Front Cover
 RRA notes
 Table of Contents
 Local level adaptive planning:...
 Confessions of a reconstructed...
 Reorienting land use planning:...
 Planning for real: the approach...
 Information for food security planning:...
 ACORD's experience in local planning...
 DELTA and village level planning...
 Adaptive local planning: Institutional...
 The role of developed country institutions:...
 What happened to participatory...
 Local level adaptive planning:...
 Lessons from the Project Centre...
 RRA for local government planning...
 NGOs as brokers in agricultural...
 Planning rural development in local...
 What is different about managing...
 List of participants at local level...
 Contents of backcopies of...

Title: RRA notes
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00089570/00009
 Material Information
Title: RRA notes
Series Title: RRA notes.
Alternate Title: Rapid rural appraisal notes
Proceedings of RRA Review Workshop, Sussex
Proceedings of the Local Level Adaptive Planning Workshop, London
Participatory methods for learning and analysis
Physical Description: v. : ill. ; 30 cm.
Language: English
Creator: International Institute for Environment and Development -- Sustainable Agriculture Programme
Publisher: IIED, Sustainable Agriculture Programme
Place of Publication: London
Publication Date: May 1991
Frequency: irregular
completely irregular
Subject: Sustainable agriculture -- Periodicals -- Developing countries   ( lcsh )
Sustainable agriculture -- Methodology -- Periodicals   ( lcsh )
Genre: periodical   ( marcgt )
Dates or Sequential Designation: No. 1-
General Note: Title from cover.
General Note: Some issues have individual titles.
General Note: Latest issue consulted: No. 19, published in 1994.
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00089570
Volume ID: VID00009
Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: oclc - 24385692
lccn - sn 92015492
 Related Items
Succeeded by: PLA notes

Table of Contents
    Front Cover
        Front Cover 1
        Front Cover 2
    RRA notes
        Page 1
    Table of Contents
        Page 2
        Page 3
        Page 4
    Local level adaptive planning: Looking to the future
        Page 5
        Page 6
        Page 7
        Page 8
        Page 9
        Page 10
        Page 11
        Page 12
        Page 13
        Page 14
        Page 15
        Page 16
        Page 17
        Page 18
        Page 19
        Page 20
        Page 21
    Confessions of a reconstructed planner
        Page 22
        Page 23
        Page 24
    Reorienting land use planning: Towards a community participatory approach
        Page 25
        Page 26
        Page 27
        Page 28
    Planning for real: the approach of the neighbourhood initiatives foundation in the UK
        Page 29
        Page 30
    Information for food security planning: Asking local people. Case studies from Sudan and Mali
        Page 31
        Page 32
    ACORD's experience in local planning in Mali and Burkina Faso
        Page 33
        Page 34
        Page 35
        Page 36
        Page 37
        Page 38
        Page 39
        Page 40
        Page 41
    DELTA and village level planning in Sierra Leone: Possibilities and pitfalls
        Page 42
        Page 43
        Page 44
    Adaptive local planning: Institutional issues
        Page 45
        Page 46
        Page 47
    The role of developed country institutions: Is there a meeting point between the top-down and bottom-up?
        Page 48
        Page 49
    What happened to participatory planning in Kenya's arid and semi-arid lands?
        Page 50
        Page 51
        Page 52
        Page 53
        Page 54
        Page 55
        Page 56
        Page 57
    Local level adaptive planning: Winners and losers in Machakos district, Kenya
        Page 58
        Page 59
        Page 60
    Lessons from the Project Centre d'Alevinage Lagdo in North Cameroon
        Page 61
        Page 62
    RRA for local government planning in northern Nigeria
        Page 63
        Page 64
        Page 65
        Page 66
        Page 67
        Page 68
        Page 69
    NGOs as brokers in agricultural R&E planning
        Page 70
    Planning rural development in local organisations in the Andes: What role for regional and national scaling up?
        Page 71
        Page 72
        Page 73
        Page 74
    What is different about managing non-government organisations (NGOs) involved in third world development
        Page 75
        Page 76
        Page 77
        Page 78
        Page 79
        Page 80
        Page 81
    List of participants at local level adaptive planning workshop
        Page 82
        Page 83
    Contents of backcopies of RRA notes
        Page 84
        Page 85
        Page 86
Full Text

22-, 0oq

RRA Notes

Number 11

Proceedings of the Local Level
Adaptive Planning Workshop,

Part A: Overview
Part B: Individual Papers

MAY 1991



The principal aim of this series is to share current experiences
and methods among practitioners of RRA throughout the world. The
Sustainable Agriculture Programme of IIED publishes these Notes
containing articles on any topic related to Rapid Rural
Appraisal. The name of RRA encompasses a wide range of
approaches, and there are strong conceptual and methodological
similarities between Action Research, Participatory Rural
Appraisal (PRA), Participatory Learning Methods (PALM),
Agroecosystem Analysis (AEA), Farming Systems Research, Rapid
Assessment Procedures (RAP), Participatory Action Research, Rapid
Rural Systems Analysis (RRSA) and many others.

The series is to be kept informal. This is intentional, so as
to avoid the commonly encountered delays between practice and the
sharing of knowledge through publication. We would thus like to
hear of recent experiences and current thinking. In particular,
we are seeking short and honest accounts of experiences in the
field or workshops. What worked and what did not; dilemmas and
great successes. In addition, please send details of any
training manuals, papers, reports or articles. We will list
these under an occasional recent publications section.

RRA Notes is currently funded by the Swedish International
Development Authority and the Ford Foundation.

Please send materials or correspondence to:

RRA Notes
Sustainable Agriculture Programme
International Institute for Environment and Development
3 Endsleigh Street, London WC1H ODD
United Kingdom

Tel : 071 388 2117
Telex : 261681 EASCAN G
Fax : 071 388 2826




A. Summary of Workshop Presentations and Discussions

Local Level Adaptive Planning: Looking to the Future
Jules Pretty and Ian Scoones ....p5

B. Abstracts and Summaries of Individual Papers

A Critique of Landuse Planning

1. Confessions of a Reconstructed Planner
Barry Dalal-Clayton ...p22

2. Reorienting Land Use Planning: Towards a
Community Participatory Approach
Adrian Wood ...p25

Applications of Participatory Planning Approaches

3. Planning for Real: The Approach of the Neighbourhood
Initiatives Foundation in the U K
Tony Gibson ...p29

4. Information for Food Security Planning: Asking Local
People. Case Studies from Sudan and Mali
Margie Buchanan-Smith & Susanna Davies ...p31

5. ACORD's experience in Local Planning in Mali and Burkina
Chris Roche ...p33

6. DELTA and Village Level Planning in Sierra Leone:
Possibilities and Pitfalls
Melissa Leach ...p42

Institutionalising Local Level Planning

7. Adaptive Local Planning: Institutional Issues
Donald Curtis ...p45

8. The Role of Developed Country Institutions: Is There a
Meeting Point Between the Top-down and Bottom-up?
Robin Grimble ...p48

9. What Happened to Participatory Planning in Kenya's
Arid and Semi-Arid Lands?
Martin E Adams ...p50

10. Local Level Adaptive Planning: Winners and Losers in
Machakos District, Kenya
Mary Tiffin ...p58

11. Lessons from the Project Centre D'Alevinage Ladgo
in North Cameroon
Henri Roggeri ...p61

12. RRA for Local Government Planning in Northern Nigeria
Robert Leurs, Mal. B. Jumare,
A. Andeley & S. Ogede ...p63

Governments and NGOs Linkages

13. NGOs as Brokers in Agricultural R&E Planning
Kate Wellard ...p70

14. Planning Rural Development in Local Organisations in the
Andes: What Role for Regional and National Scaling Up?
Tony Bebbington ...p71

Organisational and Management Issues

15. What is Different About Managing Non-Government
Organizations (NGOs) Involved in Third World Development
Alan Fowler ...p75

C. List of Participants at Local Level Adaptive Planning
Workshop ...p82

D. Contents of Backcopies of RRA Notes 1-10


This Issue of RRA Notes is devoted to Local Level Adaptive
Planning, and represents a departure from the usual form of RRA
Notes. It reports the discussions and findings, together with 15
summary papers, of a workshop held in December 1990 in London and
organised by the Sustainable Agriculture Programme of IIED and
the Development Administration Group of the University of
Birmingham. The aim of the workshop was to take stock of current
experience in local level participatory planning approaches, to
reflect on how these relate to more conventional planning, and to
explore the implications for organisation, management and
institutionalisation of local level planning in different
settings. The principal findings and challenges for the future
as identified by participants are recorded in part A of this
issue. These resolved into six areas: the role of RRA in
adaptive planning; institutionalising adaptive planning; methods
and training issues; scaling-up and scaling-down; governments and
NGOs; and organisation and management.

Part B of this RRA Notes represents a selection of the
contributions made at the workshop. Some are in abstract form,
others have been extended to summary papers. For more
information on the specific cases, please contact the authors

We are very grateful to Martin Greeley, Susanna Davies and Robin
Grimble for providing commentary during the workshop so as to
establish the agenda for discussion sessions. Their comments are
not recorded, but have been incorporated along with those of
other participants in the overview. The Swedish International
Development Authority funded the workshop through a grant to the
Sustainable Agriculture Programme at IIED.

Jules N Pretty & Ian Scoones

Request for Readership Survey Forms

At the time of printing we have received about 120 returns of the
readership survey sent with Issue No. 10, for which we are
extremely grateful. There are many valuable comments and
suggestions, and we will report fully on these in a future issue.
Can we take this opportunity to remind anyone thinking of sending
in their yellow form, but who have not done so, that every
contribution is helpful and is certainly gratefully received. If
you do not have a copy and would like one, please make contact
with the Sustainable Agriculture Programme at IIED. Many thanks.



Jules N. Pretty and Ian Scoones
Sustainable Agriculture Programme
IIED, London

RRA and Adaptive Planning

There is some misunderstanding over what the term Rapid Rural
Appraisal means. It appears to imply lightning visits by
outsiders with no follow up. It appears to satisfy the need for
the quick answers required in the aid context. It can look like
a recipe, with simple and easy fixes. For these reasons
consultants are increasingly required to "use RRA" even when they
are not appraised of the essential set of attitudes associated
with the use of the methods. Yet without the appropriate
attitudes, skills and behaviour, the methods work badly or not at
all. And this means that the priorities and knowledge of the
poorest, disadvantaged and vulnerable remain unheard, even though
RRA was initially developed to offset rural development biases
against these groups.

The debate about adaptive planning relates historically to
debates in rural development over the role of decentralisation,
the need to take account of basic needs, the requirement of
integrated development with appropriate technologies. Current
concerns about economic liberalisation and reducing direct state
control over development are also relevant. However recent
concerns focus on the importance of participation in local
planning for sustainable development and the need to

institutionalise the attitudes and behaviour that lie behind the
RRA and PRA approach in the context of devolved, adaptive and
participatory approach to planning. Planning is often thought
to be synonymous with intervention, and the starting of
'projects', implying the involvement of outsiders and external
funding. The development aid business reinforces this with its
concentration on discrete project identification and funding.
This is a dependency that needs to be challenged and a wider,
more flexible, process-oriented approach to planning evolved.

Adaptive planning implies that:

o local people participate in agenda setting, resource
allocating and controlling processes;

o the acquisition of knowledge which occurs through an improved
compendium of planning tools;

o there is collaboration between disciplines and sectors in data
collection and analysis;

o information gathering systems and decision-making processes
are local people-centered, site specific and change according
to external circumstances;

o interests and activities of different formal and informal
institutions are coordinated;

o technology generation, adaptation and extension is

o for validation and corroboration, the information gathering,
recording, analysis and use is cyclical, with continual
analysis, reflection and action.

Institutionalising Adaptive Planning

The advantages of adaptive planning are most obvious when seen in
the context of the drawbacks of conventional practice. Standard
land use planning, for example, is flawed by many factors (see
Adrian Wood; Barry Dalal-Clayton; Margie Buchanan-Smith and
Susanna Davies; all this issue):

o it focuses on a narrow technical view, rather than
considering overlying social and economic complexities of
farming and livelihood systems;

o it is data and information hungry, with information needs
being partly defined by large quantities of money available
and partly by the apparent utility of sophisticated
technologies, such as satellite imagery. These measure too
few factors, become the domain of 'skilled' outsiders, claim
accuracy and are often not ground truthed;

o the results are nice maps or mesmerizing taxonomies that
gather dust on shelves or need to be translated into another
form before they can be used at the local level. In some
cases they are badly wrong: a satellite-based food security
survey of northern Mali suggested irrigation, diversified
cropping and credit for farmers in an area north of the 200mm
isohyet where farmers cultivate no cereals at all (Susanna
Davies, workshop).

o outsiders define local needs, and there is little use of
local expertise, knowledge and skills;

o techniques and innovations are developed on research
stations, and based on hypotheses of real situations;

o there is no capacity for adjustment or change once land use
capabilities, suitabilities or classifications are completed;

o there is no possibility for teasing out complex problems such
as vulnerability from the simple data collected.

The response to such shortcomings has been the realisation that
local involvement and multidisciplinary analysis are vital
ingredients in planning. But too often these end up as empty
slogans, as effective institutionalisation of alternative
planning mechanisms has not been assessed. The linkages between
local level and central planning bodies and between conventional
and alternative adaptive planning methods and techniques needs to
be considered.

The issue of participation of the community in the planning
process is an important goal for effective planning. Yet the two
terms, participation and community, are used in many different
ways. Local people, for example, may participate in the
information gathering, but still be excluded from decision
making. There is a tendency for those who use the term to adopt
the moral highground, implying that what they do is the best.
They give an "illusion of inclusion" (Susanna Davies, workshop),
implying that everyone is involved, that development will serve
everyone's needs. External solidarity, though, may mask internal
differentiation. And understanding internal differences is
crucial. Certain people know special things, for example the
success of male-managed riverine fodder crops in Mali can be
assessed by asking women about the degree to which children are
given "Kundou" drinks made from Panicum grasses (Chris Roche,
this issue); water transporters in drylands know where wild-food
gatherers are, and what they are collecting (Margie Buchanan-
Smith and Susanna Davies, this issue). Differentiated
livelihood strategies imply differentiated local knowledge
systems. This requires methodologies that are sufficiently
responsive to such complexity, that can accommodate an
understanding of agriculturalist-pastoralists' views,
interpretations of men and women, of the old and young, and in
turn reflect these in the responses made by development agents.

The final difficulty is with the term participation. It may be
a term used to accommodate a failed political process; politicians
may accept 'participation' and its associated rhetoric, but not
democracy, pluralism and accountability in planning. Effective
participation implies involvement not only in information
collection, but in analysis, decision-making and implementation -
implying the devolution of the power to decide. The political
context of attempts at institutionalising participatory planning
is thus critical. It must be asked: how democratic and
accountable are governments or NGOs promoting 'participatory

Two approaches are crucial to institutionalising adaptive
planning processes. These centre upon improving accountability
and increasing the number of stake-holders. It is generally felt
that financial accountability, in the form of successful cost-
recovery or cost-contribution, is a measure of the value that
people put on an intervention or change. Support at the local
level is seen as encouraging local autonomy and independence.
But this may depend on the degree to which these are revenue-
earning technologies are supported. Political accountability is
important too. An important question arises: are NGOs concerned
with accountability? Where there is economic and political
liberalisation, governments may be more concerned with
accountability? Who has a stake is also important. Local
people could have an increased stake if they are empowered to
make decisions; local governments could more effectively achieve
developmental goals; donors could see a more efficient use of
funds; but state-wide institutions, with competing interests, may
be threatened.

It is essential, therefore, to sensitise bureaucrats to be
adaptive planners. In some cases they have negative attitudes
towards villagers, they lack probing skills and have a poor
understanding of informal approaches to participatory data
gathering (Robert Leurs, this issue). They may lack local
credibility and transport, and may be restricted with whom they

can establish dialogue perhaps only through traditional
authorities. But most importantly they lack the political and
financial support to establish new ways of both gathering and
dealing with new and sometimes sensitive information. There is a
need to train planners in the use of local level information.
This will require examining potential linkages with the formal
government planning system, articulating local responses with
sectoral concerns of line ministries/agencies and integrating
high and low-tech, conventional and new approaches to planning
(Robin Grimble, workshop).

Support for change can come in several ways provision of
appropriate training (see next section), better dialogue with
NGOs and the creation of local pull on their services. In Kenya,
the Soil and Water Conservation Branch of the Ministry of
Agriculture has established participatory extension planning at
the catchment level not only are extension workers enthused,
but rural people from those catchments have become more vocal in
requesting support on their farms from the public service. More
people now have a stake in a process of negotiation in which they
may all benefit.

Is adaptive planning capable of revitalising the processes of
government? Flexible approaches prey on government's fear of
anarchy, but do provide some solutions to many of the problems
faced by ineffective centrally controlled planned development.
Adaptive planning offers the opportunity for local level
negotiation on the share of the planning gain, encouraging an
active bargaining process for external support. But expectations
may be biased towards simple service provision and the project
centred approach to development, where budgets must be spent on
essentially predetermined themes (agroforestry, soil
conservation, water development and the rest). For effective
institutionalisation, new organisational and management
structures for innovative planning will be required.

Methods and Training

There is an ever growing range of methods, techniques, tools and
instruments available to practitioners of RRA, PRA, adaptive
planning or related approaches. These have been employed for
data and information gathering, for animation, for conflict
resolution, for organisation, for joint analysis, for collective
planning and for local monitoring and evaluation. These methods
may be used in sequence, with one leading to another as part of
an evolving process of interactive planning (Robert Chambers,
workshop). They include:

o secondary data review
o direct observation, observation checklists
o semi-structured interviewing
o participant observation, including doing-it-yourself
o key informants
o group interviews
o review meetings and presentations
o focus groups
o listening surveys
o drama, theatre, puppets
o models
o participatory mapping
o seasonal calendars
o other diagrams pie diagrams, histograms, venn diagrams, daily
o transect walks
o ethnohistories and oral histories
o workshops and brainstorming sessions
o wealth ranking
o matrix ranking and scoring
o preference ranking
o time lines and chronologies of events
o stories and songs

o livelihood portraits and profiles
o identifying intriguing practices and beliefs
o aerial photographs
o rapid report writing
o team management and interactions
o mobility maps
o health mapping

A great deal is now known about the potential value of these
methods. In some contexts their use has long been proven to be
successful. One such success story is "Planning for Real" in the
UK (Tony Gibson, this issue). Less well understood or
institutionalized are the methods for training. Conventional
training or teaching does not necessarily imply learning, nor
learning to learn. There is a need for training styles and
programmes that are experiential and emphasise attitude forming.
The basic precept of such training implies practice of the
methods, reflection, and more practice, rather than teaching of
information. It is more than simple skills-training.

The experience of using them can promote understanding of the
underlying principles and lead to attitudinal change. An
important facet of these methods that can foster this process is
that they are neither value nor ideologically neutral. Evidence
suggests that, although theoretically many can be used simply for
data collecting, their use does actually provoke individual and
institutional change. It is not necessary to understand all the
principles underlying the methods before using them. The maxim
is 'do, learn, change attitude'. In some circumstances this may
be seen as a disadvantage or threat. However, there is no
necessity for the methods to be promoted as provokers of attitude
change. Training should thus be action based.

This has important implications for the site for training.
Hitherto conventional training and educational institutions, such
as agricultural universities, have largely failed to supply

technical graduates capable of understanding the complexities of
rural people's livelihoods. The maize agronomist, for example,
is not encouraged to think beyond maize which is simply a small
subset of any rural livelihood system. Such institutions could
be challenged by adopting some of these RRA and PRA philosophies.
Only with effective training throughout the educational system
can the appropriate attitudinal changes be enhanced; single one-
off training exercises will inevitably have a lesser impact if
the educational and professional culture then remains unaltered.
Most educational and learning innovation does not, however, occur
in core institutions, and progress is unlikely to be quick. The
style of training exercises required differs from conventional
teaching, with an emphasis on group work, experiential exercises
and real-world context rather than on fact acquisition. Although
there is a shortage of facilitative trainers, many of the
training exercises are modular, and can be tried by inexperienced
trainer. In all cases trainers learn with trainees.

There is enormous immobility in this field: a common response is
"give me a checklist and tell me how to do it" (Peter Oakley,
workshop). Experiential and interactive training means taking
personal risks which, in an unsupportive institutional context,
may be impossible to make. There is a need for a professional
transformation of the outsider's role. The outsider's involvement
should be seen as transient and s/he as a convenor, facilitator
and networker, rather than as a permanent instructor. The
outsider needs to learn to withdraw, to let local people engage
(for instance, in drawing maps of their local environment). The
expert should only be drawn in on local terms, with expert
assistance negotiated from below. This requires alternative
structures for planning that are not dominated by the planners or
sectoral concerns (Tony Gibson, this issue).

The major challenges for training are:

o review of successful learning and training approaches;

o documentation of outcomes and product of successful learning
and training approaches; how did people and institutions
benefit and change;

o convening of workshop or network of practitioners to share
training experiences;

o create demand for training of this sort better if demand-led
rather than pushed from outside;

o develop better methods for conducting training needs analyses
for different institutions;

o ensuring quality remains high during spread and replication -
can self-correction be promoted?

o who to train? Should the focus be on senior planning staff to
ensure the establishment of credible of alternative approaches,
or on enhancing the capacity of junior extension/community
workers in effective local planning capability?

Scaling Up Scaling Down

There are many local successes in community-based, participatory
and adaptive planning. But these remain local and tend not to
spread. A major challenge lies in widening the impact. This may
go beyond simply replicating 'successful projects' in different
areas, but towards strategic policy changes. Projects are
situated within wider policy frameworks and sustainable efforts
may be reliant on strategic policy changes. How then can local
level successes be used to generate the capacity for strategic or
regional change? A clear understanding of the principal
advantages and disadvantages of both scaling up and staying
scaled down is necessary.

At the local level, organizations can finely tune their
strategies. Locally based organizations are also good at having
an integrated view of problems, tend to have a power base with
local links and receive ready feedback. But their major
difficulties lie in commanding technical expertise, and that
diagnoses at local level cannot solve problems arising out of the
wider political context, such as product pricing and labour
markets (Tony Bebbington, this issue). Disaggregated local
institutions also find it difficult to influence state policies.

There are three approaches available for scaling up -
federations, coordinating networks and strategic change at the
centre. Smaller organizations can federate to produce larger
organizations, which can then have a regional lobbying role and
can express political concerns to state level. In Ecuador, CAAP
maintains close links to the local level, whilst coordinating
regional and national research, as well as engineering formal and
informal relationships with government departments (Tony
Bebbington, this issue). Moving up does not necessarily have to
imply institutional growth which can be a threat in itself.
But it may involve simply spreading good ideas (or avoiding the
spread of bad ones) through an area. Coordinating networks can
perform an efficient scaling up function, such as those at
department level in Bolivia (Tony Bebbington, this issue). A
major advantage to local institutions of these scaled up networks
or federations is that they present a united front to donor
organizations and governments. These create the opportunity for
more efficient and more effective disbursement of funds by
donors, with lower administrative costs. They have a greater
"absorptive capacity for dollars" (Martin Greeley, workshop). At
this level organizations with greater membership carry greater
political clout, can begin to influence state policy and are able
to draw on technical expertise. But they do also stand the risk
of missing or misrepresenting local diversity, and become less
driven by local needs. Such organizations may not necessarily be
representative of popular movements. Within NGOs an important
distinction between accountable membership and non-membership
organizations needs to be made.

The third approach is to encourage change in strategic
organizations, such as government departments, where there are
often many people who would like to innovate if they had the
support and resources to do so. Sometimes strategic
organizations can be as successful as local ones in picking up
the local diversity and finely-tuning approaches. And
heterogeneity may be greater than conventional planning
approaches would have us think. For instance, in the tea-dairy
zone of Kericho District in Kenya a recent planning of six
catchments no further than 20 km apart by the Soil and Water
Conservation Branch of the Ministry of Agriculture came up with a
total of 32 different proposals for action following
participatory analysis, consultation and presentations for review
to rural people. Each catchment planning team produced 10
proposals given the expected homogeneity then scaled up
planning would have suggested that there should have been the
same for each catchment. Most of the proposals were site-
specific only 8 were suggested in 3 or more of the catchments.
Such changes to extension approaches can be encouraged by new
training approaches and organisational and management changes
(see below).

Governments and NGOs

There is considerable debate over whether only NGOs can be
successful at adaptive, participatory planning, or whether more
collaborative partnerships between NGOs and the public sector are
the best way forward. Government institutions may be bypassed,
because they are weak, a trap for human capital, or simply
repressive, and funds are channelled to NGOs to create parallel
structures. The alternative is to work with governments so that
NGOs "identify how best they might support but not substitute for
what exists" (Chris Roche, this issue). The principal objectives
are now to foster change from within, not to threaten power but
to pressurise, and to support innovative individuals.

Governments are currently under wider political pressure, the
result being an opening up of new opportunities for local level
grassroots approaches to be implicitly or explicitly supported.
Participation, empowerment and increased awareness can create a
pull on the public extension service, so increasing
accountability and making the extensionist's job more rewarding.

It is important to draw attention to some further aspects of
NGOs. There are significant differences between those in the
north and those in the south, between service and people's
organizations, and between single unit and federated
organizations (Alan Fowler, workshop). As described above, NGOs
are successful at small scales and, as they are locally based,
may be a better defence against repressive states. But where
there have been transitions to elected democracies, "NGOs are
presented with the difficult fact that governments are to some
extent popularly elected whilst NGOs are not". (Tony Bebbington,
this issue). Many NGOs (at least non-membership organizations)
are not accountable, and just because they are NGOs does not mean
they are not subject to corruption. With increased access to
donor resources in recent years, there is growing evidence of
wastage of funds and wastage of rural people's time.

Opportunities exist for innovative work to catalyse change within
governments, particularly under conditions of increased
decentralisation and participation in planning. An enormous
amount of human capital and resources are locked up in government
institutions. It would be foolish to ignore this. There is a
severe danger of evolving parallel structures with the NGO sector
being highly funded by donor aid, and at the same time being
parasitic (for staff, technical support) on under-resourced
government services.

It is important to disaggregate governments too. Adaptive
planning and PRA/RRA methods have supported marginalised regional
administrations in the face of strong central government (Chris
Roche, this issue). Governments also need capable coordinating

institutions and ministries so as to keep donor day-to-day
involvement to a minimum.

There is a strong need for partnerships between institutions.
These may be tripartite, such as in Eritrea between technical,
intermediate and local institutions (Miranda Munro, workshop); or
at community level but subject to implicit government rules (Hugo
Slim, workshop). Partnerships either open up information flows
or define the need for dialogue. In Mali, there is often a large
difference between what local development committees think people
want and what they actually desired thus it is essential to
keep the local committees informed in a continual dialogue.
These partnerships accept that "in short, the aim is to change
the state rather than simply criticise it" (Tony Bebbington, this
issue). There are obvious opportunities for joint funding and
training activities between the government and NGO sectors.

Organisation and Management

All of these desires, goals and objectives are rooted in the
organisational and management cultures of governments, NGOs,
communities and donors. Although there is a growing literature on
organisational and institutional development and change, little
has filtered through to have a significant impact on the
development process. There are four central requirements: a need
for new institutions to represent the user constituency better; a
need to understand fundamental differences between commercial
organizations (most management literature is about these), NGOs
and governments; a need to identify pressure points through which
change can be made; and the need to learn how to manage for
innovation and experimentation in a turbulent environment.

Government as the central planning body tends to be commandist in
orientation. Although decentralisation is often talked about, it
may lead to fragmentation. Opportunities for bureaucratic
reorientation to develop a commitment to a listening and

responding approach are missed, and the trend has been to rely on
the non-government sector for adaptive approaches. However, the
post-adjustment 'culture of government' should evolve towards
rewarding enterprise, innovation, good governance and self-
reliance. Government needs to become responsive and enabling
rather than merely a service provider.

Caution is required in the establishment of new local
institutions, in that they may depend on transitory external
funding and not be sustainable. They may lack accountability and
popular support and so may be inappropriate channels for local
concerns. But in many cases they have been successful in giving
a voice to their users. By participating in technology
generation, adaptation and extension they create new demands on
the research process. These new institutions include innovator
workshops, producer organizations, group workshops, options
testing groups, farmer networks, functional groups and village

For change to be fostered in current organizations there are
several factors that determine the different organisational and
management demands on institutions. These relate to the way
organizations relate to clients, to the rest of the outside
world, the sources of resources, and the controls over
performance (Alan Fowler, this issue). Commercial organizations
have simple and short transactions with clients they sell an
obvious product. Governments supply services and goods, and have
permanent and obligatory relationships with people; whilst NGOs
have no authority, and so can only extend their influence through
dialogue and negotiation. In the end "rural people must own
induced social development processes and benefits if they are to
be sustainable" (Alan Fowler, this issue). Governments regulate
and control, whilst NGOs must negotiate to integrate. Commercial
organizations are paid by clients for their goods and services;
governments get taxes and payments; NGOs rarely have a financial
relationship with clients, resources coming mostly from donors of
one type or another. The final differences relate to the

feedback received that gives messages about performance. A drop
in sales tells a commercial organisation they are performing
badly the feedback is rapid. Governments get indirect, and
lagged in time, feedback from elections and tax evasions. NGOs
rarely receive feedback to influence their performance,
especially if they are based far from their clients (Alan Fowler,
this issue).

These factors imply a need for new methods and a more structured
approach. Leaders have a responsibility to offset bureaucratic
stresses by adopting new methods for managing in a turbulent
environment, staying in touch, walking about, ensuring a steady
two-way flow of information in an informal fashion. There must
be the flexibility and capacity to allow adaptation and change,
in which management is responsive and enabling. In planning
institutions a bias for action must be created, in which managers
and planners remain as close to the client or customer as
possible. Incentives to innovate and experiment, rather than
accept the status quo, are needed. Non-hierarchical structures
that do not inhibit creativity and dynamism. Too often rural
people and their knowledge and perceptions are seen as a nuisance
whose unpredictable behaviour damages carefully made strategic
plans. For problem identification, as well as monitoring and
evaluating, there is a need for new information systems that are
adaptive, flexible and people-oriented to provide steady flows of
relevant information.

An important strategy for change clearly rests on training and
human resource development. Training must be targeted at key
people so as to create a critical mass within an institution.
Training needs analysis must concern individual, group,
institutional and outside needs together. Training processes are
threatened by postings and poaching, but nothing can be done
about this save for more training. The approach must be multi-
level, especially to create an understanding in senior staff -
get them in the field and put field staff more at the core
rather than at the periphery.

The final changes necessary are those in development assistance
agencies or donors. Many are strong on rhetoric, but find it
difficult to be client-led when they are supposed to take a
strategic focus. There have been many cases of community-based,
people-based and process-based development projects, but
relatively few documented successes. Evidence does, however,
suggestthat adaptive planning and implementation can result in
increased productivity (food, health, trees etc.) at the local
level on a sustainable basis, and that this represents a more
efficient investment. Although potentially more expensive to
administer, the feedback and community-base means fewer mistakes
and greater effectiveness.


Barry Dalal-Clayton
IIED, 3 Endsleigh Street
London WC1H ODD.

I was once a land use planner! Armed with a first degree in
Botany, experience on 2 student expeditions and two weeks
orientation training at Silsoe College, I arrived in Zambia in
1972 to the surprise of the Land Use Services Division of the
Ministry of Rural Development. I subsequently spent a total of 9
years as a planner and then soil surveyor in Zambia.

Land use planning in Zambia is limited, being almost exclusively
for agriculture. It does not involve forestry, wildlife, water
use, urban issues, etc. The main tasks undertaken by land use
planners is illustrated by the chapters in the Land Use Planning
Guide (1977) many of which derive from technical papers of the
old Federal Department of Conservation and Extension (CONEX), eg:

- aerial photography interpretation
- land classification
- land use survey techniques
- mechanical protection of arable land
- basic instructions for dam construction
- agricultural land use planning in Zambia
- national, provincial and district inventories
- catchment conservation planning
- farm planning
- farm management
- settlement planning
- planning of irrigation schemes
- special projects
- subsidies.

The process is very 'top down' and most of the Planning Guide is
comprised of technical instructions. The need to 'involve'
people is mentioned only twice in the document. In the chapter
concerning Catchment Conservation Planning, one finds:

"The aim in [catchment conservation] planning would be to
direct the people to cultivate suitable land, to use the
best methods applicable to the area and to make sure that
controls to land use are implemented in both the mechanical
and cultural spheres".

This chapter goes on to admit that:

"the people must be informed and consulted about the plan so
that in the early stages they can help with the survey and,
at a later stage, they can participate in drawing up the
plan proposals and the implementation of the plan itself".

Unfortunately, whilst this chapter provides much technical
guidance, it gives no advice on how the people should be
involved. Nor, in practice, are they systematically involved.

Similarly, in the chapter on farm planning, the guide states that
an objective should be

"to work with the farmer to help him gain a full insight
into land capability and the potential of his farm and to
assist him to draw up a plan to further his farming
inclinations within the capabilities of the farm".

But this chapter is again rich in technical guidance whilst
giving no indication of how to ensure farmer participation. In
practice, farm planning is mainly conducted on commercial farms
in state land areas and rarely, if ever, for subsistence farmers
in the so-called trust lands.

The cornerstone of much of the planning process in Zambia, as
elsewhere in the region, has long been 'land use capability
classification'. The system used derives from one originally
developed in the USA and places land in suitability grades
ranging from good to poor arable land and includes grazing
classes and land unsuitable for either arable use or grazing.
The system was designed during Federal days, based on criteria
for the commercial production of maize and tobacco, and has
mainly been applied in state land areas. It is ill-suited for
other crops and has little relevance to non-commercial and
subsistence farming systems. An attempt in the 1980s to promote
a separate system for small-scale farming was made but was little

During the 1970s, a Soil Survey Unit was developed within the
Department of Agriculture as a service providing land capability
and soil maps to planners. The unit gradually took over all land
capability surveying so that planners themselves gradually lost
the function and ability/experience in undertaking such surveys.
With little technical direction provided by government, the Soil
Survey Unit moved gradually in the direction of producing mainly
technical soil maps and became less concerned with land
capability surveys. During the 1980s, soils were increasingly
mapped in terms of units of two international systems the USDA
Soil Taxonomy and the FAO-UNESCO legend for the Soil Map of the
World. There was a certain mesmerisation with the Soil Taxonomy
as a vehicle for international agrotechnology transfer a
concept heavily promoted by USAID. Land capability was replaced
by a modification of the FAO system of land evaluation which
itself requires much data not available or not collected by soil
surveys (eg socio-economic data).

Thus, technical soil maps were undertaken for specific government
projects (eg large state farms, crop production schemes,
settlement schemes, etc.) and a system of national soil mapping
was instituted. At first, this was based on quarter degree

sheets at a scale of 1:100,000 (to mirror the existing geological
map series) and subsequently on administrative districts at a
scale of 1:250,000. The first scale was of little relevance to
either regional or local planning. The latter was possibly of
more use for strategic regional planning but the maps were not
useable (see below).

It is not clear why the government instigated this systematic
mapping. There appears to have been no clear idea of why the
particular map scales were selected or for what purpose they
could be used. Experience indicates that, with the exception of
professional soil scientists and academics, no one could
understand the classification systems used certainly not
decision makers, planners or farmers. Who, for instance, could
conceptualise an Oxic Paleustalf? These systems provide an
international language for the scientist and academic but are, in
reality, an impossible obstacle for planners. The momentum given
to the systematic mapping programme and the use of international
classification systems came mainly from within the Soil Survey
Unit. Perhaps the only real benefit of these systems has been
the enriching of the source of names for children. Somewhere in
Zambia, Vertic Ngoma and Pachic Phiri are alive and well!

Most of the maps and reports produced are rarely consulted and
gather dust on shelves. One particular survey of the Mtetezi
River Area in Eastern Zambia, which conservatively cost at least
250,000 to undertake, remains unpublished after several years.
It was to have been followed by a land evaluation exercise to
interpret the base soil map for various crops and management
systems. This was never done. These soil surveys required a
very technical procedure and local people were seldom involved
(except as labourers).

The land systems approach to resource assessment for planning
purposes has also been tried in Zambia. For instance, the then
Land Resources Division of ODA undertook such a survey in the
Northern and Luapula Provinces over several years in the early
1970s. The maps and reports, whilst technically excellent and
full of data, are seldom used by planners, who cannot understand
their complexity.

The main market for the soil maps appears to be visiting
consultants who can utilise the data and then 'sell' it back to

There will always be a need for national and regional strategic
planning. But this process needs to involve information delivery
to planners which is understandable and utilisable, and which
reflects both national/regional and local needs. There is also a
vital need for local level planning which involves local
communities in identifying issues and designing solutions. We
need planning systems which bring these two requirements
together. Neither are mutually exclusive.


Adrian Wood
Department of Geographical and
Environmental Sciences
School of Applied Sciences
Huddersfield Polytechnic, West Yorkshire

The value of land use planning at the local level has been
limited by a number of characteristics of the standard approach
which has been followed. A new approach to land use planning is
needed if this concept is to be more sensitive to the needs of
rural communities.

Critique of the Standard Approach to Land Use Planning (SLUP)

Based on experience in Africa four groups of problems can be

Lack of Local Participation: the initiatives for SLUP usually
come from government officials or others outside the local
community. These outsiders set the goals for SLUP while external
technicians undertake the analysis. SLUP uses few of the
resources and skills of local communities and relies heavily upon
innovations developed on research stations.

Incomplete Conceptualisation of Problems: Because SLUP has
developed from soil survey and land capability assessments it
focuses upon the relationship between land use and the
environmental characteristics of an area. This has led to a
neglect of the socio-economic and political factors at the
household, community and national levels, which influence land
use. In SLUP there is also a tendency to focus on land use per
se and to neglect the details of land management and husbandry,
ie how land use is implemented.

Limited Replicability: SLUP involves considerable manpower and
technical resources. These are often supplied by donors in the
form of a project. The development of a national capacity to
undertake SLUP is restricted by the resource costs with the
result that land use planning tends to be a "one-off" exercise.

Poor Utilisation and Implementation of the Output from SLUP: The
maps and documents which are typically produced by SLUP are not
easily used by field staff and farmers. They need translating
into forms which can be understood. As a result the
implementation of LUP is often difficult and tends to be delayed

while appropriate "translation" is undertken. This problem is
often made worse by the way in which SLUP is often undertaken
as an exercise which is separate from project implementation.
This tends to produce land use plans for unspecified others to

Overall it appears that SLUP tends to increase dependence on
external interventions, skills and solutions, and fails to
develop local capacity to analyse problems and develop locally-
relevant innovations.

Principles of a Participatory Approach for Local Level Land Use
Planning (PLUP)

A series of principles can be outlined which should guide the
reorientation of land use planning for local level use. These
would include:

Local Agenda Setting and an Integrated Approach: The local
community must, as far as possible, initiate and set the agenda
for activities in their communities. Natural resource management
(NRM) issues must not be forced to the top of the agenda by
outsiders. Other more pressing issues must be addressed first,
so an integrated approach is needed in order to raise NRM to the
top of the agenda.

An Holistic View with Socio-Economic Perspectives: Better land
use and natural resource management requires consideration of the
full range of influences upon land use. Rather than collecting
vast amounts of detailed environmental data, which are often
redundant because local communities know where new land uses and
innovations may be appropriate, more attention should be given to
analysis of the various causes of land use problems. Action in a
variety of areas such as off-farm employment, pricing policies,
etc may help address land use problems.

Indigenous Technical Knowledge (ITK) and the Loop Process: PLUP
should try to build upon ITK so that innovations are rooted in
local experience and relevant to local resources. In many cases
ITK is no longer able to cope with rapidly changing conditions
and so analysis of the maladjustment is necessary. A "Loop
Process" is proposed which involves understanding the original
logic and rationale of ITK, analysing why it is no longer
satisfactory, and then drawing on both ITK and modern knowledge
to develop a set of techniques which are appropriate.

Participatory Trials and Local Capacity Development: The key
element of PLUP is the development by the local community,
through in-community participatory trials, of innovations in land
use and husbandry which will address problems of natural resource
management. These trials will usually be part of the Loop
Process and will build upon both the ITK of communities and their
own traditions of research and experimentation. This will help

develop local capacity to address land use problems with minimal
external assistance.

Lateral Extension: The recommendations concerning land use and
land husbandry from participatory trials will be attractive to
farmers and pastoralists, and so should not need to be 'sold', as
is often the case with innovations introduced through SLUP. As a
result innovations can be left to spread by lateral adoption,
although it may be helpful in some cases to have small
demonstration landscapes on farms or grazing land. New patterns
of land use and land husbandry will evolve, rather than being

Some Issues for Clarification

While the above principles are important in ensuring that land
use planning helps to develop local capacity to address land use
and natural resource management issues, the practical
implementation of this approach will encounter a number of
difficulties. Some of those which will require careful attention

Community Participation: Community approaches are difficult as
there is often considerable economic diversity within such
groups. There is a danger that participatory approaches are
dominated by those who are economically and politically powerful.
Hence it may be necessary for facilitators to work with groups of
similar socio-economic status within the total community.

The Nature of Participation: This must not be limited to
providing information and assisting in implementation. The local
community must have the power to determine the content and
priorities of PLUP and control project resources.

The Preconditions for Participation: Participation requires a
set of circumstances which give people control over their own
future. This requires appropriate policy environments as well as
local powers over natural resources. Hence PLUP initiative must
support local communities in pressing for positive changes in
these areas, as well as focussing on local problem-solving

Facilitatory Role and Skills: Facilitators have to work with
farmers and pastoralists on an equal footing and be willing to
learn from and with them. As a result there are no automatic
benefits of status which at present accrue to "educated" field
staff. As a result, considerable dedication, even a missionary
zeal will be required of these facilitators, so making it
important to train and orientate them correctly.

Relation to National Institutions: While the emphasis in PLUP is
upon on-site trials and building on local knowledge to develop
skills in communities, there is a need for links with national
environmental surveys and the work of research scientists on

research stations. This requires the development of two-way
communications between communities and these national services,
with the activities of the latter driven in large part by the
needs of the communities.

Village Level Coordination of Individual Decisions: While
individual land users should have control over their land and
natural resources, there is a need for some community and
regional institutions to coordinate land use and husbandry.
These organizations will address issues where there are impacts
of land use on neighboring sites, pressures upon community
resources, and inter-community competition for land and other

Policy and Institutional Implications

The PLUP approach to land use planning at the local level has
institutional and policy implications. The most important of
these relates to the institutional links which land use planning
requires. It is suggested that there needs to be clear links
with adaptive research and national development policy
formulation, while less emphasis is needed on ties with soil
surveys etc.

A second implication is that land use at the community level must
not be determined by national land use policies, but rather
should evolve out of the actions of farmers, pastoralists and
their communities. Land use and land husbandry must not be the
result of policies imposed from above, but the result of
cooperation between national institutions and communities, with
decisions left as much as possible to the local communities.

A third implication of the more holistic conceptualisation of
land use and natural resource problems is that the resolution of
many problems requires greater involvement of the local
population. Hence there is a clear link between the
technical/institutional changes proposed here and political moves
towards greater pluralism and democracy.


Tony Gibson
Neighborhood Initiatives Foundation
Chapel House, 7 Gravel Leasowes
Lightmoor, Telford TF4 3QL

In community development there is a need for all views to be
accounted for, yet the "talkers nearly always win". Local
planners have the rhetoric "what we want to do is consult you".
At public meetings the outsiders sit on a platform, behind a
table, maintaining their superiority; when only a few people turn
up, and only a few of them speak up, they say "It's the
indifference that gets me. Here we are trying to do our jobs,
and they don't come". Planning for Real attempts to bridge the
gap between 'us and them', to identify local needs and resources,
and to do it without endless talk.

The focus is a model of the neighbourhood. Unlike an architect's
model, these should be touched, played with, dropped, changed
around. At the first meeting the neighbourhood model is
constructed, using houses and apartment blocks made from card
and paper on a polystyrene base. Generally people put in the
grottyy bits first". The model then goes into the community, to
the laundrette, the school foyer, the fish and chip shop, so that
people see it and get to hear of the second consultation. At the
second meeting the objective is to find out: "have we got it
right?" There is no room for passivity, not many chairs, no
platform, with the model in the middle of the room.

People spot the landmarks, discuss, identify problems and glimpse
solutions. They move around, and can put down pieces of paper
with suggested solutions written on them at particular locations
(there are 150 pre-written solutions). They are permitted to put
more than one on the same place so allowing for conflicts to
surface. Eyelines are now different as everyone focuses on the
model, talking out of the sides of their mouths.

Often "people who put down an idea wait for others to talk first
about it, and then say themselves: "I agree with you". The
process permits people to have first, second and third thoughts -
they can change their minds. "At a certain point, you don't need
words". A large model allows people to address conflicts without
needing to identify themselves. It depersonalises conflicts and
introduces informality where consensus is more easily reached.

The professionals attend too. These local planners, engineers,
transport officials, police, social workers, wear a badge
identifying themselves, but can only talk when they are spoken
to. The result is they are sucked in, and begin to like this new
role. The 'us and them' barriers begin to break down, and the
professionals begin to find a new role and relationship.

The priorities put on the model have disagree written on the
reverse side. Anyone can turn these over, again remaining
anonymous. The priorities are assessed as Now, Soon, Later and
whether they can be done solely by local people, with the help of
outsiders, with some money and advice, or only by outsiders.
Obligations are negotiated and made explicit. People are able to
negotiate compromises. People don't label and classify in
academic ways.

The next stage is a local talent survey conducted by local
people. The form is pictorial and does not look like a
government form. The human resources are documented, and
planning can then capitalise on these hitherto hidden resources.
Participation in planning processes can act as a demonstration of
local capacity, from which larger things can grow.

Note: This article is drawn from a presentation made at the

Case Studies from Sudan and Mali

Margie Buchanan-Smith and Susanna Davies
Institute of Development Studies
University of Sussex
Brighton BN1 9RE

Information needs for food security planning are typically
determined by donors or national government. Whilst the need to
promote food security planning at sub-national as well as
national level has received attention in recent years, much
information collection to support it has been of a top-down data-
orientated nature. Huge resources have been invested in 'high
tech' methods of collecting information. Satellite imagery is
the obvious example. Attempts to find objective indicators to
quantify food insecurity have been a driving force. One of the
consequences of this has been a tendency to centralise the
processes of information collection and analysis and to reduce
ground truthing. Information collection is distanced from the
very people it is supposed to be about. The complex factors
affecting food security are simplified in the pursuit of
perfecting techniques to monitor only one or two key factors.

The alternative is a local level, 'low tech' approach to
information collection and analysis, designed to tap three highly
relevant sources of information:

i) information generally available within local communities and
upon which they depend;

ii) purpose-built indigenous information systems, which fulfil a
specific function for a particular group (for example, among
pastoralists, monitoring grazing resources and migratory

iii) local key informants.

Some useful work has been done at a local level, setting up
exactly these kinds of low profile, people-oriented information
systems. They are more likely to reflect the complexity of the
food security situation by incorporating perceptions of local
people themselves. They are relatively cheap and simple to
operate. This kind of information system is more likely to create
the conditions in which interactive planning with local people can
take place.

There are two challenges facing such local level 'informal'
information systems. Firstly, they are in danger of being taken

over by the over-zealous pursuit of 'the single right indicator'
of food insecurity. This would compromise the system by over-
simplifying and by removing the vital ingredient: flexibility.
Secondly, although limited quantification is possible, the output
of this kind of information system is predominantly qualitative.
Yet the donors and government demand 'hard' quantitive data to
make decisions about food security planning. If the bogus
quantification which characterises many top-down information
systems is imposed in this kind of local level information system,
much of the system's usefulness would be undermined.


Chris Roche
Francis House (3rd floor)
Francis Street
London SW1

In Mali and Burkina Faso ACORD has attempted, through a variety
of support to informal and formal groups, to reinforce the
participation of non-governmental structures in local planning
mechanisms. In both cases collaboration with governmental
technical services and planning bodies was seen as essential to
this process, though problematic. This abstract will attempt to
draw some tentative conclusions from this experience relating
particularly to the NGO/state relationship.


In Mali ACORD initially supported formal state-inspired
cooperatives which enabled its programme of activities to insert
itself in a non-confrontational manner into the government's
planning strategy for rural areas. However it was apparent that
the majority of the cooperatives were not representative of their
members and those that were to some degree, had little influence
on regional development planning. ACORD therefore shifted its
support to more informal groups (producer/marketing/women's
groups) and encouraged an on-going process of decentralisation of
what were very large cooperative strcutures. This change whilst
permitting ACORD to work with emergent indigenous groups, rather
than artificial externally created ones, posed two major
problems. The first was that despite this approach being in line
with government policy, which was based on drawing together
village level projects which were then to be considered by the
government Local Development Committees (LDCs), in practice such
poorly resource structures had great difficulty in coordinating
and planning such a multitude of micro-projects. The second
problem was that the majority of these groups did not have the
economic and thus political clout to make their voice heard at
the level of the LDCs.

In the long term the programme aims to reinforce the capacity of
the groups to play a greater role at the level of the LDCs by
encouraging, but not imposing, unions and federations (similar
ACORD experiences in the Sahel zone of Burkina Faso proving
relatively successful). However in the short term ACORD, in
order to create the space to achieve this, is obliged to work at
several levels simultaneously:

with specific interest groups at the micro-level

with spontaneous alliances of such groups for specific
activities (eg. marketing)
with local NGOs offering similar support
with LDCs at "arrondissement", "cercle" and regional levels
with regional technical services (livestock, agriculture,
cooperative action etc.)
with ministries at the national level

The complexity of the management that this demands is evident and
it necessarily limits the amount of work that can be done at the
micro-level. ACORD has therefore tended to concentrate its
activities geographically. It is felt that if the programme is
to surpass a simple juxtaposition of micro-projects, if it is
going to produce some sustainable changes to local-level planning
and if it is to help in the consciousness-raising and training
process at the level of governmental structures (as well as
proposing possible new ways of participatory planning), then it
has to limit itself in this way.

One of the major ways that a greater participation of rural
groups in local planning has been attempted is the establishment
of an "auto-evaluation" mechanism. This methodology was
developed after an evaluation of the programme in 1987 with the
help of IMRAD (Institut Malien de Recherches Appliquees au
Developpement) and IRAM (Institut de Recherche et d'application
des Methodes de Developpement). The evaluation highlighted the
need to find more effective ways of working with grass-roots
groups other than through the formal cooperatives structure.
Through discussions with informal village groups and state
structures a systematic approach has been adopted.

The ACORD teams were trained in the GRAAP animation methodology
(see below), and with the assistance of a local artist generated
pictures which corresponded with the reality in the programme
areas. The teams visit villages to begin an animation phase, and
collect information on the conditions of that group or village
eg. population, calender of activities, environmental, economic
and social conditions. This constitutes a group 'fiche' or file
for baseline information. The group or village divides into sub-
groups according to age and sex to discuss their problems. With
the assistance of an animator a full village meeting then listens
to the problems of each sub-group and tries to agree on a common
priority to all. This discussion leads to an idea for a project
they wish to initiate. Another file a 'fiche-action' is drawn up
with details of the activity, and the support they will need
from ACORD. This takes the form of a contract, where ACORD and
the group agree on certain commitments. At this stage the group
is asked how they will evaluate the proposed activity. The team
helps the group to discuss various indicators: social, economic,
technical and organisational. These indicators are combined with
ACORD's criteria to form an overall evaluation framework. A
permanent record of the expected results, criteria and indicators
is left with the group. A 'fiche de suivi' is then created and
any visit by ACORD or local government service is recorded with
details of the activity, advice or further commitment.

An evaluation is carried out by the community and ACORD at the
completion of a particular activity. The monitoring and
evaluation at the group and ACORD level is undertaken with the
assistance of the local research institute (IMRAD). This process
if finally supplemented by a third level of external evaluation
by local technical services, Local Development Committees, or
donors. This would be carried out at the end of a programme
funding period.

An interesting example of the process concerns a project of
riverine fodder-crop (Panicum bourgou) regeneration along the
Niger river. It had been assumed by most people (particularly
the technical services working in the area and external aid
agencies) that the primary reason that groups were interested in
this activity was in order to ensure adequate fodder for their
animals during the dry season. Whilst this was true for many
individuals, discussions with women established that they would
judge the success of this activity on the amount of "Kundou" (a
sweet drink made from this grass) that their children would drink
during the year. Further discussion revealed this criterion for
success was a single indicator that allowed rapid appraisal of
several aspects of the project, as if the "Kundou" had been made
available to the children it would indicate that there had been
enough to satisfy the needs of the animals.

This also indicated the different priorities between men (whose
evaluation criteria was "if we can offer you some milk in March
when you return then the activity will have been successful") and
women, and between women who owned livestock and those who did
not, given to the activity itself. A further lesson that the
exercise of "auto-evaluation" gave was the very difference within
household relations that existed particularly between pastoral
groups. These differences often depend on the levels of
sedentarisation of the groups and the social origins of the
household (ie. noble, vassal or marabout). The repicability
therefore of analyses of within household relations and
evaluation criteria needed to be tempered by such factors. One
of the main differences is between female headed households and
male headed households.


The strength of this methodology is that the concept of auto-
evaluation is integrated into the team's approach and work from
the beginning thus lessening the danger of external criteria
being imposed. The focus on auto-evaluation also acts as a
'reflection period' for groups to establish a deeper analysis.
This assists needs-identification and an examination of the
group's own expectations in the light of external assistance.
The use of sub-groups enables the views of marginalised groups,
eg. women, to be highlighted rather than subsumed within the
overall needs of the village. This has revealed inter and intra-
household differences in the objectives for certain activities
and in the criteria for success.

Some technical and local government personnel were involved in
the initial training, given the need to continue communication
with technical services and the Local Development Committees
(LDCs). The identification of new activities or villages to work
has to be approved by the LDCs and should take into consideration
local plans and regional planning policy. It is, however, not
yet clear whether the LDCs could act as the mechanism whereby the
needs identification carried out by village groups and ACORD are
really reflected in the formulation of regional policy. Such
structures do, in theory, have this potential and it is therefore
important to attempt to influence them and thus bring some
coherence to what would otherwise be a programme of dispersed and
uncoordinated micro-activities.

The creation of the 'fiche action' and 'fiche de suivi' provide

the creation of a baseline for monitoring and evaluation
using criteria set down by the groups;

a systematic method for the on-going collection of

and a management framework to assist the participatory

The programmes have come up against various constraints in the
implementation of the methodology:

the 'fiche' are completed by the team members as they
require a considerable level of literacy. Diagrams,
pictures and maps could perhaps be used not ony as an
animation technique, but also as a way to leave a
permanent record of the group's analysis which is
accessible to non-literate members of the village.

-staff have a heavy paperwork load to keep all the 'fiche'
up-to-date, but this is essential as a monitoring tool.

The annual support mission of IMRAD in 1989 raised the following

i. That although the communities had been capable of analysing
and fixing objectives for technical and economic factors
relating to activities it was much more difficult for them
to articulate (or for ACORD to understand) their analysis on
social factors or secondary or unexpected effects of the

ii. That an increased effort should be made in the training of
ACORD staff in the utilisation of the auto-evaluation
technique and on animation techniques in general. There is
still a certain attitude of 'we know best' and a feeling
that if something goes wrong it is probably the fault of the
community rather than ACORD and its methodology.

iii. That there was often a large difference between what the
local development committees thought people wanted and what
they actually wanted. It is important for ACORD not to
neglect its role in informing the LDCs of this and
discussing and convincing them that there are more suitable
means of identifying what the communities actually want.

iv. That flexibility was vital in the elaboration of 'fiches',
they needed to be tested thoroughly amongst a representative
sample of groups, the way that questions were asked needed
to vary according to the different ethnic and social
groupings. Above all it was necessary to remember that the
process must adapt over time.

v. That over and above the technical difficulty of identifying
"societal projects" is the lack of cohesion within certain
groups. This was notably for pastoralists where a certain
desire for a form of agropastoralism amongst many can
challenge the traditional social hierarchies and power of
the few.

vi. The degree of integration of the ACORD team remained weak.
Sectoral technicians were not yet collaborating sufficiently
and their role as 'development agents' rather than technical
assistants was not yet being fully realized. This posed
problems in terms of multi-disciplinary analysis where one
activity may provoke a brake on another. For example by
increasing women's labour on rice fields one reduced their
market gardening activities, one of their few sources of

At this stage of the programme it is difficult to determine
whether groups are able to carry out the process of needs
identification, project planning etc. themselves or whether they
are still dependent on ACORD. Do village groups feel that they
have to undergo the animation process in order to receive support
for a project from ACORD? The feasibility of training village
group animators could be explored in addition to the development
of funding networks other than ACORD. A time-scale for ACORD's
support could also be written into the contract between ACORD and
a group. The Mali programmes are working with many ethnic groups
and production systems. To date the ACORD team has found that it
is easier to work with poorer groups in some villages than others
and that work with women has been more successful in some areas.
It would be interesting to know whether the auto-evaluation
method can be adapted to reflect this.

Relationships between the Mali programme and the state have been
more ambiguous than the case of Burkina Faso. At first the Mali
programme only worked through state structures and formal
cooperatives. A change in policy to become much more of an
intermediary between the state and the population has proved to
be a politically difficult step. In Burkina this role was
assumed at the outset.

Overall the lessons to date indicate that the relationship of an
external agency with resources (whether it is staffed by Malians
or not), and local groups will always be artificial and biased.
In the long term the programme aims to overcome that by
facilitating the emergence of structures that emanate from such
groups. In the short term the objective must be to minimise that
artificiality whilst recognizing its existence. The project has
gone some small way to improving the relationship by allowing
local groups to have their say and by establishing a link with a
local research institute that can provide a continuous and
objective 'exterior' appreciation of the programme's work.

Burkina Faso

In Burkina Faso ACORD has used GRAAP methods in its programme of
support to socio-economic village groups. The GRAAP methodology
has been developed by the Groupe de Recherche et d'Appui pour
1'Autopromotion Paysanne (GRAAP) in Burkina Faso. It aims to
assist groups to recognize change as one way to improve their
situation. This is achieved through a continuing cycle of
analysis, reflection and action. A trained animator encourages
this process through posing questions on different themes: the
different types of people living in the village; constraints to
production; and areas of conflict between groups. These
discussion sessions are held in sub-groups and use clear simple
pictures to aid visualisation of the issues discussed and the
relations between different people or groups of people. An
important element of the GRAAP method is the iteration between
sub-group sessions and plenaries when the groups come together.
This is particularly important to ensure the participation of
women and youth. The spokesperson for a group is much more
likely to speak up on behalf of a group than on behalf of
him/herself. Proverbs, stories and songs are also used. The
training helps animators to provide a discussion framework for
the role of religion, modern science and indigenous knowledge,
inter-generation conflict, dependency relationships, and the role
of an outside catalyst or animator.

The groups ACORD supports were set up with the assistance of
extension services but are not government organizations. An
initial survey of the village groups showed that projects failed
because: villages did not consider the projects as their own, but
as externally imposed; that limited management capacity hindered
implementation; and that some village groups had internal
problems which were further aggravated during project
implementation. At the regional level there was no overall
policy to tackle the particular needs of the area and few
criteria for the establishment of projects. ACORD believed that
state structures were sincerely trying to help rural communities,
and that instead of by-passing or emphasising the negative
aspects of local government, ACORD's strategy should be to
support those structures to become more effective eg. through
assistance with planning rather than material resources. Thus

the programme aims to support training for animation at several

a. trainers/supervisors are trained/upgraded in animation

b. training of extension workers;

c. training and refresher courses for officials of rural
organizations; and

d. at the village group and village group union level there is
assistance to animation sessions (this assistance includes
preparing and adaption of the GRAAP method).

The overall animation objective is the identification of
problems, opportunities, misunderstandings, and activities by and
with the villagers at the village level. More specific animation
focuses on discussion of the solutions which villagers themselves
can apply to a problem and the aspects for which some support is
deemed necessary. The idea is to work out with them the
activities to be undertaken and to demonstrate the need for the
organisation to carry out these activities.

It is argued that one of the main constraints to village
organisation and management is functional literacy for village
group and village group union officials. Programme support to
literacy work includes the design of simple management systems in
local languages and training extension workers to improve
training and support for village groups.

Lack of funding per se, was not seen as a constraint for
effective projects. Instead assistance is provided in project
formulation, writing up, presentation and fund-raising. Any
financial support is given as loans not grants to ensure that the
activity is seen as a village project.


This approach, has emphasised the training of existing government
extension workers. This has the benefit of sensitising
government structures to participatory approaches by fully
involving them in that process. The risk of creating a parallel
structure is minimised and 'handover' is not required as the
project begins to be institutionalized from conception. By using
government extension agents this approach is probably more cost
effective. However, resources are still necessary for
supervisory structures, and logistical support for follow-up.

Some of the drawbacks which the programme has faced include the
mobility of staff and the need for training to be put into
practice as soon as possible. During the Sankara period
relations with the government were good; however since the change
of government extension services have had to fund themselves to a
greater degree. This means that their priority is to sell inputs

to farmers to cover their running costs. As a result, animation
work suffers. There is also the problem (from a donor viewpoint)
of the lack of visible results, which take longer for a programme
of structural support.

Although this programme has a limited 'loan fund' available to
pre-finance activities, it does not see its role as providing
technical interventions. Assistance with animation training and
group sessions is separate from any technical support required
for identified activities. The key question is the effectiveness
of this approach in actually linking groups with funders and
technical assistance.

It has been argued that GRAAP as a method is too global and is
not so useful in addressing specific village problems. The GRAAP
method perhaps works better in situations of crisis where there
is rapid change and crises in relations, and where there is a
need for conflict resolution. It requires highly skilled and
committed animators who already have a good knowledge of the
area, power relations, and yet can take an objective view point
and act as a mirror for village discussions. The responsibility
of the animators is to generate dialogue, encourage reflection
and provoke action, it is not to transmit extension messages.
The method depends on appropriate pictures which have to be
created for each situation. This could be seen as a constraint
on the replicability of the method or alternatively as a way of
promoting participation in the continuing adaptation and
development of the methodology.

The Burkina Faso programme's approach, a combination of the GRAAP
method with support to managerial and planning capacity, is
tackling the issues of participation at several levels, whilst
attempting to avoid a situation where participation at the grass
roots is seen as a threat and blocked by local government

Since 1983, this programme has therefore tried to strengthen
village groups and encourage links between them whilst at the
same time facilitating their access to financial and other
support from other agencies. The problem for many funders was
their inability to identify suitable groups or projects to
support and their capacity to adequately follow-up on what they
funded. ACORD, through a process of participatory "animation"
using the locally developed GRAAP methodology and an important
training component, managed to build up village portfolios that
corresponded to the individual needs of the groups into a
coherent regional planning document that allowed funders to
invest in the diverse areas of support that were required. This
process, apart from reinforcing local planning capacities,
succeeded in channelling an average of between 500,000 to
1,000,000 per annum to properly identified projects at a cost of
between one quarter and one fifth of the additional funding
attracted, thus not only guaranteeing a better utilisation of
funds but also increasing the accessibility of such support to
many more groups. This experience indicates the feasibility of

strengthening local groups and at the same time oordinating and
directing external support to them (although it must be said that
the political climate between 1983 and 1988 was particularly
favourable to the development of this process).


The state is not a monolithic block. There are unique parts of
the structure within it with diverse interests and agendas
which are committed to the development of the zones in which they
work. NGOs need to identify how best they might support but not
substitute themselves for what exists. They need to exploit
their comparative advantage over the state in terms of the
different relationship they can have with intended
"beneficiaries" and their capacity to organise themselves in an
appropriate manner, rather than compete.

The questions that remain to be answered are:

how to achieve the right balance between the support
offered at each level?

how best to influence change without antagonising local

how to retain a degree of independence from the state,
whose policies and personnel are liable to change, whilst
developing links and mutually beneficial relationships?

how to ensure that the least powerful or unheard voices
(women, minority groups, etc.) are listened to and
represented at the local planning level?


Melissa Leach
Institute of Development Studies
University of Sussex
Brighton BN1 9RE

In Sierra Leone, local level adaptive planning approaches are
under current debate and early application amongst both small
NGOs and church organisatons, and large-scale integrated rural
development projects. Attention is focused on the
DELTA/'Training for Transformation' approaches first developed in
Kenya. These have much in common with other RRA/PRA approaches,
but place particular emphasis on confronting and working through
local conflicts of interest. They offer exciting possibilities
but also pose challenges to institutional and socio-political

Conventional planning approaches to integrated rural development
in Sierra Leone have suffered from a lack of sectoral
coordination and a failure to ensure that the priority needs of
different social groups (eg. men and women in different types of
households) are being met. The one-off small projects
(infrastructure, agricultural projects, community stores, etc)
undertaken by NGOs and larger agencies' 'small projects' funds
frequently do not respond to community needs, rather becoming
vehicles for local politicians' rivalries or chiefs' attempts to
rally electoral support within the peculiarly resilient Sierra
Leonean brand of patron-client politics. The call for
'participatory' planning is emerging as a response to such
'failures', as attributed to top-down, out-of-touch extension
methods. Current appraisal methods such as baseline surveys are
also out of touch in their identification of static 'needs' of
(sectors of) the community, rather than focusing on the social,
economic and political processes through which different
villagers' priorities arise, come into conflict, and are
negotiated and bargained over.

DELTA (Development Education and Leadership Training for Action)
was introduced to Sierra Leone in 1983 from Nigeria. The
approach combines 'conscientisation' ideas derived from Paulo
Freire with US-derived management training principles and -
originally biblical messages. Teams of 5-8 people from NGOs,
church organizations and local communities undergo training
through a series of four workshops, spaced at six-month
intervals, through which they are intended to develop
communication sklls and radical critical awareness of local and
national conditions. They are expected, in turn, to train
further groups. DELTA trainees then undertake 'listening
surveys' to determine needs within their own communities. On the
basis of the problems voiced most often and most intensely they

prepare 'codes' sketches, pictures or songs which illustrate
the problems to community, and which are presented in a meeting.
Each code is 'processed' through discussion of the causes and
conflicting interests which affect the problem. Villagers are
expected to reach a consensus about which problem requires most
immediate action, and then to undertake a process of 'action
planning' to tackle its causes. Action planning involves the
clarification of objectives and timescales, and the management of
labour and resources including applying for funding. Typical
projects initiated in this way include child delivery rooms,
bridges and seed banks.

DELTA training in Sierra Leone currently centres on the Anglican
Church (Bo Dioscese) and the Catholic Pastoral Centre in Kenema.
There is now a network of 'Community Animation Teams' which have
undergone the training and which make more or less operational
use of the approach in their work, supporting it with various
sources of funding. A large number of NGOs have shown interest
in the approach. In 1987 the large GTZ-funded Bo-Pujehun Rural
Development Project adapted DELTA into an approach called
'Village Level Planning' (VLP) to ensure that project initiatives
from its 'Community Action Fund' met local interests and to
integrate sectoral planning at the local level. With VLP still
at a pilot stage, the project administers a truncated version of
the DELTA training programme to local staff who then apply the
listening survey/action planning framework in villages.

The approaches pose institutional challenges. Firstly, the
Church model DELTA practised by isolated communities for
themselves offers more control to people and little to the
funding agency, which is expected to react to and provide for
local requests. While this often suits understaffed NGOs and
churches who can use a few trained DELTA workers as 'animators',
it does not fit the accountability requirements of larger funding
agencies. To get round this difficulty, the Bo-Pujehun project
supports VLP with an extensive set of tightly controlled
monitoring procedures and feedback to a hierarchy of committees.
Yet this is proving even more costly and cumbersome to administer
than conventional planning and M&E procedures. Secondly, DELTA
and VLP are training-intensive, and trainers, trainee-trainers
and village-level workers all need to be talented communicators.
Bo-Pujehun is finding that extension workers with and without
good communication skills achieve markedly different results. If
the approaches are to be adopted on a larger scale by other
agencies, the whole recruitment profile for extension workers
could change, with implications for the existing (shakily
pursued) policy to work with Ministry staff wherever possible.

DELTA and VLP also raise local socio-political questions. On the
positive side, the approaches do offer a more dynamic, process-
oriented way of identifying and responding to local interests.
The code presentations especially the sketches model
bargaining processes effectively and help make conflicts of
interest explicit by showing people a mirrored reflection of
their own lives. The animator-led processing sessions provide

fora for conflict arbitration and more opportunity for the
socially uninfluential to voice their concerns than they would
find, say, in court or a village meeting.

On the negative side, the approach cannot ensure that conflicts
are not resolved in the interests of more powerful groups. In
one VLP session, for example, men and women were strongly opposed
over whether a rice store (men's preference) or a delivery house
(women's preference) should be built first; consensus could not
be reached, and the men asserted their priority. 'Consciousness
raising' and provoking open conflict at village level could
rebound in unfortunate ways on people's private relations for
their relations with higher authorities (in Kenya, DELTA was
banned by the state which considered it to be provoking

While well-suited to village-level projects, VLP cannot easily
respond to the particular needs of small vulnerable minorities
such as young wives' desires to increase their incomes to
compensate for failing male support. Voiced only by a few, such
issues rarely rank highly in listening surveys. Finally, the
approaches offer no guaranteed safety from takeover by local
political processes. Sierra Leonean patrons have successfully
hijacked IADP inputs, rural credit schemes and conservation
programmes in the past to increase their clientele. DELTA could
become a similar vehicle with a little ingenuity and perhaps some
careful engineering of the 'needs' voiced in listening surveys.
Like 'Action Researchers' who attempt to subvert existing power
structures, therefore, practitioners of this kind of local level
adaptive planning face both difficulties and dangers.


Donald Curtis
Development Administration Group
Institute of Local Government Studies
University of Birmingham
PO Box 363
Birmingham, UK B15 2TT

The question that we face is whether adaptive local planning
techniques are sufficiently powerful, persuasive and, in
themselves, adaptable to local situations to facilitate a
breakthrough in the logjam of local institutional structures,
procedures and interests that has so far set limits to the
effectiveness of local planning.

The Local Planning Context

In many Third World countries three principal forces are at work
at local levels of governance.

1) Conflicting centralisation decentralisation imperatives

At macro level these are seen as the conflicting requirements of
holding the state together versus allowing expression of local
interests. Local outcomes include:

central and local politicians struggling over control of
local opportunities for patronage

for administrators, questions of degrees of discretion or

for technical officers, conflicting loyalties to central
ministries and local coordinating or planning bodies

2) Parallelism of line ministries

separate ministries, represented at local levels by
technical officers, each with their own budgets (great or
small), lacking any interest in collaboration

3) In some places, plurality of NGO initiatives

each exerting demands for information or permissions etc.

How does Planning Fit?

In this context planning is not just a question of knowing what
best to do in an area (itself a difficult enough matter) but of

a legitimate means of decision making at a decentralised
level (ie a framework through which the centre/local issue
can be resolved)

a means of coordination: between the activities of
departments, between other development agencies, and between
statutory and voluntary sectors.

Insofar as local planning has been institutionalized at all, it
is evidence of a desire, at some level of government, for
development activities to be adapted to local needs. This desire
can be backed up by an element of conditionality in budget
allocations and other persuasive measures. However we can still
look critically at the institutionalisation of local planning
directives to see to what extent they represent battles won or
lost (eg at the political level, local planning committees
chaired by central MPs rather than local councilors) or varying
degrees of token conformity (eg the stapling together of
departmental budgets to form a plan).

Types of Plan

Different actors on the local planning stage are likely to
perceive strategic advantage in different forms of plan.

End state plans are likely to be favoured:

by administrators and technical officers who are seeking to
limit political discretion or "interference" (ie political
involvement in particular allocations).

by donors seeking evidence of commitment to the aims of
"integrated" area development packages.

Rolling plans will be the outcome of accommodating processes, in
which different stake holders (politicians, elites, technical
officers) are represented on local planning bodies, to bring
together shopping lists from the grassroots, technical department
budget proposals etc.

Advocacy plans will be favoured by voluntary bodies that seek to
influence local allocations (usually seeking maximum discretion
for their own activities nevertheless).

To a certain extent the dominance of different parties in
different places or in different stages of rural development
history, can be seen in the prevalence of one or other of these
planning devices.

How Effective is Adaptive Local Planning?

I take adaptive planning to be a number of techniques or
procedures (including RRA) for bringing local peoples'
perspectives to bear upon resource allocating and controlling
processes. In many cases the fact-finding activities required
will be prior to the 'on paper' or 'in committee' phases of the
above kinds of plan. They can be used to sensitise the proposals
of technical departments to local perceptions of need, or to
prioritise politically mediated demands from grassroots
organizations, or to enable NGOs to be responsive rather than
prescriptive. As such, adaptive planning can be seen as a useful
addition to any planning process at the local level. However, is
it in the interests of any powerful people within the planning
process to do it? The institutionalisation of adaptive planning
hangs on this question.


Robin Grimble
Natural Resources Institute
Central Avenue
Chatham Maritime
Chatham, Kent ME4

The need for client-oriented and participatory research and
planning is unarguable; a large measure of responsibility for
this rests with local institutions. But what role is there for
international and developed-country research organizations,
largely dominated by natural scientists, that are more
development than academically orientated?

A major problem is that demand-led and participatory research is,
almost by definition, specific to local conditions to a
particular set of environmental and socio-economic conditions.
Identifying constraints and opportunities for research and
development is a particular skill that social scientists
(including economists), preferably working alongside natural
scientists, can provide but the task can only be done on site.
Identifying needs, whether for research or development, depends
on detailed local knowledge and understanding that an overseas-
based institution is not best placed to provide.

A related problem particularly peculiar to some research
organizations is that research orientation is supposed to be
'strategic' rather than specific to one particular country,
location or community. This type of research can easily become
driven by science or technology, or by the scientific interests
of the individuals concerned. The chances of such research
ending up as appropriate to the circumstances of any group of
farmers or rural people would therefore appear to be distinctly
uncertain (though the value of an occasional breakthrough may be

If it is going to be increasingly difficult for outsiders to
undertake bottom-up research and planning and also if research
is designed to yield broad or strategic results what is the
role in research for international centres and developed-country
based institutions? Clearly the answer will vary from case to
case, but one possible way forward is to concentrate attention on
strengthening the capacity of local institutions to do the work
themselves. The need and opportunity would appear to be greatest
in the public sector but NGOs could also receive support.

Appropriate assistance would depend, in the first instance, on an
analysis of the strengths and weaknesses of the collaborating
institution and would need to take full regard of the perspective

and attitudes of that institution. However it is likely that
assistance would be useful in some of the following ways:

strengthening systems and methods for diagnosing problems
and identifying development and research needs and priorities

facilitating interdisciplinearity, through working with
common (development) objectives and establishing structural
links between disciplines. Economics and socio-economics
should be at the beginning and end of research and planning

strengthening multi-way information flows between farmers,
researchers, extension agents and rural developers

feeding back information from the field to natural
scientists working at a strategic level (and interested in
developing principles, processes and methodologies)

making available information on new science and technology.
This includes facilitating information flows through
training, seminars, publications and networks

strengthening systems for monitoring and evaluation of
research and development

anticipating spontaneous structural changes and the effect
of these changes on research and planning needs

anticipating technological developments and analysing the
place of these developments on farming systems (with a view
to suggesting priorities and no-hopers)

improving the focus of research by identifying key
questions that should be addressed by policy-makers,
research managers, extension managers and, of course,

But for international and developed-country institutions to
consider institution-strengthening as their primary role would
require in some cases a radical change in direction and attitude.


Martin E. Adams
2 Gifford's Close
Cambridge CB3 OPF


In Kenya, the idea of participatory planning is certainly not
new. References to the concept have recurred repeatedly in
planning documents since the early 1960s. It is necessary to ask
why a practice which is so widely recommended is so rarely
applied. One must conclude, at least in the context of Kenya's
arid and semi-arid lands' development programme, that both donors
and government find participatory planning and implementation
administratively inconvenient, even impracticable. In order to
explain why, it is necessary to consider the framework for
implementation in some detail.

The government of Kenya has pursued an active strategy for the
development of Kenya's Arid and Semi-Arid Lands (ASAL)(1) for
more than a decade. ASAL areas account for more than 80% of
Kenya's land area yet hold only 20% of the population. Because
of their low economic potential, these areas tended to be
neglected in development strategy until, in the mid-1970s, it was
recognized that they merited special attention since (a) their
inhabitants were often amongst Kenya's poorest, (b) they needed
to support and feed a growing population if they were not to
become an increasing burden on the rest of the economy, and (c)
the intensified pressure on the ASAL carried dangers of
environmental degradation.

The 1979 government policy document (GOK, 1979) on SAL was
followed by the establishment of 12 donor-funded integrated rural
development programmes (IRDPs) in 14 of Kenya's 22 ASAL
districts. To coordinate them, a special ASAL Section was
created in 1980 in the Rural Planning Department of the Ministry
of Economic Planning and Development (MEPD), subsequently the
Ministry of Planning and National Development (MOPND). Through
the 1980s, the ASAL continued to have an important place in
national policy. However, by 1988 it had become apparent that
the manifold problems of ASAL required more resources and better
coordination. As in the rest of Kenya, problems of the ASAL
districts had continued to grow as the population increased.
Despite the fact that the provision of basic services had
improved in ASAL, they remained poor in relation to the rest of

the country. In May 1989 a separate ministry, the Ministry of
Reclamation and Development of Arid, Semi-Arid Areas and
Wastelands (MRDASW), was created, primarily as a coordinating
body. This took over from MOPND the responsibility for
overseeing the ASAL IRDPs.

Decentralised Integrated Planning

Decentralised integrated planning was initiated in Kenya in 1971
under the Speical Rural Development Programme (SRDP) in areas
chosen to cover a cross section of the nation, including ASAL.
The primary objective of SRDP, which was focused at the sub-
district level (ie. the division), was to increase rural incomes,
employment and welfare. Attempts were made to identify critical
gaps and bottlenecks and to test new ideas and projects.
Organisational and sectoral coordination were given attention in
both planning and implementation. As with many pilot programmes,
a major problem proved to be the conflict between the desire for
establishing viable programmes, which could be replicated through
the country, and the pressure to create individually successful
programmes which were not transferable because of high costs
(IDS, 1973). As an outgrowth of the SRDP experiment, the
government attempted to extend decentralized planning to all
districts in Kenya. The post of District Development Officer
(DDO) was created and District Planning Units (DPU) were
established (Lele, 1975).

The first of the ASAL district programmes was the Machakos
Integrated Development Programme (MIDP). This began in 1978 in
Machakos District which had long been recognized as a critical
area by those concerned with the development of sustainable
dryland agriculture on erodable soils. The MIDP has been funded
by the European Development Fund to a current total of K Sh.17.25
million. The Phase I objectives were simply to increase
productivity and raise rural living standards. Its major
justificaiton was poverty alleviation. MIDP strategy emphasised
planning at the local level, building local implementation
capacity and investing in a range of complementary activities to
overcome joint constraints. To achieve the above objectives,
planning and implementation were meant to be decentralised to the
district level and efforts were made to seek complementarities
between sectors. A flexible approach was adopted to the annual
programming and budgeting of a series of sectoral activities:
soil and water conservation, crop and livestock production,
cooperatives, rural afforestation, water supply, rural
industries, social services and adult education and institutional
support (ie. the funding of a programme Management Unit, training
and the provision of Technical Assistance).

Thus MIDP and its imitators were meant to break away from the
archetypal donor project. From the outset, the locus of decision
making and control of the ASAL district programmes committees,
from the locational, through divisional, up to the district
level. Detailed programmes were expected to evolve as a result

of a process of annual planning and budgeting. Despite early
progress on MIDP with district-level planning, which led to the
formulation of the District Focus for Rural Development policy
(GoK, 1984), subsequently little has been acheived in the way of
institutional development at district level or below, either in
Machakos or in other ASAL districts. Why?

Programme Planning and Management

Political Control

With the introduction of the District Focus, district development
was to have been brought under the supervision of the District
Development Committees (DDC) and sub-committees at divisional and
locational level. Externally funded programmes like MIDP, were
expected to provide a source of funds to allow districts to plan
and implement their own programmes. The extent to which this
happened has depended on the degree of involvement of the
community. For example, there were marked differences between
the densely settled farming areas, such as Machakos, where the
local committees were active and the remote pastoral areas, such
as Turkana, where the committees rarely met and were dominated by
a handful of officials and politicians. The 1980s have not
witnessed the flowering of participatory planning in Kenya.
Indeed, since the 1982 constitutional amendment that made Kenya a
one-party state, democratic institutions have been steadily
eroded. This has blighted genuine participation in local
government and has strengthened the hold of KANU's gatekeepers.

Bureaucratic Control

Implementation of the District Focus policy has also depended on
the degree to which line ministries were prepared to devolve
decision making to district level and below. In spite of the lip
service paid to District Focus, Kenya's administrative structure
has remained very hierarchical, centralised and vertically
fragmented. Junior officers at field level are at the bottom of
a career ladder which leads progressively to less direct
involvement with the poorer sections of the rural community and
to less need to undertake tiresome duties in remote areas. The
DC, assisted by the DDO, is nominally in charge of all
administrative work in the District, but in practice field staff
of line ministries continue executing their work with little
regard to the need for mutual coordination of either day-to-day
administration or long-term planning and budgeting. Public
servants are over-represented on development committees at both
the district and divisional level (Rono et al, 1990) and have
found little difficulty in resisting local wishes if they were so

Budgetary Process

Originally, with MIDP Phase I for example, the ASAL funds
allocated to the districts were seen as incremental. They
represented funding over and above that which the line ministries
in the district would otherwise be receiving from the Treasury.
The funds were meant to be used for investments which addressed
the special problems of ASAL, namely human resource development,
exploitation of productive potential, conservation and
integration within the national economy. Yet, even in the case
of MIDP, there was a tendency to load the programme with the
costs of ongoing national programmes (ODI, 1982). Over the last
ten years, ASAL funds have become a substitute for recurrent
funding from the Treasury. In some districts, the situation has
now been reached in which the major portion of external funds has
gone to meet operating costs. Donors have persuaded themselves
that it made little sense to finance separate programmes when
many of the developmental services were functioning at low levels
of effectiveness on account of the scarcity of government funds
(2). They reasoned that comparatively modest incremental
resources could be used to make the existing services more

This tendency of IRDPs to absorb recurrent costs has been
reinforced by the fact that they proceed by annual programming
and budgeting. Annual work plans and budgets are submitted to
the Programme Officer by the district heads of line ministries
for approval in March/April for inclusion in the budget for the
financial year following the one after next, ie. the FY starting
in 16 months' time. Because they fear they will not receive
funds from the central Treasury to cover routine operating costs,
they load them onto the ASAL programme. Thus much of the ASAL
budget goes to cover transport, travel allowances, stationery,
etc. for routine work with very little innovative content. Even
if he/she were so inclined, the scope for the beleaguered
Programme Officer (3) from the ASAL Ministry to change
submissions, by for example the Ministry of Water Development or
the Ministry of Agriculture, is very limited. Thus a prime
purpose of the ASAL funds to provide the opportunity for
innovative participatory planning at the district level has
been frustrated.

Donor Influence and Involvement

In an attempt to resolve these and related problems, the donors'
staff tend to become involved in day-to-day management. In order
to limit donor influence, it has been proposed that district
programmes should be financed by more than one external agency.
However, this would not solve the underlying problem, namely the
weak representation of the MRDASW, the ASAL Ministry, at district
level. The presence of several donors could make matters more
complicated at district level. In any case, half the ASAL

districts are currently without an ASAL programme and they would
prefer to have one donor rather than none at all.

Expatriate Technical Assistance (TA) has been a major issue from
the early days of MIDP. Heads of department often saw TA as an
imposition; a price that had to be paid for donor funding. TA
domination has clearly had a negative impact on past ASAL
programmes and has greatly reduced the net flow of external
resources (4). Donors, on the other hand, have insisted that TA
is essential if funds are to be effectively applied and
monitored. The heat has gradually gone out of the debate as
donors have found it increasingly difficult to recruit staff and
as the technical calibre of the departmental heads has improved.
Unfortunately this improvement has not been exhibited by staff
assigned to the district level by the ASAL Ministry.

Donors continue to be concerned about the improper application of
funds (5). Financial control over ASAL programmes has been and
continues to be extremely weak. The volume of funds flowing
through a PMU can exceed the allocation to the district treasury.
Very often, the PMU accounts' clerks are unable to verify the
expenditures incurred or to provide the Programme Officer with
financial management information. Initially, ASAL programmes
were funded through a system of reimbursement to the Treasury,
but, because of growing liquidity problems which delayed project
implementation, bilateral donors replaced it by one of direct
payment. Most bilateral-funded projects operate through a
special account in a local bank, a pre-financing tool which is
useful when there are many small expenditures. The obvious
benefit for the aid agency of special accounts is that they
eliminate the need for it to act as project cashier. Suppliers
and contractors benefit as funds are paid immediately. However,
special accounts can be held in local currency only and they do
not allow scope for foreign expenditures. Thus overseas
procurement (eg. cars, equipment, consultants) is normally
handled by the donor agency and the PMU may not be kept up-to-
date on the financial situation. The locus of financial
decision making and control of donor-funded ASAL programmes has
tended to be the donor country office in Nairobi rather than the
district treasury.

District Planning

The unclear relationship of the ASAL Project Management Unit
(PMU) to the District Planning Unit (DPU) is a further cause of
difficulty. Technically, the PMU is part of the DPU. The head
of the DPU, the District Development Officer (DDO) is
responsible to MRDASW in Nairobi, and not the DPU which bears
responsibility for programming, budgeting and the application of
ASAL programme resources. In some districts, ASAL funds exceed
those voted under all other programmes. Very often the two
administrative units are in separate offices. When, as in the
case of the ODA-funded Embu, Meru and Isiolo Programme, a single
PMU is placed in the Provincial Office, the opportunities for

institution-building at district level are very limited, which is
one reason why the "ODA has not been particularly successful"
(Howell, 1990) in this aspect.

It is apparent that district planning in ASAL remains extremely
weak. It is only recently that some districts established
District Planning Units (eg. Laikipia, 1989) others are still
without one. Where they exist, the DDO is beset by a massive
workload which distracts the officer from strategic issues and
leaves no time for travelling in the district, attending
locational and divisional development committees and meeting the
people he is expected to serve. Little attention has been paid
to developing the process of participatory planning or to
monitoring the degree to which it is being effected. There is
clearly a need to develop a methodology which can be widely
applied and which will encourage the participation of various
community groups.


The reasons why so little progress has been achieved with
participatory planning on ASAL programmes in Kenya would seem to
be briefly thus:

1. The organisation of participatory planning is management
intensive and the trained personnel needed to facilitate the
process are generally scarce in rural areas, particularly in

2. No widely applicable methodology has been developed by which
participation may be institutionalized.

3. The ASAL programmes have operated separately from the
District Planning Units and, in some instances, look towards
Nairobi rather than the District for guidance.

4. In any case, the district (with a population often in excess
of one million) is probably at too high an administrative
level to foster participation, divisional level is probably
the upper limit.

5. The local government system is very poorly developed in most
ASAL districts, particularly the remote pastoral ones.

6. The government budgetary process is both complex and unduly
attenuated. It does not easily accommodate the allcoation of
government funds to finance ad hoc local works.

7. Widespread corruption in the public service and the lack of
accountability among officials handling funds makes it
difficult to channel resources through the government system
to community groups.

8. The weakness of the coordinating ministry results in a high
degree of donor involvement in day-to-day management of


Government of Kenya (1979) Arid and Semi-Arid Lands Development
in Kenya: The Framework for Implementation, Programme Planning
and Evaluation, Nairobi.

Government of Kenya (1982) Farm Management Handbook of Kenya
(Vols I-V), by R. Jaetzold and Helmut Schmidt, Ministry of
Agriculture, Nairobi.

Government of Kenya (1984) District Focus for Rural Development
(revised March 1987), Office of the President, Nairobi.

Government of Kenya (1986) Economic Management for Renewed
Growth, Government Printer, Nairobi.

Howell, J. (1990) Rural Poverty and External Aid, Development
Policy Review, September.

IFAD/UNDP (1988) Arid and Semi-arid Lands (ASAL) Development
Programme: Summary of Technical Reports on the Strategy, Policy
and ASAL Development Programme 1989-93, Report No. 0131-KE,
Nairobi, 1988.

Institute of Development Studies (1973) An Overall Evaluation of
the Special Rural Development Programme, 1972, Occasional Paper
No. 8, University of Nairobi.

Lele, U. (1975) The design of Rural Development; Lessons from
Africa, Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore and London.

Rono, H. K., C. Kahumburu, A. Ngoru, and J.M. Rondo, (1990)
Research on Aspects of District Focus Strategy for Rural
Development, Kenya Institute of Administration, Nairobi.


1. ASAL is the common abbreviation for Arid and Semi-arid Lands.
The definition of ASAL is derived from the Farm Management
Handbook of Kenya (GOK, 1982) which identifies seven agro-
ecological zones (AEZs). ASAL comprise AEZ IV-VII. Twenty-two
districts, the so-called ASAL districts, have more than 30 per
cent of their area with an evapo-transpiration of more than twice
the annual rainfall, that is within AEZ IV-VII.

2. In Kitui District in 1988/9, for example, only KSh.200 was
available per professional officer to meet non-wage operating and
maintenance costs.

3. Very often junior economists several job groups lower than the
heads of department with whom they are dealing.

4. For example, in the Kitui District ASAL Programme, 59% of the
budget went to Technical Assitance (IFAD/UNDP, 1988).

5. The adverse consequences of corrupt practices in public office
were reviewed in 1987 in the "Kenya Country Study and Norwegian
Aid Review" (Chr Michelsen Institute). Since then, the situation
has not improved.


Mary Tiffen
Overseas Development Institute
Regents College
Inner Circle
Regents Park, London NW1 4NS

Participation cannot be effective if it stays at the extremely
local level. The decay of local government institutions and of
local government's independent revenue limits local people's
power to influence; it increases that of civil servants,
consultants, and aid agencies. This situation can ony be changed
by a conscious political decision of the government concerned.

The Machakos Integrated Development Programme (MIDP) was the
first District level planning programme, launched in 1978 with
European Development Fund (EDF) aid. In principle, its planning
was to be integrated, decentralised and participative.

In an evaluation carried out after the first four years, we found
that it was effectively decentralised, but to the district level
officers of the central Government Departments. There was a
structure of Locational, Divisional and District Development
Committees, in which local leaders participated, which were in
theory consulted at the outset on the planning. They identified
water as a primary need, and this was reflected in the
allocations of money under the programme. This was, however,
effectively the end of participation in planning (participation
in work continued to be desired for financial reasons). The
choice of watersheds to be developed with dams and conservation
measures were made on the grounds of technical possibilities and
administrative convenience.

Integration implies a top-down approach, since the experts decide
which activities should be integrated. It meant activities were
concentrated in certain areas, whereas the County Council, the
only elected body in the District, would have preferred a more
even spread of activities around the district. Decision making
was adaptive, in that the District Steering Committee met to
receive reports and adjust plans on a monthly schedule. Its
decisions were rubberstamped by the District Development
Committee, a large and not very effective body meeting about 3
times a year. On this, elected representatives such as the local
MPs and officers of the County Council were completely
outnumbered by officials of Government Departments.

Machakos is noteworthy for the activity of self-help groups, and
for the effectiveness of its coffee co-operatives. These
organizations carry out activities within the area of a sub-

location or location. However, one also needs an institution
that can decide priorities, make allocations of scarce resources,
and look at the overall benefits and losses of programmes that
necessarily affect several areas. Inter-locational issues are
typical of environment-related programmes: a dam may be required
in an upstream location to supply a downstream area; forestry
protection on the upper catchment may be in still another
administrative area. The institution carrying out this function
is either the District Steering Committee, consisting of civil
servants, or the local representative of the co-ordinating
Ministry (formerly Planning, now the Ministry for the Reclamation
and Development of Arid and Semi-arid Lands) together with the
consultants they appoint. The civil servants are mostly only in
the District on a temporary basis.

The consequence is that an immense reservoir of local knowledge
and talent is not utilised. The Machakos Co-operative Union, for
example, had imposed on it in the 1978 plan a credit programme
for food crops and cotton which its members had not requested,
but which the experts of the Ministry of Agriculture thought
desirable. Both programmes failed, for reasons which the
unconsulted Union officers and members could probably have
forecast. It is quite possible that an elected body would have
preferred to move more resources into animal health, and to
reduce allocations to crop support. A political body is required
to make such decisions; if it is left to the Ministries each
will seek to preserve its budget for existing activities. It is
quite apparent from the formulation document submitted in 1990 to
the EEC for the third phase of MIDP that the plan has been
prepared by (local) consultants in consultation with line
ministries, but without any input from Divisional or Locational
Planning Committees, or from elected County Councillors.

A revision of policy towards elected bodies is the responsibility
of the government and people concerned, though we know that
outside bodies could influence this, as they do on other matters,
if it became part of structural adjustment programmes. Where it
is part of government policy, as in Zambia, aid agencies can give
assistance for the training and restructuring required.

In countries where such restructuring is not on the political
agenda, there are nevertheless some ways in which an increased
local input into planning can be encouraged.

Firstly, we should not underestimate local capacity to work the
present system. The Akamba, for example, are extremely good at
lobbying. When they do not obtain what they want through
official channels, they exercise pressure through their MPs,
through NGOs, through Machakos-born officials in senior
positions, and by various other means. Examples can be given of
them obtaining official aid and NGO grants for the projects they
desire. The successful localities are, of course, those which
have influential and effective leaders.

Secondly, some of the local NGOs are themselves strong and
effective. This includes, for example, the Catholic Diocese of
Machakos. Some of these NGOs are participation minded and have
developed means by which people can exercise influence over
planning. Where, as in the case cited, they cover the whole
District, they are to some extent obliged to make decisions about
allocations by geographic region and by priority sector. Co-
operation with District-wide local NGOs is therefore one means by
which outside agencies can assist local level adaptive planning.


Henri Roggeri
Centre for Environmental Studies
Garen Market la, PO Box 9518
2300 RA Leiden
The Netherlands

The Project "Centre d'Alevinage Lagdo" (Gounougou, North-
Cameroon) aims at mitigating two of the adverse downstream
effects of the Lagdo Dam: the decrease in fish production
resulting from the absence of yearly floods, and the increase in
water-related diseases. This pilot project started in 1987 with
the creation of a fish-breeding station for the purpose of
restocking remaining wetland patches, thereby introducing fish-
culture, and conducting experiments on biological means to
control vectors of water-related diseases. During the first
implementation phases, the purpose of the project evolved towards
the set-up of a water management system at the village level,
thus illustrating the adaptation capacity of the project.

This adaptation capacity results from the project's general
approach which can be characterized by these two simple
statements: one, little is known about the ecological and socio-
economic conditions that prevail in the project area (planning
process in which "ignorance" is taken into account) and two, if
an action is undertaken, it must be perpetrated by the local
population once the project itself is completed (self-help

A number of operational principles stemmed from this approach.
Among these, the following deserve special attention.

Take the time to acquire the necessary knowledge on
technical and ecological issues, and insight in local socio-
cultural and socio-economic conditions. It is only now,
after two short phases (1 year each), that a detailed plan
of activities is being developed (during a third one-year

Focus on practical problems, preferably those identified by
the local population.

Incrementally acquire the necessary (technical and
ecological) knowledge through action-research in which
researchers/extension workers and villagers learn from each
others and from the activities carried out.

The target group has the responsibility of the final

Such an approach clearly requires both the actual participation
of the target group and an adequate attitude of the project
staff. To this respect, two lessons can already be drawn from
the project's experience.

1. In ensuring participation, the organisation of the population
is a crucial instrument. In Gounougou, where the population is
characterized by ethnic diversity and a high percentage of
immigrants, the organisation of villagers involves:

the establishment of a forum (weekly village meeting) for
discussions on current activities and problems that arise,
exchange of information, problem identification, formulation
of new ideas (local initiatives that request assistance by
the project), permanent evaluation etc.

the creation of 'functional groups' consisting of
individuals who share the same interests and are involved in
a specific activity.

Although these organisational structures are still being built,
they already have proved successful in, for instance, providing
the project with a valuable insight on some customary rights with
respect to resource use, initiating activities that help meet the
actual needs of villagers, cancelling or postponing actions
aiming at problems that were not experienced as such by the local
population, strengthening relationships between the different
groups of resource users, and establishing a close relationship
between the villagers and the project.

2. The project staff must remain open to new developments, alert
to events and incidents that occur in and around the village, and
ready to show interest and provide assistance to unplanned
activities. The staff should also constantly question the
adequacy of on-going activities with respect to the villagers'


Robert Leurs and Mal B. Sumare
Development Administration Group A. Andeley
University of Birmingham Mrs. S. Ogede
PO Box 363 Department of Local
Birmingham B15 2TT Government Studies
Ahmadu Bello University


The Development Administration Group, University of Birmingham,
in collaboration with the Department of Local Government Studies,
Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, is presently engaged in a five
year training project in project planning and management for
local government officers in the northern states of Nigeria.
During the first year of this project (1989-90), it has designed
and helped to run three project planning courses for a total of
76 heads of different local government departments (community
development, agriculture and health) and training officers from
the State Departments of Local Government Affairs. As such, we
have trained representatives from about one quarter of all 300 or
so local governments in the northern states of Nigeria.

One operational objective of these planning courses was to
promote the generation of a poverty focused grass roots
information base through the application of RRA techniques.
Course participants were therefore introduced to the philosophy
and techniques of RRA, which they were subsequently expected to
pass on to their extension staff. They were given a framework
with which to generate initial checklists for subsequent use
during course fieldwork. They were also familiarised with and
asked to prepare some diagrams which could prove useful for
project planning purposes, such as maps, seasonal calenders,
transects, historical profiles and impact diagrams. Finally,
they were introduced to the poverty identification exercise,
which was practised in mock workshop sessions.

The poverty identification exercise constituted the first
fieldwork exercise and was also used as a purposive sampling
technique to selecting the households to be visited. The sectoral
checklists prepared were then applied by multi disciplinary teams
in five villages of each of the three host local governments, in
individual/household, group and community settings. Diagrams
were also prepared by pairs of officers with small groups of
villagers. Fieldwork reports were prepared on the basis of the
information obtained during ten days of discussions and exercises
and individual personal action plans were also developed,

indicating to the training team in Zaria, how each participant
intended to train their extension staff in the philosophy and
techniques of RRA. These personal action plans were seen as a
crucial mechanism for replication of the training down to the
operational level.

Both the fieldwork reports and personal action plans were then
presented to local government secretaries, sole administrators
and councillors, as well as state department officials at a two
day follow up workshop. The purpose of this workshop was to seek
support for the implementation of these plans, as well as to
discuss the implications of attempting to institutionalize RRA
practices within Nigerian local government. The implementation
of these plans has subsequently been monitored three times by the
project team based in Zaria. These follow up visits have
revealed many problems with our efforts to institutionalise RRA
in Nigerian local government. Before going into these, however,
we would first like to itemize the positive achievements of our
training efforts.

Project Achievements

1. The local government officers trained so far are interested
in and receptive to the philosophy and techniques of RRA.

2. The officers concerned are also enthusiastic about applying
these techniques in villages within their local governments.

3. About one third of the local government officers we have
trained (25) have now trained their extension staff in RRA.

4. Similarly, two of the nine state training officers have
trained further local government officers from their states in
RRA. Two others are planning to do so in the near future.

5. Those state and local government officials that have attended
follow up workshops or that have been visited by our monitoring
team in Zaria, have all responded favourably to the idea of RRA
and the personal action plan as a mechanism for its
institutionalisation. This has been reflected in the continued
sponsorship of our courses and the financial support given to the
subsequent participant training efforts at the state and local
government levels.

6. Most of the project planning course participants who have now
also attended our follow on courses in project management
continue to be very enthusiastic about RRA and what we are trying
to achieve, despite the many obstacles which many of them have
faced in trying to implement their personal action plans over the
last eighteen months. The most important of these are outlined

Problems Encountered

1. Most of our course participants continue to think of
villagers as backward.

2. Many of them still have a poor understanding of RRA
philosophy and techniques, as well as how these apply to project
planning. The application of RRA methods during our course
fieldwork exercises failed to break through the common practice
of villagers defining their needs according to what they knew
local government traditionally provided. Combined with the
problem of a general lack of probing, this led to the generation
of superficial information about village problems and

3. Serious distortions have therefore taken place in
participant's efforts to train extension staff. Furthermore,
neither course fieldwork nor subsequent efforts by some
participants and their extension staff to apply RRA methods have
managed to initiate any process of participatory RRA within the
villages concerned.

4. The relatively few extension staff that have been trained do
generally not appear to have applied RRA methods subsequent to
their course and fieldwork training by their heads of
departments. As such, the operational objective of generating a
grass roots information base has yet to be realized.

5. Lack of political and financial support has also severely
restricted the amount of training that has taken place so far.
Heads of departments are not taken seriously as trainers (or
project planners) by their superior officers, nor do they see
themselves as trainers or planners. This lack of support can be
attributed to the poor attendance of senior local government
staff and politicians at our follow up workshops and the lack of
follow-up contact with these people by the project team and the
state departments.

These particular problems, which are directly linked at our
training effort, are aggravated by a number of other obstacles to
institutionalisation, which are discussed below.

Obstacles to Institutionalisation

1. Dialogue with villagers in northern Nigeria is mediated
through the traditional village and district heads. Many
villagers will not even talk to local government officials
without the prior approval of the traditional authorities, who
are usually represented at any village level discussions. In
addition, extension staff and other local government officials
also tend to limit their dialogue to a limited number of
influential villagers when such dialogue does occur. Even then,

these infrequent discussions tend to be superficial and
unstructured, in terms of project planning requirements.

2. Lack of exposure to the philosophy and techniques of RRA by
state department officials, councillors, senior local government
officials and other heads of departments, as well as by village
community development associations, district development
associations and so on also prevents any widespread adoption of
RRA methods, as does the general hierarchical nature of local
government and prevailing attitudes towards the local population.

3. More generally, the use of an RRA generated grass roots
information base as a basis for participatory local level project
planning within local government is likely to be constrained by
the following additional factors which determine present planning

a) Federal and state government policy priorities as laid down
in 'call circulars' which are periodically sent to local

b) Federal and state directives to participate in certain
projects or to implement certain projects on their behalf, with
or without the help of specific grants.

c) The strong tradition of continuing to do what has been done
the year before in the context of expected revenue and
inflationary trends.

d) Personal preferences of the heads of departments, in the
context of their knowledge and information, as well as
bureaucratic politics and personal relationships with the
treasurer, secretary, sole administrator or chairman and
supervisory councillors.

e) A constant infrastructural bias, which maximises the
opportunities for contracting out and which minimises the need
for contact with project beneficiaries.

f) Political pressures brought to bear on chairmen and
councillors (as well as on secretaries and sole administrators)
by village and district heads (through the emirate council),
village delegations, community development associations, task
forces etc.

g) Pressures by contractors on the head of works, treasurer and
secretary, sole administrator or councillors.

h) Personal pressures from relatives and friends.

i) In addition to these factors, extension staff are not seen as
having important information collection functions, nor are heads
of departments seen as project planners. This is hardly
surprising in a situation where capital project expenditure
typically does not exceed 10 or 20% of total local government
expenditure, most of which goes on salaries and allowances.

All the above mentioned factors have implications for future
training in RRA, which we have taken account of in the design of
the next phase of project activities, described below.

Lessons for Future Training

1. More time has to be spent training local government officers
in the philosophy and techniques of RRA, particularly in the
development and application of checklists, greater use of the
"six helpers" and a better understanding of the operational
significance of diagrammatic techniques and project planning
oriented extension worker reports.

2. More effort also needs to be made to encourage critical
analysis and modification of our RRA materials. Our RRA
materials have been uncritically accepted during course work and
mechanically applied during fieldwork so far.

3. Similarly, more time and effort has to be spent encouraging on
going participatory RRA by villagers themselves. This should
become one of the future course fieldwork objectives.

4. Future training will have to include an explicit training of
trainers package to enable participant heads of departments to
become effective trainers of their extension staff in RRA.

5. The target audience for training also has to be widened.
This will be done next year by developing teams of back up
trainers consisting of the best of our ex-course participants and
by decentralising future training to the state departments and
local governments. Future monitoring and follow up support with
the implementation of personal action plans will also be further
decentralised with greater involvement of the back up training
and monitoring teams.

6. The best participants of these new field based training
courses will also be trained at future training of trainer
courses, so that state training teams can eventually cover all
local governments in their states without the assistance of the
present project team of trainers at Ahmadu Bello University.

7. A new post course monitoring system will have to be devised,
to analyse and resolve problems with the new phase of training,
as well as to inform future project redesign.

We are confident that the incorporation of these lessons from
experience to date will significantly improve the chances of
successful institutionalisation of RRA in local government in
northern Nigeria. However, the implementation and impact of this
new training strategy will itself depend on a number of factors
which are briefly examined below.

Future Prospects

The success of the proposed future training policy outlined above
will depend on several factors.

1. State and local government agreement in allowing their
training officers and heads of departments to become trainers
within and outside their own organizations. This represents a
new role for these officers that will have to be added to their
existing responsibilities.

2. The ability of consultants and the project team at ABU to
effectively train such future trainers.

3. The development of local RRA materials, a good communications
system and a post-course monitoring and evaluation structure that
can feed back into the training project.

More importantly, any widespread application of RRA methods in
local government in northern Nigeria will depend on the following
additional changes.

1. An acceptance by traditional village leaders of participatory
RRA methods.

2. An acceptance by councillors and senior local government
officials of the legitimacy of a grassroots information base
generated in this way, as a base for project formulation,
selection and approval.

3. Acknowledgement and respect of the planning responsibilities
of extension staff, sectional heads and operational departmental

4. An acceptance at state and Federal levels of a greater level
of local government autonomy in formulating policy priorities and
associated local government projects and programmes.

5. Increased revenue for capital project expenditure, as well as
for the costs of the project planning process itself.

We believe that a larger and more effective training programme
can generate a momentum which will induce many of the required
changes outlined above. The only major longer term constraints
upon which training is likely to have relatively little impact
are what levels of resources and autonomy future civilian Federal
and state governments in Nigeria are prepared to accord to local
government. However, continued uncertainty about these questions
should not stop us from continuing our efforts at introducing the

philosophy and methods of RRA into Nigerian local government, as
a basis for more participative local level development planning
in the future.


Kate Wellard
Overseas Development Institute
Regents College
Inner Circle
Regents Park, London NW1

Non-government organizations (I include here both local and
international NGOs and local membership organizations) have moved
away from exclusively relief functions and are increasingly
involved in development and empowerment of their members or
client group. Where NGO projects and programmes are planned in
conjunction with local groups, a degree of participation in
planning at local level may be achieved. If NGOs are able to
represent the views of their members at national level, then
potentially they can act as brokers between rural people and
government planners, research and extension staff on a much wider

Whether this potential is realized depends on certain factors,
both exogenous eg the nature of interaction between government
and NGOs, and the existence of donor pressure, and endogenous eg
size and status of the NGO, the extent to which it is able to
represent genuine interests, and its technical capability.

This summary addresses the last of these. Case studies of NGOs
who have initiated agricultural and environmental research and
extension (R&E) activities in response to an identified local
need are examined. Many have gone on to address wider research
questions, linking up with other organizations locally or
nationally through networks, and collaborating with or lobbying
government on policy issues or development programmes.

Successful translation of local farmers' needs into practical R&E
programmes is seen as dependent upon:

- NGOs' ability to identify these needs, design and appraise
appropriate interventions and carry out participatory research

- this in turn depends on their approach, technical expertise
and other resources. Where they do not have specialist
resources in-house, there may be a possibility of
collaboration with government R&E services

- the amount of professional interaction between NGO and
government R&E staff

- acceptance by government and donors of NGOs as legitimate
contributors to their agricultural R&E agendas.


Tony Bebbington
Centre of Latin American Studies
University of Cambridge

Much of the enthusiasm for participatory grassroots level
planning by NGOs and peasant organizations has often neglected
the broader regional and national political economy with which
these institutions operate. Yet this context has great influence
over the opportunities and constraints that face non-governmental
and peasant organizations. Moreover, many of the factors
influencing the dynamics of these wider systems occur beyond the
immediate influence of local organizations. It is perhaps the
fact that the impacts of such wider processes and relationships
are felt at a community level that has stimulated the search for
local level diagnoses to the neglect of higher level solutions.

Nonetheless, diagnoses conducted only at a local level may fail
to identify underlying causes of local problems. Land use
degradation, for example, might be identified as a central
problem for communities during the planning activities of local
organizations, who may then embark on participatory soil
conservation strategies based on local knowledge. But the deeper
causes of that degradation, such as product prices and lack of
off-farm employment in local labour markets, cannot be directly
addressed by such local institutions; nor can they be solved
inside the community.

Local organizations suffer further limitations. Their local
focus frequently impedes information flows among different
organizations, leading to the duplication of mistakes and the
failure to multiply a successful innovation from one organisation
to others. Similarly, a local orientation may be an obstacle to
addressing problems which cut across the borders of several
organizations (such as irrigation systems). While the socio-
political orientation of many such organizations may play the
important role of criticizing inappropriate government
activities, it can also imbue excessively critical, and indeed
mistaken, images of a monolithic government.

This may lead local organizations to overlook offices and
individuals within the public sector who are broadly sympathetic
to local NGO concerns. Consequently, potential complementarities

and co-ordinators between the two sectors are not exploited (such
as the technological contributions that the public sector could
make to local organizations that frequently lack technological
skills). This represents an inefficient use of resources. It is
likely that such inefficiency will be the greater with the
increasing proliferation of non-membership local NGOs.

There are good reasons why Andean non-membership NGOs adopted
such strategies in the past. Having frequently been formed in
resistance to non-democratic governments, a local orientation
allowed them a closer contact with the bases, facilitating
efforts to strengthen popular organisation. In addition, it
allowed a more efficient (and adaptive) delivery of economic and
social services, which in turn helped to strengthen the NGO's
relationship to these popular organizations. Being critical of,
and distant from, the public sector also helped NGOs to avoid co-
optation and any implication in the policy failures and
politicisation of government programmes, protecting the NGO from
the loss of popular legitimacy that would automatically result
from this.

Nonetheless, the last decade in Latin America has seen two
changes of significance for such NGO strategies. Transitions to
electoral democracy have meant that states are not now so overtly
repressive as they previously were. This change also presents
NGOs with the difficult fact that government is now to some
degree popularly elected whilst NGOs are not. Secondly, in
recent years, governments have also been under the pressure of
donors to reduce the size of the state, and collaborate with NGOs
for the implementation of social programmes. While flawed in
many respects, these policy orientations open channels through
which NGOs may now have more opportunity to influence state
policy and structure. This more favourable political environment
has allowed both NGOs and some of their advocates to address more
explicitly the limitations of local NGO projects in a way that
would have been inappropriate in earlier, more repressive
atmospheres. The issue of how NGOs should move from a hostile
toward a more collaborative and influential relationship with the
state is of especially increasing concern.

In this context the idea of "scaling up" takes on particular
significance. While loosely defined, "scaling up" deals with
strategies aimed at widening the impact of local NGOs. Many
would argue that this ought to imply some form of relation
between the NGO and the state. There are, however, several
layers to the concept. Firstly, is the concern to replicate
local innovations in other local organizations across a wider
area. Replication, however, may not address the deeper causes of
local problems, and other variants of "scaling up" strategies are
concerned to identify how to move from a local project to a
regional or national programme, and indeed how to move from the
experience of a local project and local organisation to fora
which achieve national policy reform.

These concerns suggest that it is timely to devise strategies
that cut across spatial scales and institutional boundaries:
strategies that think explicitly about the relationship of local
projects to regional and national processes of social
development, and that bring NGOs and the state together. Such
strategies would also build practical bridges between recent work
on participatory development and the contributions of earlier
theories of regional underdevelopment.

These concerns are current among many Andean NGOs, and are the
topic of a collaborative research project involving the Overseas
Development Institute-London, the Centre for Tropical
Agricultural Research-Bolivia, a Colombian NGO, Celater, and the
author. A range of emerging NGO strategies have been identified,
of which the following are some examples. One Ecuadorian NGO,
concerned that its local activities have achieved few sustainable
impacts over the last decade is now moving toward a multi-level
research strategy addressing local, regional and national
processes in an attempt to generate policy alternatives that
embrace the three levels simultaneously. With the support of its
foreign public sector donor, another Ecuadorian NGO has long
sought to co-finance rural projects with the public sector. The
NGO's and donor's goals are to influence the state's thinking and
policy, and to achieve a wider implementation of the NGO's
participatory approach to planning and administration in the
state sector. In short, the aim is to change the state rather
than simply criticise it.

In Bolivia, groups of NGOs have collaborated in co-ordinated
agricultural research and extension projects, sharing information
and this year beginning to address area-wide problems of water
management. One implicit concern of the co-ordinators of these
projects is that such integrated NGO projects could serve as a
model for future state initiatives. Within Bolivia there is also
a trend towards the formation of NGO co-ordinating networks at a
departmental level aimed at improving collaboration and
information exchange among NGOs.

A future goal of one such network is to develop agreed upon
departmental policy alternatives to offer to the government. The
network is also intended to provide a united NGO front around
these policy alternatives when the government approaches NGOs for
collaborative relationships in rural development programmes (as
donors are currently encouraging it to do). In the process, the
network aims both to influence policy and to press from the NGO
sector for the decentralisation of government policy making
processes in order to make them more relevant to local

These strategies suggest institutional innovations in the non-
governmental sector that donors could support in order to
overcome the constraints of an excessively local focus. One or a
group of donors could, for instance, fund similar programmes in
both non-governmental and public sectors, and use this position
to bring the two sectors closer together in a way that allows

NGOs greater influence over public sector policy, and greater
access to the public sector resources that NGOs lack. Such
funding could also improve co-ordination between the two sectors
and among NGOs. It may not be the role for large policy and
programme lending agencies to fund NGOs directly, and many NGOs
express great concern at being overburdened by such donors.
Nonetheless, such large donors could still strengthen NGO
influence over regional policy and programme reform by fostering
NGO-state collaboration in both the administration and design of
the programmes supported.


Alan Fowler
Glenfinnan, Lewes Road
Ringmer, Sussex BN8 5QD

The last decade has produced an increasing number of articles and
studies dedicated to analysing and improving the management of
non-governmental organizations (NGOs) involved in socioeconomic
development in the Third World (2). Frequently discussed in
such writings are: a) the reticence of NGOs to accept that they
have a management problem and, b) whether the (scientific)
management techniques and methods used by other types of
organizations profit-making enterprises and government
bureaucracies in Western environments, have any relevance for
NGOs. The workshops and courses on NGO management regularly
noted in NGO periodicals and other publications suggest that NGOs
now accept the need to improve their management effectiveness.
This article, therefore, addresses the question of what is
specific about the management of non-profit, value-driven
organizations involved in social development? (3).

Many management development and training services available to
NGOs are derived from experiences in other types of organizations
in the context of the industrialized North. NGOs therefore
rightly ask the question, "Is what's on offer suitable for who we
are, where we are and for what we do?" But NGOs have a problem
in answering this question because they don't find it easy to
define the critical differences between organizations whose
purpose is socioeconomic development in the Third World and
others whose purpose is profit or the running of a nation state.
NGOs seldom have a clear idea of the necessary distinctions and
demands-in management terms-between themselves and these other
types of organisation. As a result, NGOs find it difficult to
decide what is appropriate management for development and
therefore how best to develop their management.

While theories of welfare management can help clarify some of the
issues involved, I believe that almost thirty years of
development effort provides grounds for identifying the necessary
differences between the management of social development and
other enterprises.

Analysis of contrasts between commercial, governmental and non-
profit voluntary organizations can therefore help in (a)
designing appropriate methods for improving NGO management, (b)
determining the suitability of the management services already
available, and (c) providing NGOs with insight and more self-
confidence in arguing about what can or can't be learnt from the
commercial and government sectors in the North.

With a focus on service NGOs involved in rural socioeconomic
development in developing countries, this brief paper describes
reasons why their management must differ from the other two types
of organizations if they are to be effective. Four factors are
constrasted. First is the relationship between the producers and
the clients of what the organisation achieves; second are the
organisation's environmental relations; third is the source of an
organizations resources; and, fourth are differences in
regulation of organisational performance through client feedback.
Hopefully, by understanding differences in these areas NGOs will
be in a better position to decide how to tackle the development
of their management capabilities; to select from the services on
offer; and, most importantly, to realise that most of the
learning about improving NGO performance will have to come from
within the NGO sector itself.

Relations Between Producers and Clients

All organizations are created for a purpose, they are all meant
to achieve or produce something. However, the relationship
between the producers and clients or an organisation's 'product'
varies significantly for commercial, governmental and voluntary
agencies, creating quite different management demands. In
commercial enterprise the producers are normally employees under
a manager's direct control. What the organisation produces is
sold as a material item or a service to a client, the buyer, who
decides if he or she wants what competing organizations have to
offer (monopolies aside). The buyer pays money, takes ownership
and usually here the relationship between organisation and client
ends. The producer is distinct and separate from the client.
Interaction between client and organisation is self-willed, based
on a transaction and more often than not momentary. A manager's
span of control does not (need to) encompass the client, as the
production process is internal to the organisation.

Governments have employees (civil servants) and clients
(citizens). For the client, government's 'products' include:
regulations, security, (the value of) money, plans, social and
welfare services, infrastructures, legal controls and their
enforcement. Again, the civil servant and the client are
distinct, but in certain circumstances the client may be
officially incorporated into what a government organisation
produces. For example, Africa's farmers are often required to
reach government targets in their agricultural production and
sell only to parastatal marketing boards at fixed prices. So, in
certain situations the client is tied into a government
organisation's production process without being its employee.
The relationship is often permanent and obligatory. The
simultaneity of citizens being a client in one setting and
producer in another is made possible through regulation and
authority. Here, a civil servant's span of control does
encompass the client and, because of the compulsory relationship
provided by legal obligation, the production process is both
inside and outside the public enterprise.

Experience has shown that it is rural people who produce their
(self-) development, not NGOs and their staff. Rural people must
own induced social development processes and benefits if they are
to be sustainable. These facts dictate that NGOs relate to
clients as the actual producers of the organisation's 'product',
ie recognize that client and producer are one. Thus an NGO's
influence has to extend beyond its organisational boundaries into
communities because the production process is by the people, ie
outside the organisation itself. Unlike commercial business, NGO
managers must bring the producer/client and only extend their
influence through dialogue and negotiation. Further, involvement
of an NGO with clients in their social development is not
momentary, but nor should it be permanent if dependency is to be
avoided. NGOs intervene temporarily but do not remain (5).

To summarise, in commercial business, client and producer are
separate and the interaction is momentary based on exchange; with
government, a citizen can be both client and a (tied) producer,
in a relationship based on control; but, for NGOs the client is
the producer, the duration of interaction is temporary, based on

Relating to the Outside World

The three types of organisation commercial, governmental and
NGOs tend to adopt distinctive strategies for relating to their
external environments.

In order to protect themselves against adverse conditions in the
outside world commercial businesses use two major devices.
Firstly, they try and isolate themselves from external
influences, for higher productivity is obtained when a production
system is not disrupted. Building-up buffer stocks, forward
contracts with suppliers to ensure inputs, and negotiating
overdrafts with banks to protect cash flow, are all ways by which
commercial organizations try to insulate production processes.
Secondly, businesses try to condition the external world to their
advantage normally through advertising but also by buying out
the competition or market manipulation. They endeavour to create
the right market conditions for their products and spend a lot of
money doing so.

Governments, on the other hand, have the power to create much of
their own (national) environments. Laws, regulations, standards,
taxes, quotas, plans, incentives, and instruments for their
enforcement are all at the disposal of a government whose primary
strategy towards the outside world is usually one of regulation
and control. And, while the degree to which governments try to
direct aspects of economic, social and cultural life vary,
control and regulation underlie the way they view and treat the
outside world. Management internally and externally is based on
authority, hopefully derived from some legitimate, popular
democratic process.

Value-driven development agencies rarely possess legal
instruments of control and, because it is the client who actually
produces development, NGOs must seek to integrate themselves with
external environment, normally through dialogue and negotiation
with the community. The nature of induced socioeconomic
development by the non-government sector means that NGOs must
therefore do the opposite, they must listen, respond to, embrace
and be absorbed by their operational environments. Their special
challenge is to organise for and manage this necessity.

The contrast between the three type of organizations in their
environmental relations are therefore ones of isolation or
manipulation, authority or control, and negotiation or

Organisational Resources

The third important distinction between businesses, governments
and NGOs is source of the financial resources that they need to
function and survive.

Commercial businesses derive their resources from clients who pay
for their goods and services, ie client and resource are coupled.

Governments obtain their resources from the populace through
taxes and from payments for some of the services they provide,
again client and resources are coupled.

For NGOs, the financial resources needed to function are derived,
in a variety of ways, from donors and very seldom from the
client, ie the client and organisational resources are divorced.

Figure 1. Comparison of organisational resources and client relations

Type of
Organisation Client


For Profit


Donors--- NGOs






- Demands



--> Needs

The fact that the client to be served is not the source of the
funds needed for an NGO to perform and survive is one important
reason for differences in management between the three types of
organizations. This separation not to mention the project
basis for financing can be the source of many difficulties
because resources play such a critical role in how an
organisation develops and functions. Example of management and
performance issues encountered by NGOs when resources are split
from clients are: multiple, conflicting accountabilities;
prevalence of inappropriate supply-driven services; maintenance
of a self-perpetuating supply, unresponsiveness to changing
demand; translation of client reality into the world of the
donor; and, an NGO growth dominated by supply instead of need.

Performance Control

The dissimilarities described above impact on the way that the
performance of an organisation can be assessed and regulated by
clients. Feedback on client satisfaction with commercial
enterprise is direct and usually quick. Loss of sales is a
pretty good and clear message to a profit oriented organisation
that something is wrong.

Citizens' ability to indicate dissatisfactionn to governments
can be immediate on specific issues, for example through public
protests, or more structurally through widespread civil
disobedience such as large scale tax evasion. Longer term,
people's feelings about government performance can be
communicated through the electoral process where this is fair and
representative. However, usually such performance indicators are
indirect expressions of performance, take a long time to affect
bureaucratic change in democracies and usually fail to do so in

The ability of clients to provide feedback to and through NGOs to
donors is difficult at the best of times. However, it is
severely impeded when the clientele reside in a different world
hemisphere. In this circumstance the chance of any systematic
inputs from those supposed to benefit from an NGO's actions to
the actual suppliers of resources the NGO relies on, the donors,
is very limited, if not non-existent (5). Hence NGO performance
assessment and regulation via client feedback to the resource
provider is seldom achieved (6). Evaluation cannot adequately
fulfil this function, yet it is the tool most used to appraise
organisational performance. NGOs must create other mechanisms to
provide this function (7).

All of the foregoing are an expression of the fact that a set of
values provide the rationale and foundation for the existence of
non-profit organizations. Values are critical because they
provide the needed impetus, identity, direction, and staff unity
required for effective work and determine which tasks must
dominate, the skills required, the balance between trust and
control, what decisions can be made by who at what levels, the
limits of planning, how responsibility and authority are spread
and who "owns" change processes.

Such contrasts, plus differences in the political, economic and
social systems in Third World countries, all contribute to the
unique challenges for NGOs managing socioeconomic development
which is intended to benefit the poor and vulnerable. NGOs
should therefore look critically at the services now being
offered to help them become more effective. They should try and
find out whose experiences are being used, where they come from
and how they have been tested. It now seems likely, for example,
that using management methods proven by Southern NGOs may be more
appropriate than those from the North.

Trying to improve NGO management by simply adapting and adopting
techniques and designs from other types of organizations in
Western settings has reached its limits; the differences involved
are too significant. Time is ripe to accord the status of a sub-
discipline in management science to the management of
socioeconomic development by the third sector in the third world.
This requires that NGOs learn more methodically by analysing
their actions. To do so systematically calls for a higher
priority to be given to the allocation of funds for NGO self-
reflection and sharing of experience than has been the case to

Most significantly, however, the biggest challenge for those
interested in improving NGO effectiveness is to be led by a
vision of the value-driven sector in future society instead of
being driven by poor NGO performance as is the trend at present.

Summary of differences in organisational characteristics

Type of organisation

Characteristic Commercial Government NGOs

Producer/client rel.
-relationship Separate Tied Identical
-duration Momentary Permanent Temporary
-basis Transaction Obligation Intervention

Relation to the Isolation Control/ Negotiation/
outside world Conditioning Authority Integration

Source of resources Clients Citizens Donors

Feedback Direct from Indirect Missing
clients citizens


1. This is a revised version of an article in NGO Management, No.
12, published by the International Council of Voluntary
Agencies, Geneva, January-March, 1990

2. The Management Newsletter published by the International
Council of Voluntary Agencies (ICVA) is one reference for such
sources, as are the Working Papers of the Research Program on
Non-Profit Organisations of Yale University and publications
of the Management Unit at the National Council for Voluntary
Organizations (NCVO) in London. Two useful books on NGO
Management are (a) Charles Handy, Understanding Voluntary
Organizations, Penguin, 1988, Harmondsworth, and (b) Peter
Drucker, Managing the Non Profit Organisation: Principles and
Practices, Harper Collins, 1990, New York.

3. Increasingly, NGOs are being regarded as one type of
organisation within the "value driven", or third sector.
Value-driven organizations do not have profit (business) or
regulation and control (government) as their primary purpose
or reason for existence. Because organizations within the
value-driven sector are so diverse it is still difficult to
regard the sector as a sector. This brief paper is intended
to be one small contribution to further focus thinking about
the third sector and its development.

4. For a detailed discussion of the concept of "intervention"in
development see Alan Fowler, "Non Governmental Organisations:
Achieving Comparative Advantage in Micro Development",
Discussion Paper, No. 249, Institute of Development Studies,
University of Sussex, August, 1988.

5. A major exception can be NGOs that raise their funds from the
general public for expenditure within) an identifiable
population in the Third World. Child sponsorship agencies
would be an example.

6. This point parallels current socialists' debates in European
countries on the possibility of developing a social as
opposed to an economic-market to regulate performance of
state-provided services.

7. Clients in development do, of course, eventually provide
feedback by either supporting or rejecting an NGO
intervention. An important indicator of people's feedback is
sustainability of benefits.

C: Participants: Local Level Adaptive Planning Workshop
13-14 December

Martin Adams, Cambridge

Adrian Atkinson, Development Planning Unit, University
College, London

Chris Barrow, Centre for Development Studies, Swansea

Tony Bebbington, Centre of Latin American Studies, Cambridge

Jannik Boesen, CDR, Denmark

Margie Buchanan-Smith, Institute of Development Studies (IDS),

Robert Chambers, ASCI, Hyderabad, India

Godfrey Cromwell, ITDG, Rugby

Donald Curtis, DAG, University Birmingham

Barry Dalal-Clayton, IIED, London

Susanna Davies, IDS, Brighton

Carel Drijver, CES, Leiden

Simon Foot, Huntings Technical Service

Alan Fowler, East Sussex

Tony Gibson, Neighbourhood Initiatives Foundation, Nottingham

John Gowing, University of Newcastle

Martin Greeley, IDS, Brighton

Robin Grimble, Natural Resources Institute, Chatham

Irene Guijt, IIED, London

Mick Howes, IDS, Brighton

Bruce King, NRI, Chatham

Melissa Leach, IDS, Brighton

Robert Leurs, DAG, Birmingham

Kees Manintveld, ETC, The Netherlands

Robin Mearns, IDS, Brighton

Billy Mukamuri, ENDA Zimbabwe, Harare

Miranda Munro, AERDD, Reading

Peter Oakley, University of Reading

Bolaji Ogunseye, IIED, London

F. Petry, Policy Analysis Division, FAO, Rome

Jules Pretty, IIED, London

Philip Raikes, CDR, Copenhagen

Chris Roche, ACORD, London

Henri Roggeri, CES, Leiden

Ian Scoones, IIED, London

Andrew Shepherd, DAG, Birmingham

Daag Skoog, IIED, London

Hugo Slim, Rural Evaluations, Boscastle

Achim Steiner, GTZ, Denmark

Jeremy Swift, IDS, Brighton

Mary Tiffin, ODI, London

Cathy Watson, ITDG, Rugby

Kate Wellard, ODI, London

Adrian Wood, Dept. of Geographical Sciences, Polytechnic of

Tove Romasaas Wang, Redd Barna (Norwegian Save the Children)


RRA Notes 1: June 1988

1. RRA Methods Workshop in Thailand
2. Notes of an RRA Meeting held in Sussex
3. Pairwise Ranking in Ethiopia
4. Direct Matrix Ranking in Kenya and
West Bengal
5. Recent Publications

Jules Pretty
Robert Chambers
Gordon Conway
Robert Chambers

Jennifer McCracken

RRA Notes 2: October 1988

1. Using RRA to Formulate a Village Resources
Management Plan, Mbusanyi, Kenya
2. Learning About Wealth: An example from
3. Investigating Poverty: An example from

Charity Kabutha
and Richard Ford
Ian Scoones

Sheila Smith
and John Sender

RRA Notes 3: December 1988

1. Ranking of Browse Species by Cattlekeepers
in Nigeria
2. Direct Matrix Ranking in Papua New Guinea
3. Sustainability Analysis
4. Oral Histories and Local Calendars
5. Portraits and Stories
6. Bibiliographic Notes

Wolfgang Bayer

Robin Mearns
Iain Craig
Robin Mearns
Jules Pretty

RRA Notes 4: February 1989

1. Wealth Ranking in a Caste Area of
2. Popular Theatre through Video in
Costa Rica
3. Participatory RRA in Gujarat
4. Successful Networking!
5. Distribution List

RRA Notes 5: May 1989

1. Letter to the Editor
2. The "Fertiliser Bush" Game:
A Participatory Means of Communication
3. Rapid Appraisal for Fuelwood Planning
in Nepal

4. Rapid Food Security Assessment:
A Pilot Exercise in Sudan
5. RRA Has a Role to Play in Developed

Ruth Grosvenor-Alsop

Keith Anderson

Jennifer McCracken

Barbara Grandin
Kristin Cashman

John Soussan
& Els Gevers

Simon Maxwell

Peter Ampt &
Raymond Ison

RRA Notes 6: June 1989

1. Rapid Assessment of Artisanal Systems:
A Case Study of Rural Carpentry
Enterprises in Zimbabwe
2. The Rural Rides of William Cobbett:
RRA and Sustainable Agriculture in 1820s
3. A Note on the Use of Aerial Photographs
for Land Use Planning on a Settlement
Site in Ethiopia
4. Using Rapid Rural Appraisal for Project
Identification: Report on a training
exercise in Jama'are Local Government
Area, Bauchi State, Northern Nigeria
5. Visualising Group Discussions with
Impromptu Cartoons
6. The Use of Community Theatre in
Project Evaluation: An
Experiment from Zimbabwe Simd

Godfrey Cromwell

Jules Pretty

Dick Sandford

Michael Hubbard,

Jeli Scheuermeier

Andrea Cornwall,
4athou Chakavanda,
bisai Makumbirofa,
Guilter Shumba &
Abraham Mawere

RRA Notes 7: September 1989

Special issue of proceedings of 2nd joint IDS/IIED RRA Reveiw
Workshop, Sussex, England. Includes summaries of presented
papers on topics of diagrams, aerial photographs, interviews and
groups, ranking, health, participatory approaches, and monitoring
and evaluation. Also includes notes on discussions of these
topics, plus the ideology of RRA, the dangers of RRA, training in
RRA and the future of RRA.

RRA Notes 8: January 1990

1. Nutrition and RRA Judith Appleton
2. The Use of Wealth Ranking in Nutrition Helen Young
Surveys in Sudan
3. The Role of Community Participants in Dessalegn Debebe
RRA Methods in Ethiopia
4. Attitudes to Income-Earning Opportunities: Simon Maxwell
Report of a Ranking Exercise in Ethiopia
5. Economic Classification of a Community Parmesh Shah
Using Locally Generated Criteria
6. Publications: Manuals and Guidelines Jennifer McCracken

RRA Notes 9: August 1990

1. Wealth Ranking: A Method to
Identify the Poorest
2. Rapid Rural Appraisal: Lessons
Learnt from Experiences in the

Verona Groverman

Victoria Ortega-Espaldon
and Leonardo Florece

3. Some Techniques for Rapid Rural
Appraisal of Artisanal Infrastructures
4. Hearing Aids for Interviewing

5. Participatory Rural Appraisal: Is it
Culturally Neutral?
Thoughts from a PRA in Guinea-Bissau

Godfrey Cromwell

John Mitchell and
Hugo Slim
Weyman Fussell

RRA NOTES 10: February 1991

1. Farmer Participation on On-Farm Varietal
Trials: Multilocational Testing under
Resource Poor Conditions

2. Rural Development in the Highlands of
North America: The Highlander Economic
Education Project

The women of
Pastapur, &
Michel Pimbert

John Gaventa &
Helen Lewis

3. Assessing Women's Needs in Gaza Using Heather Grady,
Participatory Rapid Appraisal Amal Abu Daqqa, Fadwa
Techniques Hassanein, Fatma Soboh,
Itimad Muhana, Maysoon Louzon,
Noha el-Beheisi, Rawhiya Fayyad,
Salwa el-Tibi and Joachim Theis

4. The Bias of Interviewing

5. The Outsider Effect

6. Focussing Formal Surveys in Thailand:
A Use for Rapid Rural Appraisal

John Mitchell &
Hugo Slim

Ueli Scheuermeier

Karen Ehlers &
Christine Martins

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