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Red and Green Zones of Project Implementation

Many technical assistance projects start in what we call "red zones." These are project implementation areas where the acceptance of an intervention by counterparts is low and where the complexity of the environment is high.

The graph below shows the trajectories of four technical assistance interventions:

Red zones and green zones of project implementation

An intervention can be the drafting of a new law (A), building a new school (B), setting up an educational program to introduce Western management techniques (C) or WTO standards (D).

As with all change management programs, resistance plays an important role in the acceptance of new ideas, concepts, etc. Although we often assume that Western approaches make sense and are welcomed, we do see other projects fail in complex technical assistance areas when management is not aware of red zone areas and the importance of change management approaches.

Mapping your interventions with a simple tool like our matrix gives you a feel of where you stand with your program and how much time it may take to accomplish your goals.

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An interesting online library with useful management and HR resources for development workers is provided by People In Aid. The not-for-profit was established by agencies in the humanitarian and development sector in 1995 and provides its members HR and management support services .

The organization is perhaps best known for its "People In Aid Code of Good Practice" in the management and support of aid personnel.