out of extreme poverty.

There are numerous models used by development practitioners and each one is different from the other. All these models have different goals and are designed for a specific target group. For example, a reintegration model is used for returnees and victims of human trafficking to help them get into society and find work suitable for their skills and experiences.

These models are evaluated by development practitioners using some salient features. Some general characteristics are discussed below:

Photo: A woman rearing cattle in rural Bangladesh

Appropriate targeting of beneficiaries

Appropriate targeting is a prerequisite of a service delivery model. There should be a specific participant selection process. The model should clearly define the target group and how they will be identified. There should be a verification process to ensure that the right people are selected following the prescribed method.

Segmentation within the target groups

An appropriate model must have the mechanism to segment its target groups based on vulnerability and need analysis. Each segment can be separated by its different vulnerabilities and needs. It is important to segment the target groups to address individual needs with appropriate solutions. For example, some people may require training and capacity development support; others may require a loan. Someone may require coaching and counselling for livelihood restoration.

Options for beneficiaries

Best models offer multiple solutions to address a problem. For example, people who are in extreme poverty can be targeted for economic development, and they will get the chance to make their own choices. The role of the service provider is to support the participant with the necessary information, analysis, and guidance to help the individual make the best choice. For example, you can offer different economic activities based on the individual’s profile analysis, like farming, small business, or job opportunities for the people in poverty. Even within this category, there might be multiple options, like cattle rearing, poultry, crop cultivations, etc., under the farming category.


All interventions include follow-up mechanisms. When a participant chooses an intervention, they enrol in it and enter the pathway of progression. All models have a specific set of sequenced and time-bound interventions. Through these activities, participants achieve their desired goals, including orientation, training, support, managing a loan, coaching, follow-up, etc.

Activities to address clients’ need

When participants find useful activities to address their needs, publicizing these service models is no longer necessary. If the model has relevant activities to address a participant’s needs, they will express a strong willingness to enrol in the model. However, it is very important to consider during the design phase whether the proposed activities are realistic to address the needs of the targeted participants.

Measurable indicators are a must

To make sure the proposed model is efficient and effective, it should have measuring indicators, which help both the participants and professionals understand the model’s status at any phase. These should include both economic and social indicators, for example, income source, an increase of income or asset value, savings, freedom in decision-making, child education, etc.

Well-defined exit strategy

Each model must have a well-defined exit strategy. When the time-bound interventions come to an end, participants should know ways to continue their development and sustain their progress.

Research work and data-driven analysis are essential for measuring the success and limitations of a model. Without the research evidence, the model cannot be validated, and therefore it would be unwise to recommend it to others as a solution. If the target group finds it helpful and many people can overcome their vulnerabilities successfully utilizing the limited resources through the proposed model, we can claim the model to be efficient. If the proposed model can bring the desired changes in the lives of its participants, then only can we say it is an effective solution.


Tausif Ahmed Qurashi is Programme Manager, BRAC Migration Programme. Write to him at or

Photo by Balaram Mahalder, published under the licence CC BY-SA 3.0