TOKTEN Comparative Advantage
While UNDP sponsorship encourages consultants to volunteer their services, the strength of the programme lies in the strong commitment of the TOKTEN consultants to the development of their country of origin and their high motivation to serve their homelands.
Affinity and Independence
Besides having wide international experience, TOKTEN consultants have the advantage of speaking the local language and sharing many of the cultural values of the people with whom they work.
Shared language and traditions also increase local people’s trust and make for a greater willingness on their part to accept constructive criticism.
Another advantage of the programme is that TOKTEN consultants are completely free to express their opinions; they have jobs in their country of domicile and volunteer their time. This independence and objectivity is reflected in their final reports, which are not tailored to flatter their client and often have significant impact.
The program is very cost-effective for the "employer" because it offers high-quality professionals who volunteer their services, waiving the normally high fees of international technical experts. In comparison, hiring a foreigner of the same standard (but usually without knowledge of the country) usually involves significant fees based upon man-day rates in addition to the airfare, and daily subsistence allowance.
In summary, TOKTEN is a win-win programme:
Host institutions benefit from the expertise contributed by TOKTEN volunteers at low or no cost for them, and speed implementation,
consultants derive satisfaction of knowing they have played a part in the development of their countries,
and countries benefit because each TOKTEN assignment counters the effects of the brain drain