It has been said that development is about delivery: the will and ability to deliver interventions to very poor people in order to improve their lives. The development “space” is filled with great ideas and innovative solutions, from technological interventions to new policy initiatives. But the effects of these potentially game-changing ideas are severely mitigated if they do not actually get to the people they are intended to benefit. We think of this challenge in terms of “reach.” Solutions can only solve problems if they reach those who need them most.
Those who live at the base of the pyramid – the poorest of the poor – are also the hardest to reach.Many are homeless or live far in the countryside; they might lack formal identification; or they are socially marginalized because of their ethnicity or gender. As Anthony Lake of UNICEF puts it: “Disaggregate the data and we find that our statistical national successes are masking moral and practical failures. People are left behind simply because they live in rural communities or urban slums, in conflict zones, as part of indigenous groups, with disabilities or because they are girls.”
The Reach Project focuses on the delivery of development interventions to those who need them most. We are a research initiative based in the Munk School of Global Affairs at the University of Toronto. Our team is led by Joseph Wong and supported by the Mastercard Center for Inclusive Growth. The Reach Project team is composed of researchers from across the University of Toronto. Together, we examine the delivery of social services to those who are hardest to reach.
Joseph Wong is the Ralph and Roz Halbert Professor of Innovation at the Munk School of Global Affairs, Professor of Political Science, and Canada Research Chair in Health, Democracy and Development. He was the Director of the Asian Institute at the Munk School from 2005 to 2014. Wong is the author of many academic articles and several books, including Healthy Democracies: Welfare Politics In Taiwan and South Korea and Betting on Biotech: Innovation and the Limits of Asia’s Developmental State, both published by Cornell University Press. He is the co-editor, with Edward Friedman, of Political Transitions in Dominant Party Systems: Learning to Lose, published by Routledge, and Wong recently co-edited with Dilip Soman and Janice Stein Innovating for the Global South with the University of Toronto Press. Wong’s articles have appeared in journals such as Perspectives on Politics, Comparative Political Studies, Politics and Society, Governance, among many others. Professor Wong has been a visiting scholar at institutions in the US (Harvard), Taiwan, Korea, and the UK (Oxford); has worked extensively with the World Bank and the UN; and has advised governments on matters of public policy in Asia, Africa, the Americas, and Europe. Wong’s current research focuses on poverty and innovation. He is also working with Professor Dan Slater (Chicago) on a book about Asia’s development and democracy, currently under contract with Princeton University Press. Professor Wong teaches courses in the department of Political Science, the Munk One program and the Munk School of Global Affairs. Wong was educated at McGill and the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Kirstyn Koswin is the Research Officer for the Reach Project. In addition to serving as a lead researcher, Kirstyn coordinates teams of student researchers as they conduct desk and field research on the provision of social services to those who are hardest to reach. She holds a Master of Global Afffairs from the Munk School of Global Affairs, University of Toronto and a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) from McGill University. She has worked in business development and project management in the energy sector, serving clients in developed, developing, and post-conflict countries. She has also spent time living in Tunisia, working in the Political Section at Canada’s Embassy to Libya. Kirstyn is particularly interested in the provision of services to populations affected by conflict.