1.3.3 Making a case
In this public arena, in interventions that involve different people and organisations with different interests and agendas, one of the most interesting roles of the development manager is that of advocate, “speaking out against injustice and influencing decision makers to change policies that cause inequality and suffering” (World Vision International, 2006). Or, more generally, in this context the development manager is likely to be required to make a case for or against a particular development. Making a case brings a range of skills into play: investigation, evaluation, relationship-building, negotiation, presentation skills. They all require the capacity to make good judgments, about facts, about issues, and about people. And they all need to be brought to bear on the process of persuading people, particularly decision-makers, that a development should be steered in a particular direction.
Success in this process of persuasion is one of the most exhilarating aspects of development management.
Given the differences – conflicts even – of interests, values and agendas that characterise development, what gives anyone the right to advocate a particular course of action?