Blocked learning in development aid? Reporting success rather than failure in Andhra Pradesh, India


  • Moeko Saito-Jensen
  • Maya Pasgaard


Monitoring and Evaluation, Knowledge management, Organizational learning, Development, World Bank, Forestry


This article aims to understand why development organizations tend to report project success rather than failure which blocks learning from project problems. Drawing on the case of a World Bank forestry project in Andhra Pradesh, India, the article analyses different interlinked sites of project learning activities facilitated by monitoring & evaluation, and investigates the way in which project information is used for project reporting. The results point to multi-layered blockages to project learning from problems. These include formats of indicators and project visits; the criteria used for project fund disbursement and staff career promotion within recipient governments and development organizations; and asymmetrical power relations, collusion and collaboration among project actors. The article calls for a critical need to restructure the existing organizational incentive structures within recipient governments and development organizations to cultivate a culture of learning from problems.