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					       Review of World Bank Literature
Rural Poverty Interventions with Local Participation

                 Draft September 2003
I. Introduction – What is Participation?
The World Bank defines participation as follows:

     Participation is a process through which stakeholders influence and share control over
     development initiatives and the decisions and resources which affect them.

Participation can mean many things to people in different institutions and contexts. Since Mr. James
Wolfensohn was appointed president of the World Bank, he has been very supportive of participatory
approaches both in policies and programs. In his 1998 speech at the Annual Meetings, Mr. Wolfensohn
said: “Participation matters--not only as a means of improving development effectiveness, as we know from
our recent studies—but as the key to long-term sustainability and leverage. We must never stop reminding
ourselves that it is up to the government and its people to decide what their priorities should be. We must
never stop reminding ourselves that we cannot and should not impose development by fiat from above--or
abroad.” (Aycrigg 1998, p.1)

The World Bank‟s commitment to participation is not new, having been endorsed in the September 1994
report: The World Bank and Participation. To further strengthen this commitment, the World Bank created
The World Bank Participation Sourcebook (Sourcebook), which demonstrates to staff how best to
incorporate participatory approaches in their work. In the foreword to the Sourcebook, Mr. Wolfensohn
encouraged his staff “to learn from the practical experience of their colleagues in order to produce better
results on the ground, improve development efforts, and more effectively reach the poor.” (World Bank 1996,

The Sourcebook demonstrates the steps being incorporated into World Bank activities and that indicate a
willingness to work collaboratively. Both project sponsors and designers put themselves “inside the local
social system being addressed.” The steps to this collaborative process are:

               Identify the strengths and weaknesses of existing policies and service and support systems;
                that is, the stakeholders conduct the analysis and diagnosis collaboratively.
               Decide and articulate what is needed; that is, the stakeholders collaboratively set objectives.
               Decide in pragmatic terms, directions, priorities, and institutional responsibilities; that is, the
                stakeholders collaboratively create a strategy.
               Develop or oversee development of project policies, specifications, blueprints, budgets, and
                technologies needed to move from the present to the future; that is, the stakeholders
                collaboratively formulate project tactics. (World Bank 1996, p.3).

The principal characteristic of the above-described participatory approach is the “collaborative stance the
project sponsors and designers take in carrying out these steps so that stakeholders influence and share
control over the decisions that are made.” (World Bank 1996, p.3).

For those who are interested in looking more closely at the Sourcebook, the document may be viewed
through either of the following links:

The World Bank Participation Sourcebook http://www-

This review paper looks closely at several papers and studies that have evaluated the participatory approach
and experience of World Bank-financed projects (as well as a few examples from other institutions). Where
possible, direct links to view the relevant paper/study/project document in its entirety are included in the text
of the review for those interested in more detail. The review will conclude by looking at two specific World

Bank-financed projects, both with strong participatory aspects, and will pose some pertinent questions to
consider in developing participatory initiatives.

II.     Participatory Evaluation for Rural Development in Sri Lanka (World Bank, 1997)

Two World Bank-supported rural development projects in Sri Lanka have illustrated the cost of a lack of
community participation in both the planning of a project and in the evaluation of its results,
according to an impact evaluation by the World Bank‟s Operations Evaluation Department (OED). “The two
projects, carried out in the 1980s, adopted a top-down, „blueprint‟ approach and did not involve local
beneficiaries in planning and design. The shortcomings of these methods became apparent during the
evaluation process, which involved farmers, households, community organizations, and government workers.
Through the process of participatory evaluation, there emerged an increased awareness of the ways in
which participation in all phases of a project can lead to success.” (World Bank 1997a, p.1)

These two projects, the Kurunegala Rural Development Project (KRDP), approved in 1979, and the Second
Rural Development Project (SRDP), approved in 1981, provided valuable lessons that have since guided Sri
Lanka's integrated rural development program, which has evolved considerably over the past 10 to 15 years.
Projects now encourage beneficiary participation and use process planning—a learning-by-doing approach.
The Matara Rural Development Project, for example, which was patterned after the KRDP, changed its
design features in the course of project implementation to allow for beneficiary participation. Subsequent
projects (funded by GTZ and UNICEF in Kurunegala and Puttalam and by DANIDA in Matale) have
promoted and trained water users' associations.

Beneficiary participation in development activities became a key element of Sri Lanka's rural development
policy. Instead of designing interventions from the top-down, as in the KRDP and SRDP, current projects
incorporate bottom-up initiatives conceived and requested by beneficiaries. Participation is seen to have
clear advantages: people get what they want (within the limits of available resources), and they are
committed to maintaining assets created under the projects. (World Bank 1997b, p.78)

Starting with the Moneragala project (supported by NORAD) in the mid-1980s, bilaterally funded Integrated
Rural Development Programs began adopting participatory approaches, and by 1990 the entire Integrated
Rural Development Program (IRDP) had incorporated participatory elements into project design. (World
Bank 1997b, p.78). Most projects now include the following activities to promote community mobilization
and participatory village planning:

- they identify target communities or settlement clusters and potential "social mobilizers" within them;
- they create awareness through social mobilization;
- they organize people for mutual support and community development through, for example, interest
groups, producer groups, and village forums;
- they establish group savings funds and build up financial management capacity and creditworthiness;
- they identify potentials and constraints through participatory rural appraisal and group discussion and
develop available farm and nonfarm resources through individual and group initiatives such as labor
- they provide training and other support for resource development;
- they organize community development activities and programs; and
- they incorporate village development plans into sub regional or divisional development plans. (World Bank
1997b, p.78)

This experience in Sri Lanka makes a very strong case that “full local participation must become an
integral part of project planning, implementation, and evaluation.” (World Bank 1997a, p.1).

For a complete copy of the Sri Lanka projects Précis, which describes in further detail the objectives,
outcomes, and lessons learned from KRDP and SRDP, please refer to Appendix A or to the link referenced

III.    The Contribution of People’s Participation. Evidence from 121 Rural Water Supply Projects
        (World Bank, 1995)


Some of the World Bank‟s earliest participatory approach findings were documented in a 1995 paper issued
by the Environmentally Sustainable Development Department. The report highlighted the importance of local
participation and social organization in the success of rural water supply programs. The study analyzed 121
rural water supply projects funded by different agencies and in countries all over the world, and
demonstrated consistently the importance of beneficiary participation in achieving functioning water systems
and building local capacity. The most common problem identified in the study was a “reluctance to give up
control or to invest in developing the capacity of local organizations.” (Narayan 1995, p. vii)

The paper identified four levels of participation, some or all of which were found in any of the 121 projects.
The levels are: information sharing, consultation, decision making, and initiating action.

Information Sharing: project designers share information with clients and communities; communication is
one-way; though low level, it can have a positive impact on project outcomes (for example, explaining to
clients how groundwater is polluted).

Consultation: project designers, in addition to inform clients, seek their opinions, thus creating two-way
communication (for example, using indigenous knowledge and learning about their attitudes through

Decision Making: Clients and communities participate in some decision making. This participation can be
about policies, project design, implementation, or maintenance, and can involve different parties at the
different project stages. This can lead to increased local capacity and empowerment unlike the above-
described levels, which lead only to increased project effectiveness.

Initiating Action: Project designers respond to initiatives from clients and communities. Self-initiated
actions are a sign of empowerment; once this attained, clients are more likely to take initiative, be proactive,
and undertake other actions beyond the scope of a particular project.

            MAIN FINFINGS
             Beneficiary participation leads to project effectiveness
             Beneficiary participation is required to achieve sustainable
               operation and maintenance
             Beneficiaries must be involved in the decision-making
               process from beginning to end to achieve the best results

This rural water project study began by statistically establishing the positive relationships between
participation and project results. It then took an in-depth look at the project experiences and highlighted
three main findings: (a) beneficiary participation leads to project effectiveness, though the form of
participation varies from project to project; (b) beneficiary participation is required to achieve sustainable
operation and maintenance; and (c) beneficiaries must be involved in the decision-making process from
beginning to end to achieve the best results.

A. Beneficiary participation leads to project effectiveness.

To illustrate this first finding, below are three examples of different forms of participation observed in the
study, each one considered a highly effective and participatory project:

The first example highlights a project in Paraguay, which “achieved a sustainable rural water supply through
institutional and fiscal reform, combined with community organization activities based on community
demand. Communities invest in the system and legally own the water systems.” (Narayan 1995, p. 34)

    “Paraguay: institutional and fiscal reforms
    The $12.5 million, World Bank-funded rural water supply project in Paraguay aimed to „promote
    community commitment to, and participation in, the project‟ to help achieve long-term sustainability.
    To achieve this goal, the project employed a number of strategies based on capacity building and
    establishing clearly defined, legally binding responsibilities between the executing agency and each

             The capacity building component focused primarily on the executing agency, the National
    Service of Environmental Sanitation (SENASA), a subdivision of the Ministry of Health. SENASA
    was a relatively new, untried organization and needed extensive support in a number of areas. The
    project provided capacity building in such areas as finance, information systems, community
    organization, tariffs, and design and construction standards. Building capacity did take time: the
    project took four year longer to implement than had been originally estimated. By sticking to a
    participatory approach, however, and taking the time to develop SENASA‟s institutional capabilities--
    instead of bringing in an outside organization to fulfill short-term construction goals--the project
    helped to create a stronger overall institutional structure and increased the likelihood of achieving
    long-term sustainability.

             The responsibilities component addressed the subproject negotiations between SENASA
    and each community. Before SENASA contracted with a junta (committee) for the construction of
    the water system, the community had to fulfill the following legally binding steps:
       1. Junta formation. The community had to follow project guidelines for forming a Water and
    Sanitation Committee (junta), which is duly recognized as a legal entity by the Government of
       2. Project description/agreement. The community and SENASA had to negotiate and sign a
    project agreement, which included a detailed description of each project component and its
    quantities and costs. (The contract also lists all project plans and documents.)
       3. Users’ contribution. The junta had to agree to make a cash down payment of 5 percent as a
    condition for starting construction; provide cash, labor, equipment, materials, land, or a combination
    thereof, equivalent to 10 percent of the project costs; and take out a loan from SENASA for the
    balance of the cost, to be paid back at market interest rates in not more than ten years.
       4. Revenue covenant. Each junta had to set tariffs for water service at a level sufficient to obtain
    revenues to cover routine O&M, debt service on the SENASA loan to the community, and major
    repairs and replacements (at an amount to be determined by SENASA and the junta).

            In fact, the project exceeded expectations: communities contributed 21 percent of total
    construction costs (6 percent over original estimates), and the project serves almost 20,000 people
    more than originally estimated. Operation and maintenance is satisfactory, and the majority of
    systems provide adequate service. The juntas are well-motivated, manage systems satisfactorily,
    meet most financial commitments, and have little trouble collecting revenues.

    Source: World Bank (1987).” (Narayan 1995, p.34)

Looking at this project several years later, a 1998 World Bank Operations Evaluation Department report
concluded that, including the juntas, SENASA has helped create 424 local organizations. The track record at
the time of the 1998 report was excellent. “Not one junta has ceased to deliver services once its water
system became operational-an organizational task of massive proportions and a significant community
development achievement. The institutional development achieved is impressive: the hundreds of juntas
that have been established in rural villages are stable and growing; and their members and directors have

been trained to operate reasonably complex water delivery systems. The villagers maintain their own piped
network, ensure the functioning of the pump(s) and water storage facilities, keep the system operational,
keep books, and hold regular meetings. Almost all juntas have expanded their original operation, taking in
new members and providing service to a broader pool of beneficiaries without additional World Bank
support.” (World Bank 1998b, p.2).

The second example highlights the Aguthi water supply project in Kenya. The project includes a parastatal
organization, which had more fiscal autonomy than is typical of government departments. The project was
initiated by the Aguthi community, which then handed over responsibility for operation and maintenance to
this parastatal agency.

    “Kenya: community participation with a parastatal agency
    Effective community participation takes many different forms. The Aguthi rural water supply project
    in Kenya, for example, sprung from community initiative with; long-term operation and maintenance
    handled by the National Water Conservation and Pipeline Corporation (NWCPC), a parastatal
    agency. The piped-water system, with metered household connections, serves 68,000 people and
    cost approximately $6.5 million.

           Phase I of the Aguthi project started with conventional contracting methods and no community
    participation; it was plagued with problems, including delays in construction, cost overruns, and
    disagreements over consumer payment methods. Eventually construction was halted and it
    appeared that the project would not move forward.

          At this point, the Aguthi Water Committee met with the Danish International Development
    Agency (DANIDA), the major funder, and the Ministry of Water Development; the committee offered
    to supply the necessary labor if DANIDA would take charge of project implementation. The project
    was redesigned, and the water committee, working with local leaders and project staff, mobilized the
    community. The committee facilitated community organization by explaining the essential role that
    community members played in the project-without their participation the project would not go forward
    and there would be no improved water system. Public meetings were held to explain the project fully
    to community members; villages were given four to six weeks to organize their participation and
    discuss any concerns or questions.

         Communities contributed extensively to the project, some 93,000 person days, valued at
    approximately Ksh 2-2.5 million* in all. Phase II of the project, with the help of this community
    participation, was completed on schedule and within the budget. As agreed, the community defined
    its role as paying monthly tariffs after construction was completed. O&M was handled successfully
    by the NWCPC.

       NWCPC had a salary structure about 40 percent higher than that of the government, with high
    salary increases going to the lowest-level staff. In addition, NWCPC, unlike the Ministry of Water
    Development (which had to funnel funds through the Treasury), could use revenues directly to meet
    the costs of the project. These incentives helped NWCPC develop motivated staff who understood
    their jobs and performed well. NWCPC has been successful in collecting revenues through its
    monthly meter reading and billing; about 91 percent of potential revenue was collected in 1990.

    *Ksh 45 = $1.00 in 1994.
    Source: DANIDA (1991).” (Narayan 1995, p. 35)

The third example takes place in the Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) province of Pakistan. Since 1980,
community action, supported by the local government, has resulted in construction of 1,200 kilometers of
roads and greater access to safe water. “Local leaders and the rich elite in AJK play leading roles in
negotiating with government authorities, in planning systems, and in setting tariffs. Almost every community
has a functioning system and keeps monthly financial records; many expand the water system on their own.”
(Narayan 1995, p. 33)

     “Pakistan: community-based rural water systems
     Community-based water supply schemes are common in Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) state,
     which has a population of over two million people.* These schemes are identified and initiated by
     communities and developed on a self-help basis with cost-sharing support from the Local
     Government Rural Development Department (LGRDD). Guided by local leaders and elites,
     communities make technology and service-level choices, and plan and design the systems with
     limited technical guidance from LGRDD. The AJK experience demonstrates both cost effectiveness
     and sustainability. It serves as a model for large scale replication. A recent World Bank loan of $28
     million will extend the community-based approach to an additional 1,000 villages.

        Bangrila village in Mirpur district (Azad Jammu and Kashmir) is an example of how a community-
     based, piped-water system works. Bangrila has a population of nearly 5,000, dispersed along the
     slopes of a hilly terrain. In 1981, in response to a desperate need for potable water, the local
     community decided to develop its own water supply system. The villagers formed a water committee
     on their own and then approached the LGRDD through the Union and District Council of the area.
     The community agreed to share 50 percent of the capital cost of the project and the entire cost of
     operation and maintenance. The water committee raised the required funds from contributions made
     by residents and relatives living overseas. The project was executed as a joint venture of the
     community and the local government department. Total project cost was Rs 830,000.** The
     hardware component of the scheme consists of a turbine pump with a 30-horsepower electric motor
     and 15,400 running meters of pipe.

        Nearly 250 households have water connections. The security fee for connection is Rs 300, with a
     monthly fee of Rs 35 per household. The total monthly contribution amounts to Rs 8,500, which
     covers the electricity charges and salaries of one operator and one valve man. The chairman of the
     water committee maintains an account register which shows the monthly contribution of each
     household and expenses incurred. The register can be examined by any member of the community
     upon request.

         The scheme has been working without any major breakdowns for the last ten years. It was also
     successfully expanded during this period. Initially the community built one water tank with a capacity
     of 10,000 gallons; over time, the community gradually extended the scheme, which now has five
     water tanks.

     *This project was not included in the 121 cases studied.
     **Rs 35 = $1.00 in 1994.
     Source: M. Khan (1992); Minatullah (1993).” (Narayan 1995, p. 36)

A note regarding the “World Bank loan of $28 million…..” mentioned in the case above: the $28 million was
part of a credit of $136.7 million equivalent to Pakistan for the Rural Water Supply and Sanitation Project.
The project objective was to improve rural productivity and health, particularly of women and children, and
reduce poverty and deprivation in rural AJK, Balochistan, and Sindh, by increasing coverage and service
levels of Rural Water Supply and Sanitation (RWSS). A 2001 World Bank evaluation report of the project,
describes the AJK component as having a high probability of sustainability. The project was able to further
extend the participatory approaches by “introducing and taking to scale systematic community mobilization
techniques and strategies. There is a high level of government commitment to providing water and sanitation
to the communities on a priority basis. Communities are not only involved in the identification, planning, and
design, but also share in the capital costs of the infrastructure (up to 20 percent of the total infrastructure
cost) and are responsible for implementation. Furthermore, they are responsible for complete O&M, as has
been the historical practice. This enhances ownership, especially sharing in the capital costs, which makes
sustainability more certain.” (World Bank 2001c, p.13-14)

As the 2001 evaluation report states, the project aimed to improve upon previous community participation
approaches and strengthen the LGRDD's capacity and introduce policy reforms. The evaluations describes
some of the valuable lessons learned from this project:

* “Communities have shown their great willingness to contribute substantially to community infrastructure.
The higher level of service attracted increased contributions. Component sharing was a simple method for
communities to follow.
* Determination of real demand needed careful examination. Spurious and politically motivated demands
often created problems in implementation. The more the stake of the communities was involved, the more
they became truly participatory.
* Community mobilization and organization work demands patience. The implementing agency's staff
should be given appropriate time for this work. Only such communities should be selected about whom
proper indicators of their mobilization and organization have become well evident.
* Entrusting more responsibility and delegation of more authority to the community organizations
established a sense of strong ownership. Notables having vested interests could be sidelined through
spread of project information among the communities.” (World Bank 2001c, p.25).

B. Beneficiary participation is required to achieve sustainable operation and maintenance.

The second of the three findings, the importance of beneficiary participation in achieving sustainable
operation and maintenance (O&M), means that capacity for simple repairs must be created at the community
level. There must be meaningful community participation at the local level and to manage the necessary
repairs. The Uganda case described below illustrates the process used to develop decentralized systems.

    “Uganda: decentralizing maintenance
    The community-based system of hand pump maintenance evolved through extensive discussions
    with communities and administrators at each level in the Luwero district of Uganda. Community
    “mobilizers,” provided by the Luwero district administration, central government, and UNICEF,
    explained the project to communities during local religious services and community meetings. Each
    community was then asked to appoint eleven members, plus its nine Resistance Committee (RC)
    members, to represent it in a series of meetings on the project. (The Resistance Committee system,
    which exists from the village to the national level, was created by the new government to
    decentralize social services.) Representatives met to discuss the project with government and
    UNICEF officials. Over 100 such meetings were held before the project began.

       Through these discussions, project implementers learned from the communities how best to
    develop a community-based maintenance system for the hand- pumps. The meetings also enabled
    the communities to participate fully in decisions about pump location and installation, maintenance
    and management systems, and methods for raising funds to cover maintenance and management.
    Community representatives reported findings from the meetings to their communities and gathered
    additional suggestions for future meetings.

        Representatives were then chosen for a sub county-level committee, from which five members
    were sent to a five-day workshop at the district level to finalize the system. Representatives from
    UNICEF, the central government, NGOs, and the district administration also attended. After the
    system was finalized, guidelines were written to help communities set up their maintenance systems.
    This process approach allowed maximum flexibility for the community, while still satisfying the sub
    county and district levels by standardizing the system as much as possible. The strategy for the
    system included the following steps: each community selected a pump caretaker, who was trained
    in preventive maintenance by the Water Development Department (WDD) staff and given necessary
    tools; every group of twenty communities selected two pump mechanics for training in major repairs
    and maintenance, and each of those mechanics were given tools and a bicycle; each community
    decided how it would pay pump mechanics and maintenance people; each sub county RC was given
    a one-year supply of spare parts; and sales depots were established to sell spare parts provided by
    WDD at the district level.

       The system was monitored closely by the government and participating communities and refined
    over the first two years. Over the eighteen months of the project cycle and for two years afterward,
    98 percent of all pumps were working at any given time, and the time between breakdown and repair
    did not exceed two days, with most repairs made the same day of breakdown.

        Difficulties remain in trying to apply this decentralized system throughout the country. The system
     depends heavily on the district level, yet district-level capacity is very limited after special „project
     units‟ are removed. In addition, although the central government has focused on giving districts the
     administrative, financial, and decision making responsibilities for water systems, it is still reluctant to
     provide districts with the assets and personnel necessary to fulfill these responsibilities.

     Source: CIDA/SIDA (1993).” (Narayan 1995, p. 37)

C. Beneficiaries must be involved in the decision-making process from beginning to end to achieve
the best results.

This third finding, was the “single most important contributor to overall quality of implementation.” (Narayan
1995, p. 38). Without local control over decision making, high levels of participation were difficult to achieve.
The Rwanda case described below illustrates this finding.

     “Rwanda: governmental control over community decision making, or a losing proposition?
     The experience of the Rwanda Second Water Supply Project highlights the importance of local
     control in decision making and the difficulties in achieving it. A study of the project (completed in
     March 1993) showed that only 44 of the 144 communities covered by the project had functioning
     Community Water Associations (CWAs), the organizations responsible for managing and
     maintaining water systems.

         The project was implemented by central government ministry staff, who carried out all the
     activities associated with community-based systems. They conducted baseline studies and surveys,
     developed educational materials, trained communal extension agents and other assistants,
     conducted meetings and elections, created Community Water Associations (CWAs), implemented
     user education and construction, and monitored systems. They did not, however, give up decision-
     making control.

        All major decisions concerning project components were made by the World Bank, central
     government ministries, and other donors. Communities could not choose whether they would receive
     improved services; what service level they would receive; or how they might maintain their water
     system. Management decisions were made by the communities after construction, but within the
     framework established by the government.

         Local management was integral to the government's strategy, yet there was no local control in
     the design or decision-making process. The guidelines and plan of action for project implementation,
     including dates of village visits, were developed far in advance, without community input.
     Committees were established despite the fact that the committee structure had been tried and had
     failed in earlier projects. The CWAs took a lot of work and time to establish, yet representatives
     received no pay and, in some cases, no supervision, support, or training.

         Incentives for local government officials and committee members to cooperate were low. It was
     often difficult to convince the mayor and communal authorities to adopt national policies and
     undertake the plan of action for the establishment of user groups and associations. Communal
     authorities did not accept the principle that users should pay, or that they should be required to pay
     in advance. Local government officials did not want outsiders to interfere in communal mobilization;
     nor did they respect elected committee members.

        In addition, the project structure was complex, with seven different funding sources often
     disagreeing over project components. Reaching consensus on an approach to community
     management took more time, under difficult communication conditions.

     Source: World Bank (1993).” (Narayan 1995, p. 44)

The above described findings and case examples are only a small sample of the information and projects
reviewed in the paper. Please refer to the entire paper (http://www-
/PDF/multi_page.pdf) for more interesting case studies, findings, and details about the above cases. In
addition, some further information regarding World Bank financed rural water projects can be found in the
March 2000 paper: Rural Water Projects, Lessons from OED Evaluations, OED Working Paper Series No. 3
(see link to paper below). This is a study based on the results of 15 free-standing water and sanitation
projects. Of particular interest might be chapters 3-5.

IV.      Participation and the World Bank: Successes, Constraints, and Responses
         (World Bank, 1998)


In 1998, the World Bank prepared a paper (see link to paper above) for submission to the international
conference “Upscaling and Mainstreaming Primary Stakeholder Participation: Lessons Learned and Ways
Forward.” The paper‟s purpose was to assess the World Bank‟s progress in mainstreaming participation and
to look at possible ways forward. The study examined what the World Bank had achieved since its 1994
commitment to participation (i.e. The World Bank and Participation report); what it had neglected to address;
what factors support and hinder progress; and what the opportunities are for the future. Many examples
were found of World Bank-financed projects that were designed, prepared, and implemented using
participatory approaches. Some of these projects were briefly highlighted in the paper and are repeated

      “The Effects of Consultation and Participation

      As a result of consultation and participation, projects are more inclusive, involving key stakeholders
      and including the traditionally marginalized; they are more socially sound, having more benefits and
      fewer adverse social impacts; and they are more effective and sustainable, having more ownership
      and better institutional arrangements.

         El Salvador: Education Projects. Through several participatory mechanisms, children and young
      adults have been collaborating in the design of education projects in El Salvador. As a result, a fund
      managed by children was created (Fondo Alegria) to finance activities chosen and managed by
      students, such as choirs, reading clubs, reforestation campaigns, science fairs, leadership
      workshops, and art festivals.

         Lesotho: Highlands Water Project. As a result of working closely with civil society groups, project
      authorities and donors have improved resettlement packages, enhanced the scope of rural
      development for the project area to include host communities, and begun to restructure the use of
      project royalties to ensure that they are used more equitably for development across the Kingdom of

         Venezuela: Slum Upgrading Project. During preparation a team of social scientists conducted
      extensive consultation with community groups, local NGOs, and residents in Caracas slums about
      their values regarding their city, neighborhood, and homes. Results were consolidated into project
      design. Implementation will be undertaken jointly by community groups, the private sector, and

        India: Irrigation Rehabilitation Project. A series of state-level loans for irrigation rehabilitation
     have integrated participatory irrigation management (PIM) into the project. The state government has
     consolidated many of the diverse water-related agencies under a single Water Resources
     Department, while at the same time divesting much of the irrigation management functions to user

         Brazil: AIDS and STD Projects. Unprecedented civil society-government-Bank relations have
     turned previously conflictual relationships into productive partnerships. In Curitiba, for example, this
     was achieved after civil society organizations were brought into the process through an invitation to
     serve on the Parana State AIDS Commission. With adequate information and frank dialogue, civil
     society organizations learned more about the complexities of governing, and assumed greater
     responsibility for AIDS policy in the state.

         Kazakhstan: Irrigation and Drainage Improvement Project. A social assessment for the project
     documented that workers on former collectives and state farms knew very little about their rights and
     responsibilities in the farm privatization process. To ensure that beneficiaries had a role in making
     decisions regarding irrigation investments and organization, a five-step process was developed that
     engages all member of the farms in key decisions in the design and tendering process. This
     participatory process has given some farm workers the courage to leave the old farm structure and
     to start their own private farms.

         Indonesia: Kecamatan Development Project. This project uses block grants, bottom-up planning
     procedures, open menus, and pervasive transparency to revitalize community development in
     Indonesia. The project relies heavily on civil society oversight, and includes innovations such as
     monitoring contracts for independent newspapers, website listings of all participating sub districts,
     and one-day provincial socialization courses for local journalists, researchers, and NGOs wishing to
     track the project.

         Palestinian NGO Project. Recognizing the embryonic stage of the Palestinian Authority (PA) and
     the need to rely on NGOs to deliver essential social services, the project has established a trust fund
     to: a) deliver social services to the poor and marginalized, using NGOs as the delivery mechanism;
     (b) improve the institutional capacity of NGO grantees; and (c) strengthen the working relationship
     between the PA and the Palestinian NGO sector. Consultations with local and international NGOs
     and donors were an essential part of project preparation. A service-delivery survey is being carried
     out to identify community needs and NGO capabilities and achieve more effective outreach.

         Latin America: Indigenous Peoples Capacity Building Initiative. Responding to what indigenous
     peoples' organizations reported as the top priority of many of their communities--capacity building--
     the Bank developed an "Indigenous Peoples Capacity Building Initiative" consisting of a series of
     individual proposals drafted jointly by Bank staff, national indigenous organizations, and cognizant
     government institutions for grants from the Bank's Institutional Development Fund. From these
     beginnings, the Bank was able to identify a number of potential investment projects, and, more
     importantly, the places where ownership, capability, willingness, and resources were in place to put
     together the World Bank's first indigenous development investments. Ongoing indigenous
     development loans that grew out of the Capacity Building Initiative now exist in Ecuador, Mexico, and
     Argentina.” (Aycrigg 1998, p.5)

As the Aycrigg paper described only very briefly some of the project examples it examined, a closer look at
one of the above described projects (the Indonesian Kecamatan Development Project), as well as one other
World Bank-financed project, follows in Section VI below.

V.      A Participation Process Review
        (World Bank, 2001)

Some of the World Bank‟s most recent findings and lessons with regard to participation are documented in
an extensive independent evaluation of its experiences of the past years with mainstreaming participation in
its operations (Participation Process Review, Operations Evaluation Department, January 24, 2001). The
purpose of the evaluation was to assess and improve the World Bank‟s work in participation. To do this,
project files and other documents were looked at, as well as a random sample of 189 projects, surveys of
and interviews with World Bank task managers, results of focus group discussions, and 12 best-practice
case studies (refer to Appendix C for 2-page summaries of several of the case studies).

The evaluation used a methodology developed by the World Bank‟s Social Development Department to
classify various degrees of participation used. These are similar to the levels described in the Narayan water
project study. The four levels used, from low to high, are:

Low level participation:
       (a) information sharing, i.e. one-way communication
       (b) consultation, i.e. two-way communication

High level participation:
        (c) collaboration, i.e. shared control over decisions and resources
        (d) empowerment, i.e. transfer of control over decisions and resources

Note that these levels do not indicate the quality of participation, which means “doing it right” regardless of
the type of participation.

Some of the main overall findings of the evaluation are as follow:

The quantity of participation has increased both in projects and in country assistance strategies.
For example, the number of projects using various participatory approaches increased from 40 percent in
1994 to 70 percent in 1998. It is interesting to note that from 1996 on, the greatest increases in
participation were found to be at the two highest levels, i.e. collaboration and empowerment. The number
of projects with higher levels of participation increased from 18 percent in 1996 to 41 percent in 1998.

The quality of participation has not kept pace with the increasing quantity.
In some cases, participation was too rushed, superficial or a factor only in certain phases of a project.
Communities were often not well informed and/or organized so as to be able to contribute. Women were
often not well represented. “Occasionally participation was so poor quality that participants became
disillusioned or cynical about what the Bank meant by participation. It is essential to recognize the
complexity and difficulty of participation, that participation is neither good nor bad in itself, but each case of
participation must be assessed in light of its impacts, who benefits and who loses.” (Van Wicklin 2001,

The benefits of participation have been significant.
Even though the participatory approach is fairly recent, and most projects are still in the early implementation
stages, it is apparent that participation has improved projects. If beneficiaries are involved in project design,
i.e. if they are able to influence the placement of facilities and the level of service they are willing to pay for,
the projects are more relevant to them. “Playing a role in decision making—far more than contributions in
cash, kind, or labor—led villagers to assume ownership of a project, thereby increasing its impact and
sustainability. Participation increased transparency and accountability in contracting and procurement, and
improved relations between men and women, between villages and government agency staff, and between
groups that have not traditionally cooperated.” (Van Wicklin 2001, p. vii)

“Participation can also be used as a risk management tool. It can shed light on power relations so that
people can better negotiate their positions. It can provide legitimacy to the process of negotiating the gains
and losses of different stakeholders. It is essential for equitable allocation of scarce resources.” (Van
Wicklin 2001, p. 29)

Participation also carries significant risks.
This can be due to poor quality of participation but in some cases even good quality participation can go
wrong and result in problems, conflicts, cooptation by elites, and so on. (Van Wicklin 2001, p. 29)

Some factors hindered participation.
Within countries, the biggest constraints to participation were government resistance; lack of capacity
and/or experience in governments, communities, and stakeholders; and lack of follow-up.

Other factors facilitated participation.
Within countries, the biggest contributors were NGO support, internal agency advocates of participation
(i.e. within implementation agencies), and local partners who had experience facilitating participation.

Case Studies (refer to Appendix C for complete copies of the 2-page summaries)

The largest component of this Participation Process Review was the group of case studies of participation
in projects and country assistance strategies (refer to Appendix C for short summaries of each of the
project case studies). The cases were chosen to demonstrate how participation is being used, what
works, what does not work, and why. As most of the projects were implemented after 1994, it was too
early at the time of this evaluation to determine their long-term impacts and sustainability; however,
certain short-term impacts could be evaluated based on already completed subprojects.

Below are some of the highlights of the case study findings:

“The sustained participation of primary stakeholders in the planning and implementation of projects and
programs calls for a sustained participatory approach in the service-providing organizations.” (Van Wicklin
2001, p.47)

“The selection of villages for consultation should be an informed choice, on the basis of such criteria as
remoteness, poverty, and the literacy rate.” (Van Wicklin 2001, p.48) Again in the Bangladesh Health and
Population Sector Program for example, villages were selected randomly for village-level consultation, which
resulted in one of the villages selected being far better off than most villages and not an appropriate choice.

“Participation increases primary stakeholders’ willingness to pay for services.” (Van Wicklin 2001, p.48)
Villagers will pay for services if they are convinced of their quality and usefulness.

“Even the most active and informed partners and stakeholders did not consistently understand the concept of
participation.” (Van Wicklin 2001, p.48) Sometimes even trained staff did not understand the concept of
empowerment, accountability to clients, and sharing decision making.

In the Bangladesh health sector case, what was found rather than participation was a discourse on
participation at every level. (Van Wicklin 2001, p.49) Part of the reason for this was political as various
involved parties feared losing their power.

Participation is improving project design…improving the quality of construction…. helping to reduce
corruption… increasing the local sense of project ownership… and strengthening people’s sense of control
over their own development. (Van Wicklin 2001, pp.50-51) These benefits were all demonstrated in the
Bangladesh Second Rural Roads & Markets project. Market monitoring committees are overseeing the
quality of construction; they have full knowledge of the financial resources available, construction timetables,
etc. thus lessening the chance of corruption; “people we talked with mentioned how pleased they were that
government wanted to hear their opinions. Women were especially happy, as no one had ever before asked
their views or taken their needs into consideration.” (Van Wicklin 2001, p.51)

“There was no coherent strategy to encourage participation.” (Van Wicklin 2001, p.54) In the case of the
Guatemala Social Investment Fund (FIS, Fondo de Inversión Social), certain elements suggested working
toward deep community empowerment, with participation as an end in itself. Other elements, however, such
as providing no training and making the groups‟ legal standing temporary, “ensured that communities would
not be empowered and suggested that participation was seen only as a way to expedite project

“Inadequate NGO involvement hurt training and community development efforts.” Again looking at the
Guatemala Social Investment Fund, there was little NGO involvement in the subprojects, thus depriving
communities of valuable training and technical assistance (NGOs were not involved because of FIS‟s
bureaucratic procedures and reporting requirements, slow project execution, and late payments. (Van
Wicklin 2001, p.55)

Participation took time……. Developing and implementing an effective participation strategy requires time
and money. In the case of the India Karnataka Rural Water Supply and Environmental Sanitation Project for
example, not enough time was allotted to fully implement community participation and, as a result,
inexperience with participation led to severe delays during project implementation. And in the case of
Malawi‟s Primary Education Project (PEP), a project designed to provide classrooms quickly, “problems
encountered could have been avoided if more time had been taken to understand the technology and to
consult with communities during project preparation.” (Van Wicklin 2001, pp.58, 66-67)

Training ultimately convinced even the skeptics that collectively the community could tackle problems
previously thought to be outside its control. In the case of the Kenya Arid Lands Resource Management
Project, it was clear that one of the foundations of community empowerment—a commitment to collective
self-help—had begun to take shape. Some tasks previously left undone, or performed by government, have
been taken up by the pastoral associations. As training in participatory methods was central to this project‟s
strategy, the district project office enlisted an NGO and consultants to train district project staff and staff from
the ministerial line agencies (such as water, veterinary, health, and education) in participatory techniques,
including participatory rural appraisal tools and methods. (Van Wicklin 2001, p.60-61)

Several of the case studies revealed significant findings specifically about women’s participation.

“Women’s participation in sector consultations broadens the development vision.” (Van Wicklin 2001, p.48)
For example, in the Bangladesh case, it was only because individual women and women‟s organizations
expressed concern over domestic violence against women, that the issue was discussed.

“Participatory programs foster women’s empowerment and leadership but need to be supported by women’s
increased access to education and financial resources.” (Van Wicklin 2001, p.48) The Bangladeshi women‟s
lives were vastly improved through their work as health volunteers. These women were gaining self-esteem
and were not afraid to speak at village meetings.

“Participation is giving poor women greater opportunities.” (Van Wicklin 2001, p.51) As demonstrated in the
Bangladesh Second Rural Roads & Markets project, women were eager to participate in market planning.
They even asked for a special, secure covered selling area to be provided for them. This is now being done
in all of the markets supported by this project.

“…did little to promote the participation of women.” (Van Wicklin, 2001, p. 55) In the case of the Guatemala
Social Investment Fund (FIS, Fondo de Inversión Social), a demand-driven community investment fund with
a number of types of subprojects directed at women, FIS had no specific policy of promoting women‟s
participation. Women were rarely on village committees and participated little in subproject decision making.

VI.     Two World Bank-Financed Projects:

        1. Indonesia’s Kecamatan Development Project
        2. Vietnam’s Northern Mountains Poverty Reduction Project

We now look a bit more closely at two World Bank-financed projects, both with strong participatory aspects.

1. Indonesia’s Kecamatan (Sub-district) Development Project (KDP)
 The success of this project is perhaps best described in a story taken from a 2002 World Bank publication,
The World Bank in Action, Stories of Development:

     “Giving Villagers a Voice in Indonesia
     „We used to be half-dead when we arrived in the morning at our rice paddies. Now we get there in
     minutes,‟ says one North Sulawesi villager. „Of course, it is at harvest time when we reap the
     greatest benefits of the new road. Carrying the rice while treading on the tiny zigzag path that was
     here before was an act of' acrobatics and of endurance. Now we do it by motorcycle taxi in no time
     at all.‟

     In villages across the Indonesian archipelago, similar projects are being developed under the World
     Bank-funded Kecamatan Development Project (KDP), a community-empowerment initiative.
     Villagers living in kecamatans, or sub-districts, receive grants for projects they themselves choose.
     A village assembly has to meet and assess the needs of the community. In addition, a notice board
     must be set up centrally in each village to show where every rupiah is going, and to announce who is
     accountable for the money, and for the implementation of the project.

     According to one Sulawesi women's group, KDP has had significant liberating effects for women,
     whose time and effort have been freed up by many of' the village projects. According to another, the
     most important thing is that KDP leaves the decision up to those affected by the project.

     ”Before, a development project could consist of us being told to produce goods for the market, and
     given resources to do so, without any help with marketing or selling," says one Sulawesi woman.
     "We ended up with many unsold goods in our homes. Production in itself is not enough. With KDP it
     is now we who decide what--and if--to produce.‟

     Over the past four years, the project has built roads stretching over 19,000 kilometers, and erected
     or rehabilitated some 3,500 bridges. It has constructed 5,200 irrigation systems to improve crop
     yields, and has supplied 2,800 communities with clean drinking water. For the children of these
     villages, KDP has financed the construction of' 285 new schools. KDP has also provided over 25
     million man-days of paid labor in rural, poor parts of the country, paying the wages of nearly five
     million people.” (World Bank 2002, p. 16)

The World Bank Project Appraisal Document (http://www-
red/PDF/multi_page.pdf) describes KDP's objectives as raising rural incomes, strengthening kecamatan
and village government and community institutions, and building public infrastructure through labor
intensive methods. The first of four project components consists of block grants to kecamatans. The
second is technical assistance for implementation, including National Management Consultants, Province
Management Consultants, and the Kabupaten Engineers. The third and forth components consist of
monitoring and policy studies, respectively. The primary institutional reform supported by the project is
the strengthening of the participatory planning process. Indonesia's bottom-up planning process contains
many of the right principles, but funding decisions remain the prerogative of higher levels of the system.
Moving resources to kecamatans and villages shortens the lag between planning requests and funding
availability, and ensures implementation of local priorities. KDP will strengthen local institutions by giving
them resources and clear responsibilities.

Selected from among the poorest in the country, 725 kecamatans will be assisted by the project. They
comprise some 9,000 villages, with a total population of some 25 million people.

Participatory Approach
Primary stakeholders in KDP are villagers and their representatives. Project facilitation, bottom-up planning,
transparency mechanisms, and fiscal decentralization were all designed to promote stakeholder ownership
of the project process. KDP will include independent NGO monitoring to provide ongoing feedback on KDP

Sustainability of the physical works is likely to be fairly high because of the participatory planning process
and higher sense of community ownership than is the norm.

Technical assistance in participatory planning and administration will support the UDKP (Kecamatan Council
of Village Heads) and improve the kecamatan's ability to support bottom-up decision-making.

Kecamatan Facilitators (KF) procured under service contracts will ensure the use of participative planning
and implementation mechanisms at the Kecamatan (sub-district), Desa (village) and Dusun (hamlet) levels
as part of local government strengthening. The KF must assist in the subproject selection process including
identification of problems and potentials (e.g. identification of additional technical input needs),
implementation (e.g. supporting the development of new and existing village groups and training them in the
required skills), and "post-project" activities (e.g. operation and maintenance plans and further planning

The main characteristics and innovations of the KDP are (i) use of the kecamatan-level council to review and
fund village proposals; (ii) collective village decision making on the use of funds allocated to the kecamatan
through public voting; (iii) high priority paid to transparency through consultations, public information boards,
local media, and technical assistance; (iv) opportunities to consolidate activities between villages, depending
on local needs and wishes; (v) trained community development facilitators operating at the kecamatan level;
(vi) infrastructure and economic investment menus that involve a balance between loans and grants; (vii)
village-level technical assistance managed by LKMDs (Village Councils, i.e. Lembaga Ketahan Masyarakat
Desa) and paid from the subproject allocation; (viii) addition of one man and two women to the UDKP
meeting as non-voting members to encourage greater transparency and dissemination.

How does KDP work?
KDP provides a block grant to each selected kecamatan, which will be repeated each year for up to three
years. Distribution of funds within the kecamatan will be through the kecamatan level UDKP forum to the
village LKMDs, assisted by a Kecamatan Facilitator. The UDKP itself must create a unit called a UPK (Unit
Pengelolahan Keuangan) to manage the funds and to oversee any large procurement. The UDKP must also
nominate additional, non-voting, broadly respected people (such as religious leaders, kepala adat, teachers)
to attend UDKP meetings that discuss KDP proposals. Three additional members from each village should
also be nominated through election for this "UDKP plus" by LKMDs. They should be one man and two
women from each participating village. The functions of the "UDKP plus" members are to (i) participate in
UDKP discussions about subproject proposals; (ii) monitor the process and ensure that all KDP principles
are respected; and (iii) report back to the communities on UDKP decisions.

The KDP can finance public infrastructure on a grant basis. It can also support economic subprojects with
loans. Project menus are open to all productive investments except for a short negative list which excludes
activities that are environmentally damaging (manufacture or use of asbestos, fishing boats of 10 tons or
more and tackle, pesticides, dynamite, and agro-chemicals are banned). Expenditures for religious and
government buildings and government salaries are also prohibited because they have their own construction
and maintenance budgets; and for military or paramilitary purposes. Villages can prepare joint proposals (for
example, for multi-village irrigation, road, or water supply systems).

Now several years later, what were the results, especially with regard to the participatory
aspects/objectives of the project?

(Kecamatan Task Manager is Scott Guggenheim in Jakarta – insert ICR or other review info here –
still do not have this)

2. Vietnam’s Northern Mountains Poverty Reduction Project (NMPRP)

Another example of a highly participatory World Bank-financed project is the Vietnam Northern Mountains
Poverty Reduction Project. See Project Appraisal Document for more details (http://www-

Project Summary

The Project Appraisal Document states that NMPRP‟s development objective is that poor villagers in the
region profit from improved, sustainable infrastructure, and social services, within an improved institutional
capacity in the upland communes and districts. The project components will assist community participation
to identify development priorities, focused on the development of rural transport and market networks, by
connecting the administrative center to the road system. Construction of new and upgraded existing rural
roads will be financed in district-to-commune roads; in commune-to-village roads; and, in village-to-village
roads; and, in addition, facilities for rural markets will be financed. Capacity building will be provided to
support the Ministry of Transport and local authorities. Additionally, and following the participatory approach,
small-scale irrigation systems, rural water supply, and agriculture development will be financed, to include an
agricultural program of applied demonstrations and training, and an on-site research program; irrigation
schemes will serve a total of 12,500 hectares of paddy fields; while water supply infrastructure will build
drinking water schemes, with designs relating both to available water sources, and to cultural preferences of
ethnic groups. Furthermore, the project will facilitate the development of education and health systems,
through improved access to, and delivery of primary education, construction of schools, and improved
teacher qualifications; while increased health service provision will focus on basic equipment and medicine
supply, as well as on improved information, training, and communication activities. Community development
budgets, planning and management, and institutional capacity building will be funded based on community

Project Components
Community Assessments:
Community assessments are the first step both in project identification and in local peoples' participation in
NMPRP activities. The community assessment begins with a simple situation analysis, carried out primarily
by local people. Local people discuss key problems within the community and suggest actions to be taken to
solve the problems. From this discussion they identify a series of development priorities for their own
communities. Using this information, commune and village leaders jointly draw up a proposal for investment,
identifying subprojects to be funded under NMPRP based on village priorities.

A set of guidelines and simple methods has been prepared to assist local people in conducting assessments,
and to assist communes in aggregating the data and drawing up detailed subproject proposals for
investment. In order to develop these proposals, communes will be given key information related to the
project: the budget available to the project under NMPRP (and amounts allocated to the commune
development budget), eligibility criteria for each of the main components and unit cost norms for
construction, information on compensation policies and levels of compensation, and information on paid
labor opportunities within the project.

Community assessments will be carried out in all project communes before detailed planning and technical
feasibility of individual subprojects takes place. Once the Commune Development Plans are completed and
approved, the commune management board completes a detailed subproject description of each subproject
proposed for implementation in the coming year. In the event that any subproject is not approved based on
this description, communes will return to their list of priorities to put forward alternative proposals.

In cases where indicative commune proposals for NMPRP funds have already been prepared, community
assessment will serve as a process of validating the existing proposals. Villages will also return to their lists
of priorities generated in the community assessment as the basis for planning use of funds for the commune
development budget. An annual planning process, incorporating the community assessment, will take place
towards the end of each project year, when local communities will evaluate progress made in the previous
year, and review plans for the subsequent year.

Among other initiatives in community-based planning within the project area, the most significant is the
Village Development Planning method, developed in Son La province with support from the GTZ (Deutsche
Gesellschaft fur Technische Zusammenarbeit) Song Da Social Forestry Project. Son La provincial DPI
(Department of Planning and Investment, Provincial) has been piloting this method over the last few months.
Although still in a pilot stage, the eventual aim is to institutionalize the method, so that it is fully integrated
with the provinces' annual planning process, and with the explicit intention of using it in NMPRP communes.
Son La will test and will incorporate elements of the Community Assessment into the existing method being
piloted. The local planning procedure carried out in Son La project communes would then be used not only

for the purposes of NMPRP activities, but also for planning other development activities in these communes.
It is envisioned that, as the Community Assessment methods are tested and refined in each province, the
other provinces would move in the same direction as Son La, to make use of the assessments for purposes
other than the NMPRP and to aim to institutionalize the local planning process into the mainstream
government planning methods.

The capacity building program will aim at improving the basic skills of commune and village leaders who will
work in support of the community assessment process, and specific training will be offered to local leaders
on conducting the assessments. In addition, the process is designed specifically to address conditions in the
more remote contexts: the amount of writing required is kept to a minimum and the use of pictures is

To make the exercise manageable, community assessments will focus primarily on site-specific priorities at
community level that can be conducted with a minimum of outside support. More intensive service-oriented
assessments (for health, education and agriculture) would be the responsibility of the district level and
relevant sector departments, who would conduct assessments in a representative sample of project villages
in order to better define the content of training activities in health and education, and extension activities.

Participatory Approach:
The informed participation of key stakeholders (local people in the project communes and villages who stand
to benefit from project activities) is built into all NMPRP procedures. The community assessment process will
involve local people in identifying development priorities in their community (and/or validating any existing
commune proposals) and drawing up plans for activities they would wish to see implemented using NMPRP
funds. This assessment process will give people control over deciding investment priorities for the commune
development budget and a major influence over decisions for the main components of the project. In order
to assist villages and communes in making informed decisions on investment under all project components,
they will have knowledge of basic standard unit costs, the available budget, eligibility criteria, and
compensation procedures and rates of compensation for land acquisition. Procedures are in place so that,
should any subproject proposals prove to be technically or economically unfeasible, Commune Development
Boards (CDB) must pass this information back to local communities to discuss feasible alternatives. The
subprojects under the main components cannot proceed to implementation without commune approval. The
technical staff and consultants responsible for survey and detailed design of infrastructure subprojects will be
required to consult with local people in the community to ensure that designs reflect user needs, benefit from
local knowledge of natural conditions (dry season water shortages, drainage requirements, etc.) and that the
best use is made of available land, to minimize the need to acquire property and productive land. Where
land must be acquired, affected peoples will be compensated according to the prepared land acquisition and
resettlement policy framework. Detailed designs of infrastructure works will be subject to approval by the
CDB‟s. Local people will be consulted on the design, content and quality of social and agricultural services
in their areas through service-oriented assessments, carried out from the district level. These will not be
conducted in every village, but in a representative sample of communities in each district, and will be
facilitated by district level administrators. The letting of contracts for subproject civil works, and for supply of
equipment and training services, will be subject to endorsement by the CDB. The CDB and beneficiaries will
monitor construction works. Opportunities exist for local people to take up paid employment opportunities for
labor intensive civil works. For some types of subproject under the main components, and for the commune
development budget, local people will be expected to contribute with reasonable labor inputs and/or locally
available materials. Formal agreements for operations and maintenance of completed subprojects will be
drawn up with the involvement of local people, with local contributions made in relation to whether the
projects are for the exclusive use of the community or for the benefit of the wider public.

Monitoring and evaluation of the project will include mechanisms, tied closely to the community assessment
procedures, for community monitoring of project activities. In order to support the participation of local
people in all project stages and components, capacity building and training programs are designed to
strengthen the ability of district, commune and village leaders to facilitate participatory processes. The
capacity building plan has a specific focus on building basic skills and leadership skills in the remote areas.
This will allow local leaders in these communes to better facilitate the involvement of local people in planning
and implementation. In recognition of the language barriers and low literacy levels that are typical in these
same remote areas, local assessment, planning and consultation activities will be designed to account for an

audience with potentially low literacy, with an emphasis on methods relying on pictures rather than the
printed word. Local people will be encouraged to conduct sessions in local languages to encourage the
involvement of the widest range of members of the community, with points clearly defined at which
translation or documentation is required.

The approach to information dissemination features key information being given to local leaders and local
people at every stage in the project processes, to allow them both to take control of key decisions, and make
informed decisions. The public posting, in villages and communes, of information related to project budgets,
planned projects and contracting will act to keep local people well informed, as well as encouraging greater
public accountability. The use of media will be explored both for its potential in disseminating training
exercises, and in public information and education campaigns.

Although NMPRP is too recent a project to be able to fully evaluate its outcomes and participatory aspects,
as of today,…………………………………………..

(NMPR Task Manager is Robin Mearns in Washington – insert current feedback from him here)

VII.    Conclusion – Questions to Consider as You Develop Your Action Plans

We have now looked at several papers, evaluations, and projects addressing and using participatory
approaches in projects. We can all agree that when primary stakeholders participate in activities,
development outcomes improve, projects are usually more sustainable, and there is less corruption because
processes are more transparent. Even small amounts of participation can bring about improvements.
Project design becomes more relevant as beneficiaries, some for the first time, have influence on the
placement of facilities, the level of service they want and are willing to pay for, and select the community
projects they feel are most needed. (World Bank, 2001b., p.3)

As you work on the development of your country action plans, some questions to consider might be:

How do the cases and projects described in this review apply to the Action Plan you are developing?

How can you use this review? Do you need further information and materials?

Are some of the specific project design and/or participatory measures referenced herein relevant to your

Do you need to explore some of these measures further?

(etc…….insert more questions if necessary….)

Appendix A

Participatory Evaluation for Rural Development in Sri Lanka (Précis #138)

Two Bank-supported rural development projects in Sri Lanka have illustrated the cost of a lack of
community participation in both the planning of a project and in the evaluation of its results,
according to an impact evaluation by the World Bank‟s Operations Evaluation Department (OED)*. The two
projects, carried out in the 1980s, adopted a top-down, "blueprint" approach and did not involve local
beneficiaries in planning and design. The shortcomings of these methods became apparent during the
evaluation process, which involved farmers, households, community organizations, and government workers.
Through the process of participatory evaluation, there emerged an increased awareness of the ways in
which participation in all phases of a project can lead to success.

The two Bank-supported projects did not establish a replicable model for other districts, but they did provide
valuable lessons that have since guided Sri Lanka's integrated rural development program. This program has
evolved considerably over the past decade. Current projects encourage beneficiary participation and use
process planning rather than an inflexible blueprint approach. Process planning—a learning-by-doing
approach—requires longer times for pilot testing, implementation, training beneficiaries in participatory
methods, and building community organizations, but the results indicate that it is worthwhile. Sri Lanka's
experience in the early Bank-assisted projects makes a very strong case that full local participation must
become an integral part of project planning, implementation, and evaluation.

Project objectives

In the 1970s, Sri Lanka launched the Integrated Rural Development Program to support development in
disadvantaged areas that had not benefited from major government investments in irrigation or industrial
infrastructure. Two of the projects, supported by IDA credits, were the Kurunegala Rural Development
Project (KRDP), approved in 1979, and the Second Rural Development Project (SRDP), approved in 1981.
The credits, of $34 million and $40 million respectively, financed a range of investments in productive and
supporting infrastructure designed to increase farm production and rural incomes. KRDP was the first
attempt at multisectoral planning for an entire district, and was designed to produce a replicable regional
development model centered on agriculture.

The projects' objectives were ambitious and their operations extensive and complex. KRDP centered on
agricultural development by (1) rehabilitating or improving 500 small irrigation tanks and nine medium and
major irrigation schemes; (2) expanding agricultural facilities and services, including credit, to encourage
more intensive use of agricultural inputs; and (3) stepping up subsidy programs for replanting, intercropping,
and fertilizing smallholder coconut plantings. Complementing the productive components, which accounted
for nearly four fifths of project costs, were investments in rural infrastructure for health, education, transport,
water supply, and electrification.

SRDP concentrated on two districts bordering Kurunegala—Matale and Puttalam—and had similar
objectives to KRDP, with additional components in forestry, fisheries, and export crops. The three districts
are among Sri Lanka's poorest, and approximately 90 percent of their populations live in rural areas.


The projects were carried out during a period of significant economic change. In some cases, they were
overly ambitious. Despite the poor showing of some of the productive components, the projects were
recognized by beneficiaries as having created valuable public assets such as extension services and
infrastructure (especially roads), and as having provided credit to finance a range of private capital assets,
particularly small tractors.

The results showed that farmers are interested in diversification, but because of widely fluctuating prices for

most crops, they are hesitant to take up a new product or adopt different technologies. Escalating labor and
input costs, and the collapse of international market prices for important export crops, diminished the
success of the projects' agricultural components.

Neither project met its productivity targets, which were too ambitious. Output of paddy rose less than
expected for a number of reasons. In the KRDP, the extent to which planted areas could be increased was
greatly overestimated. Design and construction flaws in these schemes also reduced benefits. Nevertheless,
yields in project areas did increase faster than the national average and those in project schemes increased
more than in the districts as a whole (see table). Increases in production of export crops and coconuts also
fell short of targets because of rising labor and fertilizer costs, and because of overly ambitious expectations.

Almost all social infrastructure targets were met and many were exceeded. Some 174 miles of new roads
were built. Road works greatly improved access to villages, irrigation facilities, and schools, and increased
employment opportunities. Other construction included village electrification schemes, wells and tube wells
to supply domestic water, equipment and residential quarters for schools and training centers, and
equipment for hospitals and health facilities.

The credit component had mixed results. The medium-term credit component was well received, especially
for the purchase of two-wheel tractors. However, the number of short-term loans for cultivation fell below
expectations because most farmers preferred to borrow from informal sources, which had simpler
procedures. The number of farmers obtaining credit from formal institutions increased but never exceeded 3
percent of the rural population (or about 5 percent of the farmers). Thus, the objective of developing a credit
system that would reach a significant number of the poorest farmers was not achieved.


Economic impact
The impact evaluation found that the project has had a lasting effect on household incomes. In Kurunegala
and Puttalam, increases in crop production have boosted household incomes by 20 to 30 percent. In Matale,
the corresponding figure may be greater than 50 percent. Paddy yields in project areas have increased more
rapidly than elsewhere in the country, infrastructure improvements have provided significant benefits, and
line agencies have significantly expanded their capacities. From an economic point of view, paddy has
performed better than coconuts or export crops.

Economic rates of return for the productive components, estimated at impact evaluation, were just under 10
percent, compared to the original estimates of between 24 and 34 percent. Changes in relative prices have
had a negative effect on paddy and coconut producers. The real value of returns of small producers has
dropped as paddy prices have failed to keep up with inflation. Producers of cocoa, coffee, and peppers have
fared somewhat better.

Socioeconomic impact
Beneficiaries were clearly dissatisfied with some aspects of the productive components, yet the overall goals
of reducing inequality, raising incomes, and improving the living standards of rural populations were partially

Important equity issues affected the distribution of benefits. The projects did not have the expected impact
on the smallest farms and poorest rural residents. It was originally expected that the majority of beneficiaries
would be smallholders with 2 acres or less and with household incomes below the poverty line. However,
most beneficiaries, particularly coconut growers, had larger holdings than this.

A number of factors diminished the impact of rehabilitation works: lack of beneficiary involvement in project
design and implementation; little attention to downstream work; a drought in the late 1980s; and inadequate
maintenance. Irrigation structures have deteriorated considerably also because of a shortage of experienced
contractors and poor quality control. Major schemes have been maintained more regularly, have undergone
subsequent rehabilitation, and are in better overall condition than the minor schemes. There were also
problems with the hand-pumps for village water supplies. Many have been rehabilitated with the help of other

donors and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs).

Institutional impact
KRDP and SRDP were innovative in that they relied on existing line agencies and departments to carry out
the projects, and were in line with the government's objectives of decentralizing planning and budgeting.
Their greatest strength lay in their successful improvements in the implementation capacity of line agencies.

The two projects also affected the design and implementation of later initiatives of the Integrated Rural
Development Program. However, because project funds remained in the hands of central ministries, decision
making remained centralized. Planning and horizontal coordination among agencies was weak, largely
because the responsible agencies had been excluded from the original planning process.

The projects did provide useful lessons for later projects, especially in their use of existing institutions and
their multi-sectoral, integrated approach to district-level planning.

The sustainability of the assets created under the projects remains uncertain. The project planners did not
consider how benefits would be sustained after the projects closed, and they did not adequately include
beneficiaries in planning and design. Thus, local communities did not develop a sense of ownership in the
projects and were reluctant to maintain them.

The projects did not encourage the involvement of user groups, which are essential for operation and
maintenance. Farmers tended to see user groups promoted by the government as imposed from the outside,
and did not often participate. To date, the most successful groups have been initiated and are run by users

Despite impressive achievements in rehabilitation, replanting, and under planting schemes, beneficiaries
often have not continued with recommended management practices (applying fertilizer, weeding, and
conserving soil and moisture through drains and pits). For example, only 11 percent of beneficiaries of the
coconut replanting scheme have continued to maintain field drains, largely because of escalating labor costs
and limited perceived benefits. Some farmers also mentioned serious delays in receiving the first credit
installment as the main reason for dropping out of the scheme.

The views of beneficiaries

According to an independent evaluation of beneficiaries, beneficiaries recognized that irrigation rehabilitation
works increased the availability of water, allowing farmers to increase yields and enlarging the area in which
a second crop can be grown during the spring monsoon season. They also said the new water wells helped
improve health, especially among children. Farmers felt positive about the availability of improved seed
varieties, the introduction of early maturing varieties, and extension advice. Small electrification schemes,
which helped the expansion and growth of small- and medium-sized enterprises, created an estimated 2,000
jobs in the three districts.

Beneficiaries said the roads were the most useful addition to their daily lives, especially in areas where new
roads replaced footpaths. The roads allowed buses and trucks to reach villages and permitted villagers to
travel to other areas, expanding job opportunities and greatly improving access to markets and health and
educational facilities.

However, the majority of farmers felt that the projects missed an opportunity by not involving them more in
the design, implementation, and oversight of the rehabilitation works. Farmers often felt that practical issues
and concerns they had raised during implementation were not adequately addressed. The design of the
Kurunegala project, for instance, was discussed with beneficiaries only after implementation was well under
way. For SRDP, preliminary meetings provided an opportunity for farmers to express their concerns, but
budget constraints limited the tackling of some important issues.

Farmers also felt that, being physically close to the projects, they could have exercised better quality control

over the works. Farmers reported that they had conflicts with contractors in more than half the schemes
inspected. When farmers were involved in all stages of the work, as in some other schemes, the structures
were being maintained properly. In a few cases, farmers had even contributed group funds to the
rehabilitation of the schemes.


Flexibility of design and implementation is more effective than a blueprint approach in rural development
schemes carried out in several regions with differing conditions. Today, the blueprint approach of the early
projects has been replaced by a more flexible, process oriented approach, in which projects follow one- to
two-year rolling plans using a learning-by-doing arrangement that relies heavily on people's participation (this
approach calls for much longer implementation periods than those readily compatible with the Bank's typical
project cycle and procedures, and a more gradual build-up of activities). Sri Lanka's current rural
development projects are poverty oriented, encourage grassroots participation, use process rather than
blueprint planning methods, and see monitoring as a management tool.

Participation by stakeholders and beneficiaries in all phases of a project—including evaluation—is extremely
important for long-term sustainability. Public sector agencies and village level organizations need to be
directly involved in maintenance. Institutional arrangements for these aspects of the projects need to be
planned at the design stage. Collaboration with beneficiaries is also needed to monitor a project's
performance and effects. This helps choose truly significant variables for monitoring and ensures sufficient
"ownership" of the monitoring process to carry it out effectively.

Participation turned out to be the key to many improvements in project design, and led to considerable
changes in subsequent projects. Today, the Integrated Rural Development Program is considered very
successful. The 16 projects that have been carried out since KRDP and SRDP (and four others planned)
actively involve the private sector and NGOs in bottom-up initiatives conceived and requested by
beneficiaries. The government facilitates the provision of services, rather than seeking to provide all the
services on its own. In today's projects, groups of villagers (tank committees, farmer organizations, water
user groups) are expected to assume responsibility for operating and maintaining facilities at the village level.

Focus on poverty alleviation. The projects treated the entire rural population of the region as the target
group, making no specific attempts to identify and focus development efforts on the poor. Project activities
need to be selectively targeted if the most disadvantaged groups are to benefit, and this has received greater
attention in later projects.

Participatory evaluation

The goal of the evaluation team, led by Vanda Altarelli of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO),
was to determine the changes brought about by the projects in "real life" situations and to learn from both the
successes and failures.

Given the very broad coverage of the projects, the evaluators concentrated on the components aimed at
increasing agricultural production, which accounted for about 80 percent of costs in KRDP and 60 percent in
SRDP, respectively. The evaluation made an economic analysis of project benefits, and covered
infrastructure, institutional development, irrigation rehabilitation, coconut and export crops, and credit.

The evaluation team used a variety of participatory techniques to obtain the views of principal stakeholders,
direct beneficiaries (particularly farmers), line agencies, project managers, and the government. Information
was gathered from observations, individual interviews, and focus groups with farmers and villagers.
Quantitative data obtained from these sources, combined with official statistics, allowed statistical inferences
to be made about factors such as income and production levels in the project areas.

The evaluation assessed project effects at both the district and household levels. It examined the distribution

of benefits, the effects on regional disparities within districts, and the impact of specific components on
households. The analysis uses two methods of assessing the impact on households: farm models
representing the situations of typical holdings with and without project interventions, and estimates from
beneficiaries of changes in sources of their incomes after the projects.

The main conclusions of the evaluation report were discussed at a workshop in Sri Lanka in March 1996,
organized by the Ministry of Finance and Development. The OED report is based on the report of the FAO
team and incorporates the major issues raised at the workshop. Group discussions at the workshop focused
on how approaches to rural development had changed since the two projects were designed, and on the
implications of experience with these projects for future rural development efforts.

*Impact evaluation report: "Sri Lanka: Kurunegala Rural Development Project and Second Rural
Development Project," by John English, forthcoming. Available to Bank executive directors and staff from the
Internal Documents Unit and from regional information service centers, and to the public from the Public
Information Center: 1-202/458-5454, fax 1-202/522-1500, e-mail Précis written by
Stefano Petrucci.

Appendix B

Coordinating poverty alleviation programs with regional and local governments: the experience of
the Chilean Social Fund - FOSIS


This paper reviews the Chilean experience in dealing with the issue of integration of local and regional
governments into the poverty alleviation programs carried out through the Chilean Social Fund (FOSIS).
FOSIS was created in 1990 by the first democratically elected government that took office after seventeen
years of military rule. However, it was only in 1992, that local governments were elected after a long period
of appointed officials, and neglect of investments in economic, and social infrastructure. Since its inception,
FOSIS gave high priority to participatory approaches, and capacity building of community organizations, as
the key mechanisms to enable the poor to improve their living conditions on a sustainable basis. This paper
traces the evolution of FOSIS, and analyzes its new strategy for allocating resources at the regional and
local levels. The Chilean case presents a successful example of increasing integration of local governments,
with poverty programs designed, and implemented by intermediaries (mostly non-governmental
organizations), and/or directly by beneficiaries. (Barrientos, 1999, Abstract)

Appendix C

Case Study Summaries

The evaluation‟s single largest component was case studies of eight good-practice projects and four good-
practice country assistance strategies (CASs). Case study reports for the 12 operations vary in length from 6
to 19 pages, totaling well over 100 pages—too long for inclusion in this volume. The full texts are available
from OED. The summaries of the case study findings presented here describe the participation strategy and
process, what worked well and what did not, factors that enabled or constrained participation, the benefits
and costs of participation, and lessons learned. The eight project summaries are presented first, then the
four CAS summaries—in alphabetical order, by country.

The case study projects are:

Bangladesh: Health and Population Sector Program
Bangladesh: Second Rural Roads & Markets Project
El Salvador: Basic Education Modernization Project
Guatemala: Social Investment Fund
India: Karnataka Rural Water Supply and Environmental Sanitation Project
Kenya: Arid Lands Resource Management Project
Malawi: Social Action Fund Project
Malawi: Primary Education Project



Participation Strategy of the Program

At the heart of participatory strategy in Bangladesh‟s (reproductive) health sector was better client
orientation, with the objective of improving health and family planning (FP) services. As an innovative project
within the Fourth Population and Health and Project (FPHP) framework, the Thana Functional Improvement
Pilot Project (TFIPP) was launched with elements that introduced poverty-sensitive user charges for health
services; the implementation of such health-related activities as social infrastructure measures; and close
collaboration with local Union Council members and other segments of local civil society in the preparation,
implementation, and monitoring of Functional Improvement Action Plans (FIAPs). The most successful
element of the TFIPP was probably the recruitment and training of female village health volunteers (VHVs).
Also contributing to experiential learning about the participation of primary stakeholders were projects such
as GTZ‟s Bogra Project, which developed various village and union council models for decentralized,
integrated, and participatory health and family planning services.

Thanks to the initiative of donors (SIDA and CIDA) and national NGOs, primary stakeholder participation
ranked high on the agenda of the design process for HAPP V (Fifth Health and Population Project) and in the
development of the government‟s strategy for the health and population sector. To expand stakeholder
involvement in preparation of the new policy, MOHFW (Ministry of Health and Family Welfare) set up a Task
Force on Stakeholder Participation to guide the process. Stakeholder mapping and analysis identified three
broad categories: primary stakeholders or clients, secondary stakeholders or providers, and external groups,
which included NGOs, women‟s organizations, political parties, local government, professional associations,
and members of civil society. One objective of the process would be gender and socio-economic equity.

HAPP‟s present project design reflects some of the clients‟ priorities, such as the integration of FP and health
services, better information on drugs and drug use, and more transparency and accountability in the
provision of services. But it also ignores some of their priorities, including villagers‟—especially women‟s—
desire for door-to-door FP service and satellite clinics that come to their village once a month as well as
community clinics that offer integrated services in a fixed place several kilometers away.

Main Observations and Findings

The sustained participation of primary stakeholders in the planning and implementation of projects and
program calls for a sustained participatory approach in the service-providing organizations. The main topic in
our discussion with health and FP officials was their concerns about the planned merger between FP and the
Health Department. The plan was to establish permanent community clinics with integrated services; FP field
workers feared they would lose their jobs and that the Health Department‟s superior budgetary status would
ensure its leading role. FP staff felt insecurity mixed with anger. The review team was asked repeatedly how
community participation could be achieved when the department staff felt insecure and unmotivated. This is
only one example of how institutional problems with service providers hamper open communication with

The opportunity for participatory consultations to develop ownership and the motivation to change was not
realized in the design process for HAPP V. The methods used (focus group discussions in homogenous
groups on all relevant topics) were state of the art and the NGO facilitators generally did a good job. But the
consultations were mainly an exercise in extracting information. The momentum of interest, motivation, and
increased communication among people who normally do not talk to each other so openly was lost
afterwards. Most participants never got feedback on what happened to their comments and never learned to
what extent their contribution helped shape the new health program.

The selection of villages for consultation should be an informed choice, on the basis of such criteria as
remoteness, poverty, and the literacy rate. Randomly selecting five villages out of a total of 85,000 for
village-level consultation did not make sense. One of the villages selected was Mithanala, where
infrastructure was excellent and people were better off than most villages.

Women’s participation in sector consultations broadens the development vision. District-level consultations
made it obvious that women could express their needs and priorities. It was women who voiced the demand
for integrated services, for the training of local health volunteers, and for female representation on local
health coordinating committees. One positive feature of the district-level consultation—strongly supported by
NGOs—was the discussion of such issues as (domestic) violence against women, a subject normally taboo
in Bangladeshi society and ignored by health service providers. An NGO official told us that only because
individual women, women‟s organizations, and local human rights groups articulated concern about violence
women did HAPP V include activities on this issue.

Participatory programs foster women’s empowerment and leadership but need to be supported by women’s
increased access to education and financial resources. Women told us how much their life changed through
their work as health volunteers. One woman said her husband no longer beats her; another said her
husband still beats her, but now she has more self-esteem. In village meetings it was astonishing how much
women spoke up, describing the change in their lives over the last 10 years. They often said that “Grameen
and girls‟ education” were the decisive factors for change.

Using women as village health volunteers is important to sustained, participatory, client-oriented health
services. In other countries, sooner or later grassroots development volunteers have demanded that
payment for their services be put on the agenda; in Bangladesh, the system of village health volunteers
seems to work quite well. We met several female VHVs who had been delivering good volunteer services to
their communities for five years and had no intention of quitting. The status the position brings, combined
with local social pressure to perform well, is obviously a sustainable mixture for voluntarism.

Participation increases primary stakeholders’ willingness to pay for services. As the BAVS (Bangladesh
Association of Voluntary Services) case shows, villagers will pay for services if they are convinced of their
quality and usefulness. The amount of family income spent on health care in Bangladesh is already relatively
high, consisting mostly of unofficial access fees paid to doctors and pharmacists for services.

The government does not “own” participation. The government remains skeptical about participation and
partnership and delays institutionalizing such participatory mechanisms as the Stakeholder Participation
Coordination Committee. It tolerates discussions about participation but takes little concrete action and
clearly has strong reservations about (and obvious vested interests in not) proceeding. Most district-level
health officials believe the new health strategy was formulated by donors and the planning department.
Because medium- and lower-level staff members in various departments were not consulted or included in
decision making, they feel little if any ownership of the strategy.

Even the most active and informed partners and stakeholders did not consistently understand the concept of
participation. Even trained staff on innovative projects such as TFIPP did not understand the concept of
empowerment. Asked what the participation of primary stakeholders in health services meant, their answers
ranged from “listening and giving information” to “giving space for complaints and listening”; there was no
mention of accountability to clients or sharing decision making power. This limited understanding of
participation was found at all levels, especially in the government, suggesting the extent to which donors
drive the participation agenda in Bangladesh.

Experience with innovative projects may help mainstream participation. Projects such as TFIPP, BAVS, and
the Bogra health program provide experiential learning about participation and can prepare the ground for
mainstreaming the participation agenda. But such projects are still too few in number and too scattered to
effect the needed change.


This sector program, with its long history of successes and failures in improving health care services in
Bangladesh, is entering its fifth phase with many political and operational problems. What we found instead
of participation was a discourse on participation, at every level—from the villages to the chairman of the
recently established Participation Stakeholder Coordination Committee. This discourse had a strong political
dimension: who was gaining control and who was losing power. Having primary stakeholders participate
more in the design and operations of the health care system—and increasing the participation of secondary

stakeholders (or partners) on all levels (field-level family welfare workers, thana-level civil surgeons, local
NGOs, national NGO networks, and donors)—obviously poses a threat to the health establishment, which in
Bangladesh is interwoven with the local, regional, and national political establishment. The voices of primary
stakeholders were ultimately not heard in the issue of community clinics, but community clinics were a major
point in discussions about the design of HAPP V, and the government was under pressure to defend its

Clearly, participation and partnership increase the pressure for change, for better governance, and for more
transparency and accountability. First, however, participation must be institutionalized in the service-
providing organizations, and participation and partnerships at all levels must increase. A focus only on
primary stakeholders may limit participation to information sharing; achieving real collaboration and the
empowerment of local communities requires stakeholders at all levels to participate in the design of
programs, which in turn requires strong guidance and knowledge management. Generating a commitment to
change requires continuous feedback on the results of consultations.


Participation Strategy and Processes in the Project

Participation was emphasized in all stages of this project. During design and preparation, rural communities,
local government bodies, and NGOs participated in meetings to agree on project components and to select
locations for the project‟s major works, including rural roads, river ghats (small landing facilities), and
markets. There were processes to systematically involve beneficiaries in decisions about market facilities
and layouts, designs of rural roads, and types and locations of structures along rural roads. When works and
facilities were completed, communities or union parishads were to fully own them and assume responsibility
for their operation and maintenance. Therefore the project included measures to establish or strengthen
institutions for community-based market management.

During the first six to nine months of project implementation, community participation activities were not well
executed. Some structures along rural roads were selected and constructed with no input from community
members. The first markets improved under the project were designed by local government engineers, just
as they had been in the past, not in the participatory way envisaged by the project designers.

Even when participatory planning sessions were carried out, they were often not done well. The Local
Government Engineering Department (LGED) did not have the skills needed to successfully mobilize
communities; indeed, it believed participatory work was simple and straightforward and that anyone with a
little training could do it effectively. With no participation specialists on its staff, LGED recruited 14 district
sociologists and 99 community organizers from among its own storekeepers and account assistants. It
quickly became apparent that these people could not effectively mobilize communities.

The Bank recommended that the community organizers undergo intensive on-the-job training, to be carried
out by experienced community organizers from NGOs or private consulting firms, who would work with the
inexperienced community organizers for three to four months. In addition, two community development
specialists were appointed to supervise the community organizers, a training advisor was given a contract to
develop training methods and prepare training manuals, and the project‟s two participation specialists
developed new guidelines for designing, planning, and implementing markets and structures along rural

These measures improved the participation process significantly. District sociologists and community
organizers became much more effective at mobilizing primary stakeholders for participation. Adopting the
new guidelines, they now made contact with all user groups well in advance of the planning meeting to
mobilize their participation. Then they returned to visit with the groups a number of times to help them
prepare their proposals for presentation at the market planning session to follow. Performance of the
government engineering staff also improved. Market planners starting making more of an effort to hear from
representatives of each of the groups, including women, and to discuss all proposals openly with the whole

Benefits of Participation

Participation is improving project design. Markets designed through participatory planning reflect users‟
preferences much more closely than those designed by local government engineers alone. Without
participation, the engineers, unaware of local needs and priorities, tend to provide the same facilities in every

Participation is improving the quality of construction. Market monitoring committees are effectively
overseeing the quality of construction. Most meet regularly during construction and quickly raise any
concerns they have with contractors and government engineers.

Participation is helping to reduce corruption. Market monitoring committees have full information about the
responsibilities of local bodies, the financial resources available, the facilities to be constructed, and
construction timetables. Suspected corruption has declined markedly.

Participation is increasing the local sense of project ownership. Before participatory processes were
introduced to this project, union parishads sometimes had difficulty mobilizing the required 10-percent
contribution from communities, so the local government engineers had dropped a number of markets from
the project.

Participation is strengthening people’s sense of control over their own development. People we talked with
mentioned how pleased they were that government wanted to hear their opinions. Women were especially
happy, as no one had ever before asked their views or taken their needs into consideration.

Participation is giving poor women greater opportunities. Women readily participated in market planning.
Many of them asked that a special secure, covered selling area be provided for them within the market. This
concept has now been institutionalized and women‟s stalls are being constructed in nearly every market
supported by the project.

Participation builds local capacity to undertake future development activities. None of the communities we
visited had previously been involved with designing, planning, implementing, managing, or maintaining
infrastructure. The experience gained in this project has given them the knowledge and tools to undertake
new projects. Market management committees are already planning new facilities, to be built with their own

Costs of Participation

Making this project participatory involved significant costs. Resources were needed to cover salaries for the
project‟s two participation specialists (one of them an expatriate expert), 14 district sociologists, and 99
community organizers. Participatory processes added an estimated 5,000 taka (about US$1,000) to the total
costs of improving any single market, which cost about $25,000 on average. An unanticipated US$100,000
was needed for the intensive on-the-job training program to develop capacity for participation.

Reasons for Progress

The Local Government Engineering Department enthusiastically supported the participatory approach. It had
experience developing planning capacity at the union and thana levels through training programs and had
worked with local government bodies to implement a variety of programs.

The Bank and the Swiss Agency for Development Cooperation consistently pushed for participation. Their
staff helped design the original participatory strategy, supervised and evaluated early participation
experience, and offered concrete recommendations for improving capacity when weaknesses in
implementation became clear.


El Salvador‟s community-managed schools program, EDUCO (Educación con participación de la
Comunidad), grew out of the country‟s civil war, during which the government had no effective control over
large parts of the country, and the official infrastructure of the Ministry of Education (MINED) ceased to exist.
Parents in those areas had to organize themselves to provide informal education for their children outside of
the government‟s education system. Voluntary associations of households arranged to hold classes in any
building they could find (including houses), hired whatever teacher they could hire, and provided other basic
educational inputs.

Community Education Associations (ACEs, or Asociaciones Comunales para la Educación) are EDUCO‟s
key mechanism operating at the community level. EDUCO typically begins in a community by organizing
general assembly elections for the five members of the ACE. Members of the informal school committees
may become the first ACE. MINED gives ACE members five days of initial training (and periodic retraining
later) to learn ACE responsibilities and MINED‟s rules and regulations. ACEs enter into one-year renewable
agreements with MINED. ACEs select and hire teachers and principals, keep time sheets for personnel and
monitor their performance, administer funds deposited by MINED into ACE bank accounts, manage school
expenses, mobilize parents and the community to perform volunteer work for the school, and organize a
school for parents. The parents serving on the ACE are the most involved but all parents can participate in
EDUCO. Parents conduct varied extracurricular activities to support the school.

The ACEs are proving to be competent school administrators, requiring only limited supervisory support from
MINED. They are handling their financial responsibilities quite well; several schools had been audited, with
no problems. The parents are very active in supporting the school. Every ACE reported parents conducting
fundraising activities, cleaning and maintaining the school, improving the school grounds (for example, by
planting trees), organizing extracurricular activities for the students, and contributing to the school
environment in general. Parents schools did not all function at the same level. Some had maintained
momentum and were getting parental attendance of up to 85 percent; others had run out of topics and
parents had lost interest or energy.

Benefits of Participation

The EDUCO program has improved the quality of education so much that students come from towns and far
away just to attend EDUCO schools. The quality of teachers and education is higher in the EDUCO schools.
EDUCO teachers, who tend to be younger but more enthusiastic, are hired on one-year renewable contracts,
so they have to prove themselves every year to continue earning the ACE‟s approval. EDUCO schools are
about the same as other schools in terms of educational achievement, despite the students being from
poorer households.

Participation is credited with improving education, and a lot of mutually reinforcing incentives exist to
maintain high levels of participation. Parents like the EDUCO system. They can detect problems at the
school and take actions to correct them (for example, by firing problem teachers). Parents benefit directly
from the parents school. ACE members learn skills in managing funds and administering the EDUCO
program. Students like and benefit from EDUCO, which makes them feel more dignified and appreciated.
EDUCO schools do not experience the violence typical in traditional and urban schools. EDUCO facilitates
closer relations between communities, schools, and MINED. It has strengthened self-reliance, activism, and
social capital. The teachers get along well and say there is more teamwork. Their sense of solidarity is one
reason they tend to stay at the school rather than move on to non-EDUCO teaching positions. If they can
satisfy the ACE that hired them, they are secure. All the teachers said they enjoy knowing about their
student‟s home lives. They feel more connected to their work and identify with their responsibilities.

Costs of Participation

Participation in EDUCO does not cost the Bank much. The Bank has supported EDUCO through ESW,
including two beneficiary assessments. Participation in EDUCO is also not very costly for MINED. The
estimated costs per student for EDUCO students ($85) are only slightly higher than for traditional rural school
students ($73). Of this difference, $6 is for community training and $4 for the value of parents‟ time. The real

question is, how much does EDUCO cost the communities? One study estimated that ACEs perform 1,044
hours of work per year, or about 209 hours (5 weeks) per person. By a conservative estimate, the 1,764
ACEs (as of 1997) provide the labor equivalent of 805 full-time staff, or about 28 percent of MINED‟s local
and regional administrative and support staff. The value of labor communities contribute for maintenance is
about $335,000 per year.

Reasons for Success in Participation

There are many reasons why participation has succeeded. First, the commitment exhibited by all parties is
remarkable. Parents have adjusted their work hours to accommodate their work for the school and also
contribute financially when necessary. ACEs like their teachers so much that they want to make them
permanent. ACE members take financial risks to serve but are not discouraged from serving.

Some EDUCO schools function better than others. One strong correlate of success was the community and
ACE members‟ previous experience with participation. MINED took deliberate steps to make EDUCO
transparent and accountable, which contributed to the success of participation.

Disadvantages and Weaknesses of the EDUCO Approach

EDUCO is a highly participatory and effective program generally, but there are some drawbacks to the
system. One of the greatest weaknesses is that parents and ACE are not knowledgeable about rules and
regulations. Part of the problem is that supervisors‟ follow-up and ongoing technical assistance was very
limited. Many schools complained that EDUCO supervisors used to visit them every two weeks or at least
once a month, but now visit only once every two months, because supervisors now cover 30-35 schools, in
addition to other responsibilities. The ACEs themselves can also be a problem. Sometimes communities do
not make wise choices in electing members. People who have the community‟s trust and respect get elected,
but may not have the skills or time to discharge their functions. EDUCO teachers, who often mentioned lack
of job security as a problem, also need better preparation. Although they have adapted to the EDUCO
approach, they have mainly learned on the job. Teachers felt that MINED did not support them enough, and
that parents on occasion overstepped their authority. The teachers need training in improving community-
school relations.

How EDUCO Could Make More of a Difference

Many of EDUCO‟s admirers hope it will extend participation beyond administrative tasks. One current study
of EDUCO is exploring EDUCO‟s potential as a tool for community development. Also, because participation
in EDUCO has been rather isolated, it has not contributed much to the broader processes of development or
democratization in El Salvador, as some hope it might.


The Guatemala Social Investment Fund (FIS, Fondo de Inversión Social) operates as a demand-driven
community investment fund. Communities themselves submit applications to FIS for money to undertake
subprojects from an approved list. Each community receiving money is required to create an enterprise FIS
(EFIS), allowing it to receive funds from the government, enter into contracts, and set up bank accounts. The
intention in creating the EFIS mechanism is that village committees would manage subproject construction.
To request funding, a group need only to have 20 people who agree to participate; they do not need to be
elected by, or represent in any way, the broader community.

The approach did not function as planned. During the project‟s first year, EFIS committees had problems
selecting and supervising contractors, funds were poorly managed, and some contractors abandoned
subprojects. Instead of providing the training EFIS committees needed to administer their own subprojects,
FIS restricted EFIS involvement in the subproject cycle. Under the revised system, FIS managed subproject
funds, selected the contractors, and hired another firm to supervise the contractor‟s work. The EFIS had
merely to organize the community‟s manual labor contribution.

What Worked

FIS successfully managed innovative pilot programs in the following areas: community-managed schools,
working with NGOs on community banks for women, building primary stakeholders‟ capacity for participation
and community development (the Community Organizing Project, POCC), and local government project
planning and coordination. A key challenge in FIS II should be mainstreaming the good practices of these
effective pilot programs. Some of this has already begun. POCC is providing training in all infrastructure
projects and is working mainly with indigenous people.

What Did Not Work

There was no coherent strategy to encourage participation. Some elements of FIS‟ strategy, such as the
demand-driven approach and the creation of legalized groups, suggested an objective of deep community
empowerment, with participation as an end in itself. Other elements, such as providing no training and
making the groups legal standing temporary, ensured that communities would not be empowered and
suggested that participation was seen only as a way to expedite project implementation. In the first two years
of operation, these contradictions were worked out in favor of project-oriented objectives. There was so
much demand for FIS subprojects that promoters were fully occupied just responding to subproject requests;
they did not make time to help communities with needs analysis and the selection of subprojects. Between
that inattention and the failure to provide training, beneficiaries were not well-informed about what FIS
financed, their involvement in identifying needs was compromised, and most of them were not involved in
deciding which subproject was most important.

The Bank’s emphasis on participation was inconsistent. In late 1994 the Bank pressured FIS to raise
disbursement rates by approving more costly subprojects. In complying with this request, FIS sacrificed
community choice, the essence of the demand-driven approach. In early 1996 FIS changed its mandate from
a primary focus on social investment to community development and tried to deepen the quality of
community participation by providing extra training. The Bank directed FIS to abandon this effort and focus
more on production. Not only did the Bank give priority to disbursement over participation, but it did not give
participation priority in its supervision missions. FIS staff reported that some Bank supervision missions were
more interested in inspecting subprojects under construction and did not ask about participatory processes.

EFIS did little to empower communities. One justification for requiring an EFIS was that it would foster
community empowerment by giving village committees a way to contract with private firms and manage
money. After FIS assumed these tasks there was little evidence of the standard FIS subproject empowering
the community. Asked about future plans for improving their communities, most communities responded that
they would solicit donations for other infrastructure projects. Such efforts are appropriate, but should not be a
community‟s only strategy for development. These comments suggest that lack of training was one reason
the standard FIS subproject did not empower communities.

Inadequate NGO involvement hurt training and community development efforts. The OED team found little
evidence of NGO involvement in the subprojects it visited, which is consistent with other evaluations of FIS.
Without NGO involvement, communities were deprived of an important source of training and technical
assistance. NGOs were not involved because of FIS‟s reputation for extensive bureaucratic procedures and
reporting requirements, slow project execution, and late payments.

FIS did little to promote the participation of women. A number of types of subprojects were directed at
women, but FIS had no specific policy of promoting women‟s participation and the standard subproject,
which had little or no upfront project support, did little to invite women‟s participation. Women were rarely on
village committees and participated little in subproject decision making. The situation was better in GTZ-
funded PRODEQ, and in the community banks in POCC micro regions, where women are supported by
strong technical assistance, training, female instructors, and women-only groups (at whose meetings women
do speak). But even within POCC, women have participated little in the inter-community associations, most
of which are men only.

There was too little municipal government involvement. In a few areas the OED team visited, municipal
government was working actively with FIS, helping to coordinate and prioritize subprojects, providing public
land for subprojects, paying for subproject feasibility studies, and providing ongoing maintenance for access
roads and bridges. But in most subprojects there was little or no municipal involvement.

Centralized project administration meant long delays. In the early years of FIS, many communities waited
over a year just to find out if their subproject request had been approved. Processing took so long because
key administrative processes were centralized. By 1998 FIS had decentralized to 21 departmental offices,
the number of subproject documentation requests was cut from 19 to 5, and average processing time was
cut from nine months to five, but top management still selected subprojects.

Costs of Participation

For the standard FIS subproject, we assume no additional costs to FIS for participation. FIS did not have to
pay for community participation in subproject selection, as the communities did this on their own, without the
help of a FIS promoter. Participation actually reduced costs to FIS because each community contributed
labor and resources (an estimated 11 percent of subproject costs). In the pilot community development
program, where more training and support was provided, average gross participation costs were an
estimated 18 percent, ranging from 6 percent to 26 percent, depending on the type of project.

Lessons Learned

Engage municipal government in FIS subprojects. The few examples of local government collaboration
demonstrate its important benefits for subproject preparation and maintenance.

Provide training to build primary stakeholders’ capacity. Village committees did not have enough training to
manage needs diagnosis, subproject selection, or maintenance, processes that functioned well in the pilot
community development program that provided for capacity-building. Good training for a Ministry of
Education pilot project enabled poor rural communities to effectively manage subproject tasks that ranged
from managing funds to selecting and supervising contractors.

Provide training in participation to FIS staff. Currently the technical staff and the POCC facilitators operate
separately from each other. Most of the technical staff believe that their job is to construct works, while the
POCC‟s job is to look after community participation and training. Ideally, the technical staff, and not just the
POCC facilitators, should work with beneficiaries in a participatory, consultative manner.


Extensive experience with rural water supply and sanitation projects has clearly shown that community
participation greatly improves the likelihood that project assets will be fully used and properly operated and
maintained. Building on lessons from earlier experience, designers of the Karnataka project included
activities to involve communities in village planning and implementation of water supply and environmental
sanitation facilities. During the planning phase, villagers participate in decisions about placement of stand
posts; type of drainage system; and numbers and locations of washing slabs, cattle troughs, rubbish bins,
and bathing cubicles. During implementation, they monitor construction. Upon completion, they take
ownership of the water and sanitation facilities and become fully responsible for operating and maintaining
them. To be eligible to participate in the project, communities are required to contribute 30 percent of capital
costs for drainage and bathing cubicles and to agree to pay the full costs of operating and maintaining the
water system and other project facilities.

To coordinate village participation activities and serve as point of contact between the village and the
implementing agency, project villages must establish a village-based institution, the village water and
sanitation committee (VWSC). The VWSC operates as a subcommittee of the village gram panchayat (a
local government body comprising about five villages) and is chaired by the gram panchayat chairman.
Some of its 11 to 27 members are elected and others are appointed. Women and disadvantaged groups
(scheduled castes and tribes) are represented on the committee. The village water and sanitation committee
is responsible for communicating community decisions on system design, supervising construction, and
monitoring health communications and latrine construction. Once the community takes ownership of the
works, the committee is responsible for establishing and periodically reviewing water tariffs for households
and public stand posts, collecting water bills, maintaining records of income and expenditures, handling
payments (for salaries, chemicals, electricity, and spare parts), managing manpower, and solving problems
with the systems.

The implementing agency has appointed NGOs and consultants to help organize village water and sanitation
committees and mobilize community contributions. NGOs are also responsible for getting community input
about system design, promoting latrine adoption, providing health education, and conducting training courses
for operations and maintenance.

Key Findings

Initially the quality of participation was poor, but it improved after the Bank took measures to strengthen it.
The implementing agency lacked experience with participation and project officers had little idea of its
implications or indeed how to carry out participatory activities. Mobilizing community contributions proved
more difficult than expected, for lack of rules about when during project preparation villages had to deposit
their contributions. In some cases, after depositing their contributions with government, villages waited years
for construction to begin, which was frustrating. In other cases construction proceeded even without village
contributions, reducing incentives for them to contribute later and causing resentment in communities that
had met their financial obligations. Moreover, during the first year of project implementation project engineers
did not participate in village planning exercises, so community inputs often were not incorporated into the
project‟s final design. Villagers began to question whether it was worth spending their time and money on a
project, when they had so little influence. In addition, many village water and sanitation committees lacked
capacity to collect and manage funds, supervise construction effectively, or handle operations and
maintenance. Many also failed to include women and representatives of poor and disadvantaged village
Alarmed by these developments—which it felt endangered the sustainability of investments—the Bank
placed the project on its problem list and threatened to withdraw its support unless the quality of participation
improved significantly. Project rules were changed to require villages to contribute 25 percent of their total
capital contribution before construction started, and villages that failed to mobilize the necessary funds were
dropped for consideration. Several measures were taken to strengthen the capacity of VWSCs. Legislation
was passed establishing their independent legal status. Committees received training on financial
management and operations and maintenance. By-laws were adopted specifying that one-third of committee
members were to be women and one-third representatives of disadvantaged groups. Substantial new
resources were allocated for NGOs to mobilize communities and to provide VWSCs with training on financial

management, operations and maintenance, and problem-solving. The implementing agency appointed
community-participation consulting firms to lead and coordinate the work of the field-based NGOs. To ensure
that problems were identified and addressed in a timely way, regular monthly meetings were held during
which NGOs and project staff discussed progress with participation, share experiences, and sought solutions
to village-specific difficulties.

These corrective measures markedly improved the quality of participation. In most communities VWSCs are
now functioning well. Most have bank accounts under their control, meet regularly, and keep accurate
accounts of tariff payments and of spending on operations and maintenance. However, many will need
ongoing support for some time after the project‟s completion.

Community participation in this water and sanitation project has provided significant benefits. Early
indications strongly suggest that participation is improving project design, the quality of construction, and the
likelihood that the facilities created will be fully used and maintained. Participation is also reducing the
likelihood of corruption and misuse of project funds, as beneficiaries are more knowledgeable about what
contractors are supposed to be doing and, with their own resources at stake, more interested in monitoring
their activities. In addition to providing project-specific benefits, participation in this project is making a
difference in other ways. It is fostering the growth of civil society generally, encouraging villagers to take part
in new community and self-help activities, and providing opportunities for women and members of
disadvantaged groups to improve their status.

Participation cost more and took more time than estimated, but efficiency improved after the midterm review.
Mainly because of the intensive NGO input required, the costs to the government of participation in this
project nearly doubled over original estimates cited in the staff appraisal report (from 54 million rupees to 100
million). The costs of participatory activities cost about 25 rupees ($0.60) per project beneficiary, or about 3
percent of the cost of the water system hardware and less than 2 percent of total project costs.

Participation took time. A full year was built into the project timetable to allow enough time to fully implement
community participation, but inexperience with participation significantly delayed project implementation
during the project‟s first three years. During the midterm review it was proposed that the number of project
villages be reduced from 1,200 to 800 to better match government capacity, but changes following the
midterm review allowed implementation to move much more quickly. The project closed six months behind
schedule, and covered nearly all 1,200 villages originally meant to be included in the project.

Lessons Learned

This project was the first in an ongoing series of increasingly participatory rural water and sanitation projects
in India. Both the Bank and government have tried to incorporate lessons learned in the design and
implementation of more recent projects. Among lessons learned:

High-quality participation is not easy to achieve. It requires skills, experience, and commitment on the part of
the implementing agency. If these are lacking, the Bank should ensure that the project provides for enough
time and resources to train project staff, nurture community organizations, and pilot participatory approaches.
It also needs to provide resources for adequate supervision of participatory activities. Intensive supervision in
this project allowed the Bank to identify and plan how to address problems with the participatory process
early in project implementation.

To be sustainable, projects must provide for ongoing support to the village organizations responsible for
managing them.


The community development (CD) component of the Arid Lands Resource Management Project (ALRMP) is
being piloted in four districts of Kenya: Baringo, Mandera, Turkana, and Wajir. OED limited its review to
participation in Wajir, where implementation of participation is most advanced. A participatory community-
based OXFAM project (the Pastoral Development Project), provided the basis for the philosophy and design
of project participation. In both projects, the CD micro projects are process- rather than output-oriented,
valued not for themselves as much as for the communities‟ cumulative experience in selecting,
implementing, and maintaining the projects and project assets. The ultimate goal is to empower communities
to share or take the lead in all three ALRMP components—managing the inevitable cycle of drought, helping
secure livestock marketing channels, and providing social and economic services based on self-help.

Training in participatory methods is central to the strategy. The district project office enlisted an NGO and
consultants to train district project staff and staff from the ministerial line agencies (such as water, veterinary,
health, and education) in participatory techniques, including participatory rural appraisal (PRA) tools and
methods. These staff members then worked with local communities, helping them select, design, and
manage subprojects. Another component of the strategy is to establish broadly representative committees,
called pastoralist associations, modeled after those established by the previous Bank-funded Emergency
Drought Recovery Project and OXFAM.

Participation Processes

The unfamiliar (described by one participant as sometimes “nursery-level”) PRA tools took the pastoralists by
surprise. But they remember the exercises (such as holding onto ropes, placing stones in circles, and
mapping), and even the skeptics came to appreciate the benefits of teamwork in discussing needs, voting on
priorities, and deciding on the composition of the community contribution. They attach value to the PRA tools
because they ultimately produced results.

The communities elected a chairman, secretary, treasurer, and committee members for the pastoralist
associations. The committees OED visited had eight to twelve members, including three or four women.
Nominations and voting appear to have been democratic, with various methods used to overcome illiteracy
or embarrassment. Traditional elders nominated as candidates were not guaranteed a position. In some
communities the chiefs were bothered by the loss of authority implied by the new decision making protocol,
but the discomfort was short-lived and the accommodation on all parts was astonishingly smooth
(astonishing because of the shift in power it implied). Nonetheless, OXFAM‟s midterm review mission warned
OED to avoid reaching easy conclusions about the homogeneity of community decisions, about the
dynamics of power structures in the pastoralist associations, about the “remarkable” accommodation of
chiefs and elders to loss of power, and, especially, about the hidden agendas of clans and subclans “voting”
in a PRA process.

Women gained from the PRA and pastoralist association initiatives. Although no women were voted in as
chairpersons, they were voted onto committees in more than token numbers and remain in charge of the
newly strengthened women‟s subcommittees. OED‟s focus group discussions with women leaders, women
members of pastoralist associations, and other women revealed a well-articulated understanding of the
purpose of the project and the local committees. These successes can be attributed to the use of well-trained
female community development officers.

The project has not yet been effective in scaling up participation. Even if a second project covers a group of
communities similar in number, more than 75 percent of the district‟s communities will remain outside the
influence of this demonstrably effective training program.

Benefits of Participation

PRA training ultimately convinced even the skeptics that collectively the community could tackle problems
previously thought to be outside its control. There is evidence that one of the foundations of community

empowerment—a commitment to collective self-help—has begun to take shape. Some tasks previously left
undone, or performed by government, have been taken up by the pastoral associations.

The pastoral associations have emerged as powerful and effective organizations. They have successfully co-
opted the two traditional sources of power—the administration chiefs and traditional leaders—forming a
remarkably representative and cohesive community wide organization. Communities, especially through their
associations, have in most cases assumed responsibility for oversight of subproject construction and finance.

Women’s role and position in the community, already under reform, have been substantially improved by the
project, especially through representation in the pastoral association and its subcommittees. The position of
members of the women‟s clubs, who usually come from the poorest and fatherless families, has radically

That line agencies at the district level have also absorbed the principles of participation is revealed in their
greater ability to work together and with the community.

Costs of Participation

Project management estimates the costs of PRA and follow-up participatory training for district staff and
communities, plus the extra demands on supervision, to be about 12 percent of project costs. The marginal
costs to the Bank—for extra demands on supervision attributable to participatory activities—has also been
calculated at 12 percent. These estimates include only the pilot project and not the marginal costs to the
Bank of building participation into appraisal design. In a May 1999 report, QAG was alarmed at the
“prohibitively expensive” services required to sustain ALRMP‟s participatory community initiative. It is unclear
what sources QAG relied on to arrive at that conclusion.

Potential Weaknesses of Participation

Whether the pastoral associations will be durable remains to be seen. They could be weakened by old
interclan animosities once the initial gloss of project benefits has worn off. Participation has been slower in
communities where there are many clans—or even subclans. The PRA attracted more settled families than
nomad families, and the ranking of priorities tends to reflect the interests of those settled families.

The more professional the pastoral associations become at presenting proposals for additional assistance,
the longer it will take them to become self-reliant. This makes it difficult for the project to exit from
participating communities.

Lessons Learned

Build on successful models. This project‟s approach to participation built on the previous work of OXFAM
and GTZ, which was well adapted to the district‟s cultural and geographical features.

Provide quality staff training in participation. The district staff became participation-literate and worked
effectively with the local communities.

Build democratic organizations. The new pastoralist associations had legitimacy in the eyes of members
because the procedure for selecting leaders was seen as fair and transparent. This legitimacy helped to
foster self-help and a willingness to accommodate others.

Scale up quality participation. ALRMP is now reaching fewer than 25 percent of Wajir‟s communities.
Adjustments are required above the district level to ensure scaling up and to sustain momentum—a common
theme in recent donor assessments of participatory community development.


At the heart of the Malawi Social Action Fund Project (MASAF) is the community subprojects (CSP)
component, a demand-driven community investment fund that accounts for 71 percent of project costs.
Communities submit applications to MASAF for funds to undertake eligible activities. MASAF provides 80
percent of costs on most subprojects, with communities contributing the other 20 percent as labor and local
materials. By August 1999 about 1,600 community subprojects were under implementation or had been
completed. Roughly 63 percent of these were schools, 21 percent were drinking water projects, 12 percent
were bridges and rural roads, and 4 percent were health facilities. There were also 20 afforestation projects
and one urban market.

The CSP component of the MASAF project was conceived as a way to empower communities to take charge
of their own development agenda, not merely as a mechanism through which to deliver rural infrastructure
quickly and efficiently. To this end, project designers developed a program giving communities responsibility
for all stages of small infrastructure projects: identification, preparation, implementation, operations and
maintenance, and monitoring and evaluation. Community committees had direct control over subproject
funds, which they used to hire and manage contractors, purchase supplies and equipment, and monitor the
work. A new community-based organization, the community project committee (CPC), was responsible for
preparing, managing, and supervising project activities (including funds management, procurement, and
contracting) and serving as intermediary between the community and MASAF.

The public works projects (PWP) component (27 percent of project costs) finances safety-net operations in
poor and food-deficit districts through labor-intensive works. District officers decide which communities will
participate, based on poverty criteria. District officers also decide which activities will be undertaken in a
particular place. Through the PWP‟s top-down approach, over 375 PWPs had been approved by August
1999, and over 160,000 jobs had been created (31 percent of them held by women). Although the public
works component is mainly top-down, it also includes participatory activities. Communities are involved in
selecting the projects to be funded by the component and elect a CPC to assist with project preparation and

What Is Working

The MASAF approach has succeeded in quickly putting substantial resources into communities to undertake
development projects. Within nine months of project effectiveness, in May 1996, over 65 percent of funds for
CSPs were committed, two years earlier than expected. Community handling of project finances seems to be
stimulating the development of local markets and the hiring of local labor. CPCs almost always purchase
project materials from commercial centers near their communities and nearly always hire local labor, for both
skilled and unskilled positions.

Participation is providing opportunities for communities to improve skills and negotiating abilities. Many
communities are for the first time dealing with government officials, financial institutions, contractors and

The MASAF approach is generating a sense of ownership and it is improving relations between communities
and government. Communities are so directly involved in all stages of subprojects that they now understand
better what is involved in planning, implementing, and maintaining a project. At the same time, MASAF is
helping to build government capacity for participation. And there is evidence that some of the MASAF
concepts are being adopted spontaneously by communities trying to solve problems on their own.

What Is Not Working

The main constraint on participation has been communities‟ lack of capacity to implement subprojects. A
second constraint has been MASAF‟s lack of capacity to handle demand, which far exceeded expectations
(all funds for CSPs were committed two years ahead of schedule). The multiplicity of approaches donors use
to execute community projects is a problem, and the central and local governments‟ lack of institutional
capacity for participation could limit the project‟s sustainability.

The community project committee arrangement is not working particularly well. CPCs are created only to
implement community subprojects. They are dissolved when the infrastructure is completed, leaving no
lasting institution behind. MASAF is not helping to build NGO capacity, having dropped plans to involve
NGOs in the project shortly after implementation began out of concern about their effectiveness and

Women are not participating in the ways they should. Women nearly always comprise 40 percent of CPC
members, in conformity with MASAF rules, but they rarely hold any of the four officer positions on the
committee. They see themselves as mobilizers of the labor force (women provide most of the labor for
CSPs) and as providers of food to workers, but not much more.

Operation and maintenance issues are being neglected, on the assumption that sectoral ministries will
handle O&M the same way it handles O&M for all of its infrastructure.

Reasons for Success with Participation

    Top management of the project is knowledgeable, competent, and highly committed. The MASAF senior
    officers‟ competence and obvious passion for the participatory approach are the main reasons for the
    project‟s success.
    The Bank actively supported the idea and provided technical assistance and resources, to learn more
    about community capacity. Technical support kept the Malawi social fund from collapsing or drastically
    slowing down.
    MASAF drew heavily on previous experience, including that of World Vision and other social funds
    projects, for guidance in project design. MASAF piloted its approach before scaling up, and continuously
    incorporated the lessons learned throughout project implementation.
    The MASAF management unit was set up outside the government structure, which enabled it to provide
    quick and responsive service to participating communities. As the MASAF management unit was
    autonomous from government, with its own administrative budget funded by IDA, it had the resources it
    needed to attract highly-motivated staff, and to visit communities regularly and respond to their needs.
    Rural communities in Malawi have traditionally been involved in self-help activities. MASAF was able to
    draw upon these long-existing, supportive social arrangements to mobilize the community contributions
    for the subprojects.
    Top management at MASAF has established a learning culture in the management unit. The executive
    director actively seeks feedback on what is working and what is not and empowers staff to find and
    implement solutions. This learning culture has enabled MASAF to identify and address problems quickly,
    before they become unmanageable.

Lessons Learned

Future MASAF projects need to focus more on institutional strengthening, both in communities and within
government. One approach might be to establish an overarching community development committee or to
strengthen an existing one. For this approach to be truly sustainable, MASAF needs to be more closely
linked with local government structures.

Much more training needs to be offered to build capacity in CPCs. Also, training should be offered to a
broader range of community residents.

Communities should be more involved in subproject design, monitoring and evaluation, and operations and
maintenance. Community members should also be more involved with project oversight than is now the
case. Finally, communities should be given much more responsibility for operating and maintaining


Designers of Malawi‟s Primary Education Project (PEP) viewed community participation in purely
instrumental terms: community contributions were meant to lower costs, speed implementation, and build a
strong sense of ownership that would encourage communities to maintain the facilities once they were
completed. Communities were not involved in project identification, preparation, or appraisal. Government
officials, in consultation with donors, made all the major project decisions. They decided which communities
would benefit, using as criteria poverty level, average number of students per classroom, population density,
gender disparities, and average enrollment ratios. They also decided what construction techniques would be
used and, usually, what form community contributions would take.

Community participation begins with the district education officer visiting the community to announce it has
been selected to receive PEP assistance. Community leaders are asked to identify a specific site for a
school and to indicate their preferences for the layout of the proposed facilities, taking into account technical
advice on sun, wind, and drainage conditions.

At about the same time, district officials and up to three community leaders (including a traditional chief and a
recognized local authority) are invited to attend a two- to three-day orientation workshop to learn about the
community‟s responsibilities to prepare the site, complete the walls and finishing details, plant and maintain
shade tree saplings, and maintain the completed classrooms. The purpose of the workshop, taught by PEP
officials, is to strengthen the leaders‟ commitment to mobilizing the community.

As the contractor completes the shells, NGOs, community leaders, and district officials begin to mobilize the
community labor force. When the hydraform block machine arrives, community members come to the site to
prepare the soil and carry out other tasks under the direction of two hydraform technicians. The responsibility
of working at the site rotates among the 11 to 22 villages that share a primary school, with each providing a
labor force of 50 to 60 people for a half day once every two weeks or so.

Key Findings

The quality of participation has been poor. This is partly because PEP designers and implementers did not
understand how participation worked or what had to be done to involve communities in projects. The PEP
designers expected NGOs to mobilize communities but gave them inadequate resources to do so effectively.
When NGO performance proved disappointing, they were dropped from the project and replaced by
community relations officers attached to the ministry of education, who felt they could mobilize communities
at less cost than the NGOs. But only four community relations officers were appointed nationwide, each
responsible for six or seven districts, and community mobilization continues to lag.

Other problems arose because of PEP‟s approach to school building, especially the use of hydraform
technology. PEP designers seriously underestimated how long communities would take to complete the
necessary number of blocks and therefore the number of machines needed to meet the project‟s ambitious
implementation schedule. Delays in one community caused a chain of delays, as communities that come
later in the implementation schedule had to wait until the earlier ones finished making blocks before they
could get access to the hydraform machine. It was not unusual for communities to wait a year or more after
shells were erected before a machine and its technicians would arrive. This is dispiriting for communities.

Moreover, use of the machines makes it impossible for PEP administrators to request community
contributions (in the form of labor and local materials) before school construction starts. This makes it difficult
to assess whether demand for the schools exists. It is also more difficult to mobilize communities after a
project has been approved than before. Communities have no control over when the machine arrives so they
have no control over when their contribution will be needed, and the machine may arrive when community
members are busy in their fields and have little spare time. By contrast, when communities produce bricks to
contribute to projects they produce them during seasons when labor demand is low.

Community participation in the project is strengthening community capacity to undertake future development
programs. Although this is not an objective of the project, it is happening as communities struggle to find
ways to finish school buildings they desperately want. In some communities school committees have

become truly empowered, setting up project management committees, designing rules to raise revenues,
collecting contributions, managing finances, and hiring workers. These committees are accountable only to
their communities and not to PEP, as PEP played no role in creating them or overseeing their activities.
Community participation also seems to be generating a sense of ownership and of pride, although there is no
evidence to suggest a link between the level and form of participation and the sense of ownership. It is
unclear, for example, whether contributing more days of labor is better than contributing fewer, or whether
contributing physical labor is better than contributing cash.

The direct costs of participation are modest. The costs of orientation workshops for district officials and
community leaders, and payments to NGOs and to community relations officers for mobilizing communities,
amount to about 4 percent of school construction costs. These figures do not include the time spent by
school committee members or community leaders mobilizing and supervising the voluntary labor force.

Lessons Learned

Resources for participation should focus on involving communities in decision making, not on mobilizing
community contributions. PEP‟s designers viewed community participation mainly as a way to lower costs,
speed implementation, and create a sense of ownership. In fact, mobilizing community labor forces to build
schools probably raised costs and slowed implementation. Communities typically produce only about half the
blocks each day that paid labor forces do, using the hydraform machine. A paid labor force could operate the
machine at full capacity and complete schools twice as fast. Using only a paid labor force would reduce the
costs for hydraform technicians and imputed machine rental and interest expense, which could well exceed
the costs of hiring unskilled laborers to make blocks. And it would ensure that communities had their schools

Community participation efforts should focus on mobilizing communities to participate in project decisions,
including decisions about how best to implement the project. School committees left on their own show far
more ingenuity and flexibility about solving implementation problems than do project staff. Mobilizing
community contributions might help create a sense of ownership, the third objective of participation, but so
would participation in decision making. And communities in Malawi are not responsible for maintaining their
schools (one of the main reasons for fostering a sense of ownership); that responsibility rests with the
Ministry of Education.

Developing and implementing an effective participation strategy requires time and money. This was a fast-
track project, designed to provide classrooms quickly, but PEP has delivered classrooms much more slowly
than other projects in Malawi. The problems encountered could have been avoided if more time had been
taken to understand the technology and to consult with communities during project preparation.

Aycrigg, Maria. 1998. Participation and the World Bank: Successes, Constraints, and Responses. Draft for
        Discussion (Prepared for the International Conference on Upscaling and Mainstreaming Participation
        of Primary Stakeholders: Lessons Learned and Ways Forward). Social Development Papers. Paper
        Number 29. November 1998. Washington, DC: The World Bank.

Barrientos, Jorge. 1999. Coordinating Poverty Alleviation Programs with Regional and Local Governments:
        The Experience of the Chilean Social Fund (FOSIS). SP Discussion Paper No. 9933. Washington,
        DC: The World Bank.

Blackburn, James, R. Chambers, J. Gaventa. 2000. Mainstreaming Participation in Development. OED
       Working Paper Series No. 10. Summer 2000. Washington, DC: The World Bank.

Narayan-Parker, Deepa. 1995. The Contribution of People’s Participation. Evidence from 121 Rural Water
       Supply Projects. Environmentally Sustainable Development Occasional Paper Series No. 1.
       Washington, DC: The World Bank.

Parker, Ronald, T. Skytta. 2000. Rural Water Evaluations, Lessons from OED Evaluations. OED Working
        Paper Series No. 3. March 2000. Washington, DC: The World Bank.

Van Wicklin, Warren. 2001. OED Participation Process Review. Draft. January 24, 2001. Washington,
       DC: The World Bank.

World Bank. 2002. The World Bank in Action, Stories of Development. Washington, DC: The World Bank.

World Bank. 2001a. Report No.: 21233 Vietnam. Project Appraisal Document. Northern Mountains
       Poverty Reduction Project. September 5, 2001. Rural Development and Natural Resources Sector
       Unit. Washington, DC: The World Bank.

World Bank. 2001b. Précis No. 209. Participation in Development Assistance. Operations Evaluation
       Department. Fall 2001. Washington, DC: The World Bank.

World Bank. 2001c. Report 21867. Implementation Completion Report. Islamic Republic of Pakistan.
       Rural Water Supply and Sanitation Project. February 26, 2001. South Asia Infrastructure Sector
       Unit. Washington, DC. The World Bank.

World Bank. 1998a. Report No.: 17397 Indonesia. Project Appraisal Document. Kecamatan Development
       Project. April 21, 1998. Rural Development and Natural Resources Sector Unit. Washington, DC:
       The World Bank.

World Bank. 1998b. Report No. 17923. Paraguay Impact Evaluation Report. Community-based Rural
       Water Systems and the Development of Village Committees. Rural Water Supply Project (Loan
       1502 PA), Rural Water Supply and Sanitation Project II-III (Loans 2014, and 3519 PA). May 29,
       1998. Operations Evaluation Department. Washington, DC. The World Bank.

World Bank. 1997a. Participatory Evaluation for Rural Development in Sri Lanka. March 1, 1997.
       Operations Evaluation Department. Précis No. 138. Washington, DC: The World Bank.

World Bank. 1997b. Report 16418. Sri Lanka Impact Evaluation Report. Kurunegala Rural Development
       Project (Credit 891-CE), Second Rural Development Project (Credit 1079-CE). March 28, 1997.
       Operations Evaluation Department. Washington, DC. The World Bank.

World Bank. 1996. The World Bank Participation Sourcebook. February 1996. Washington, DC: The
       World Bank.

World Bank. 1994. The World Bank and Participation. Operations Policy Department, September 1994.
       Washington, DC: The World Bank.

World Bank. 1987. Report 6873. Project Performance Audit Report. Paraguay: Rural Water Supply Project
       (Loan 1502-PA). June 30, 1987. Operations Evaluation Department. Washington, DC. The World

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