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People's participation has become an increasingly important component of FAO’s programmes and projects for agricultural, fisheries, forestry and human resources development. In this Appendix, the main participatory efforts promoted by FAO up until the early 1990s are briefly described.[11]

1. People's Participation in Agricultural and Rural Development through the Promotion of Self-Help Organizations (PPP)

The People’s Participation Programme (PPP) is a concrete follow-up of the Declaration of Principles and Programme of Action of the World Conference on Agrarian Reform and Rural Development (WCARRD) held in 1979 (see Section 1.2). The Programme which started in 1980, was in part based on the ongoing FAO Small Farmer Development Programme (SFDP) carried out in various Asian countries, as well as on the FAO Rural Organizations Action Programme (ROAP) implemented in various countries worldwide.

The main objective of PPP is to develop and test through pilot field projects an operational method of people's participation through the promotion of self-help organizations which method would hopefully be used in larger rural development programmes and projects. The main specific objectives are firstly to help identify, plan and implement income-generating and other group activities for small farmers, tenants, fishermen and/or labourers. Secondly to assist the beneficiaries to organize themselves into self-run groups and organizations or to use existing ones in order to engage in income-raising activities and to have access to services and facilities so that they can satisfy their economic and social needs and become eventually self-reliant. Thirdly, to assist line departments and other agencies including banks and NGOs, to better serve the rural weak. Fourthly, to develop a strategy for expanding the successful features of the project.

The basic elements of the PPP approach are:

- focus on the rural poor

- the formation of small, homogeneous groups around common income-raising activities

- the stimulation of self-organization and self-reliance by eliminating undue dependencies and encouraging group savings

- the use of local group promoters as catalysts for group formation and guidance

- the involvement of NGOs

- participatory training, action-oriented research and monitoring and evaluation

- orientation towards expansion and multiplication by developing linking mechanisms

- seeking preferential policies for the poor

- obtaining sustainability by combining low cost with effectiveness.

PPP projects are funded from various government and other sources; the main donors were so far Sweden and the Netherlands. FAO provides administrative and technical support from its own staff and budget; ESHA is PPP’s major supporting unit. The projects are small-scale and have an average donor contribution of about US $200,000 over three years (see Section 13.3).

The PPP has thus far been implemented in 12 countries viz. 8 in Africa, 3 in Asia and 1 in Latin America. It involved in early 1989 over 10,600 small farmers as direct beneficiaries and when including their family members, over 60,000 rural people of whom 44% are women. The farmers organized themselves with the help of 85 group promoters in over 850 PPP groups and 112 inter-group associations. Three PPP projects (Sri Lanka, Ghana and Zambia) are presently in a second three year phase. Various successful national and international workshops on the PPP have been held.

For more details on the PPP see: FAO People’s Participation Programme - The First Ten Years: Lessons Learned and Future Directions, by Colin McKone, FAO, Rome 1989 (mimeo).

2. Community Action for Disadvantaged Rural Women (CADRW)

This Programme was initiated in 1981 in the ESH Division in response to the mandates of the WCARRD as well as the World Conference on the UN Decade for Women to give direct attention to the needs and priorities of disadvantaged rural women - the landless, dispossessed, abandoned and malnourished - as determined by rural women themselves.

The basic innovative aspects of the Programme were: 1) to take into account women's multiple roles as food producers, providers, parents, and partners in family and community life; 2) to promote support activities that address the women's multiple needs in an integrated way; 3) to promote village based rural centres for demonstrations and other activities of the community's choice; 4) to involve the community, men and women, in identifying their needs and improving their conditions; 5) to develop women's groups for income-raising activities; 6) to assist governments to adopt policies and strategies to provide women with access to resources and services.

The rural centres were to become focal points for attracting women leaders and for promoting women groups engaging in income-raising and other activities like new farming practices, nutrition, leadership, literacy, legal right courses, group child care and appropriate technology.

The Programme which ended in 1984 has been implemented in Egypt, Indonesia, Jordan, Kenya, Mexico, Sri Lanka and Zambia with original funding from SIDA (Sweden) and later on from other sources. The projects succeeded to varying extents in reaching their targets by promoting women's groups and activities; they were also useful in drawing attention of Governments to the needs of the poorest women and in promoting solutions by the beneficiaries themselves. The projects were, however, less successful in generating long-term economic benefits also because the viability of certain activities were insufficiently considered.

A basic difference between the CADRW and PPP is that the former applies a village wide approach to reach the poor women. However, in such approach most actions and benefits are usually taken by the not so poor or better-off women (see also Section 4.1).

3. Community Forestry Programmes

The FAO Special Action Programme entitled "Forestry for Local Community Development (FLCD)" was started in the Policy and Planning Service, Forestry Department and carried out from 1979 to 1986. The SIDA-supported Programme was conceived as a means to stimulate awareness of and establish the basis for community forestry.

Under the Programme forestry managers from 62 countries participated in three Regional Seminars in Mexico, Thailand and Senegal. Some 51 countries took part in study tours to visit community forestry projects in Africa, Asia and Latin America. In-depth evaluations of the programme were carried out in Korea, India and the Philippines. Publications were prepared including on assessing people's needs, monitoring and evaluation, legislation and extension.

FLCD supported furthermore 44 field projects in 37 countries. Initially help was provided mainly to assist countries to define what to do, establish pilot projects, and train core groups of people in community forestry approaches. The emphasis was mainly on fuelwood, and on meeting other household and farm needs from self-help tree planting and management programmes. Later on income-generating activities became increasingly a major objective. Various countries were assisted in solving particular problems in on-going programmes. For example: the evaluation of the performance in the Social Forestry Programme in Gujarat (India), development of strategies to help people introduce trees into small farm systems in Malawi and into grazing systems in Sudan, and the development of a monitoring and evaluation system for use on all state social forestry projects in India.

With the successful outcome of the FLCD Programme, there was a need for wide-spread replication and adoption of community level forestry. Accordingly a catalyst follow-up programme called Forest, Trees and People (FTP) was started in 1987. The FTP Programme aims at enabling people -through their own efforts - to benefit more from forests and trees.

The Programme's specific objectives are: 1) to assemble, analyse and disseminate information needed for planning and implementing sound participatory forestry projects and programmes; 2) to contribute to rural development based on trees and forests for food, fodder and other products and for environmental stabilization; 3) to develop strategies, systems and methods by which people's participation is promoted in tree growing; and 4) to encourage donors to support participatory forestry activities in developing countries.

A solid information base is being built up by gathering data from literature, in-depth studies and field activities. Of the eight FTP field projects, four are SIDA-funded, FAO Trust Fund projects (Burkina Faso, Nepal, Thailand and Zambia). Two projects (Tanzania and Vietnam) are bilateral and coordinated by the Swedish University of Agricultural Services (SUAS), and two projects (Ethiopia and Kenya) are run by Swedish NGOs. Both FAO and SUAS provide technical support to and learn form the 8 projects.

The FTP field projects are located in countries where the chances of participatory tree growing on a larger scale are high. Baseline studies focus on factors such as people's need for trees and how trees can be integrated into local production systems, furthermore on nutrition, fuelwood availability, employment and social conditions. The projects stress participatory monitoring and evaluation and also effective two-way communication between villagers and field agents. Public awareness is raised by using media such as radio, and utilizing school and informal educational facilities. Forest-based small-scale forest enterprises are very much encouraged.

4. Programme for Small-Scale and Artisanal Fishermen

In the seventies it was increasingly realized in FAO and outside that the conventional economic or business approaches were not effective for the development of the world's artisanal fisheries. Consequently various attempts were made to focus on the poorer fishermen rather than on profits. In some cases the efforts were combined with concerns for the environment, food security, employment and intermediate technologies. In the FAO South China Sea and Bay of Bengal Regional Programmes, FAO started to explore alternative artisanal fisheries development policies. The 1984 World Conference on Fisheries Management and Development formulated on the basis of this new thinking a strategy with principles and guidelines for small-scale fisheries development. This strategy reflected the recognition of the need of the latter sector, of its value (production of over 20 million tons of protein food per year), and of its provision of employment (10 million full-time and 10 million part-time jobs). The Programme for the Development of Small-Scale Fisheries, based on WCARRD and the above-indicated conferences, concentrates on assistance for the integrated development of fishing communities. The Programme is based upon: 1) an integrated approach taking into account both technical aspects of development and the socio-economic needs of fishing communities; 2) active participation in development planning actions by small-scale fishing communities; 3) mobilization of local and national resources, skills, finance and markets for the development efforts, so that outside support remains supplementary and catalytic; 4) long-term technical support and in-service training; 5) a continuing and assured share as well as management of the fishery resources for small-scale producers; and 6) explicit attention to enhancing the economic and social role of women in fish production and marketing and in family maintenance.

The Programme activities are being carried out through regional and sub-regional small-scale development teams. The latter provide assistance and advisory services to national teams working on integrated small-scale fisheries development. They establish - where possible together with NGOs - also demonstration projects for in-service training, assist governments to identify the needs of the small-scale fishery sector and to formulate projects. The teams also liaise with bilateral projects, promote technical cooperation and training, encourage the adoption of appropriate technology, evaluate social and other factors affecting small-scale community development and improve village level capability in project planning and implementation. In all this due attention is given to the participation of women. For this purpose the Fishery Department published in 1988 Guidelines for Women in Fishing Communities. The Programme includes the location of Small-Scale Fishery Development Groups in 9 different zones. The Programme approach is furthermore applied in the FAO Regional Programmes Bay of Bengal and Integrated Development of Artisanal Fisheries in West-Africa (IDAF). Under these Programmes also small. informal fishermen groups are being promoted.

5. International Support Programme for Farm Water Management

This Programme which started in 1980 in FAO’s Land and Water Development Division, as a follow-up of WCARRD and other international meetings, had the following objectives: 1) to identify the specific needs of individual countries in water management improvement; 2) to promote and formulate national action plans; 3) to coordinate support to and collaborate with the national action plans and projects; and 4) to monitor, evaluate and provide means for the dissemination and exchange of experience.

The plan of action comprised at the farm and village level the implementation of pilot improvement projects cum training programmes. The activities included: diagnosis of deficiencies and constraints, creating awareness of improvement potential, preparation of frameworks for implementation, operation and maintenance of irrigation systems, backstopping and follow-up services, and training of field extension assistants.

At the national level the activities focussed at build-up of research capacities to handle technical and socio-economic field problems, the promotion of institutional arrangements for the development of water management improvement policies and the implementation of these through the creation of irrigation extension services and the introduction or strengthening of teaching programmes in water management. For broad support an Advisory Panel was established in 1981 which included administrators and specialists from donor and developing countries.

Key components and results of the Programme which ended in 1986 were:

1) Field projects implemented in several countries. These were characterised by farmers’ participation, simple technology, use of local manpower and resources, and low-cost implementation.

2) Training: Education and training programmes carried out for farmers as well as irrigation operators, advisors and technicians; furthermore study tours for farmer leaders and the preparation of several information materials. Also various international and national workshops and seminars were conducted, among others, in Pakistan, the Philippines, Surinam, Kenya, Indonesia and Sierra Leone.

3) Institution building: The capacity to plan and carry out water management improvements were strengthened in a number of countries, specifically through setting up irrigation Services at national level.

The Programme has actively dealt with a number of technical, socio-economic and institutional issues and problems at grassroot and higher levels. In particular with those of farmers1 participation: e.g. with water users associations, farmers' involvement In irrigation development and water management and technical constraints of farmers' participation in water management at the tertiary level. In fact, at the request of several countries, the Programme contributed considerably to the study and promotion of irrigation farmers' participation in a number of different irrigation zones. In the latter case studies were conducted of potentials, successful efforts and constraints of participation. Moreover several recommendations to increase farmer participation were made to government agencies and donors, including in workshops and publications. Some of the latter deal in-depth with participation problems in water management and provide suggestions for pragmatic solutions (see Appendix 2: Selected References).

6. Freedom from Hunger Campaign/Action for Development (FFHC/AD)

This unique Programme was created, already in 1959, to support the participatory development activities of NGOs with special focus on the rural poor, as well as to promote public debate and exchange on development issues. Over the past three decades the FFHC/AD Unit in FAO has built up a network of relations with NGOs operating at grassroot level in Africa, Asia and Latin America. At the request of its NGO partners, FFHC/AD carries out several activities which are complementary to those of the NGOs as well as of governments and include the following:

- Training: FFHC/AD organizes training courses for NGO staff and field workers on various aspects of participatory development, from skills training to project formulation and management, to communications and cultural forms of expression.

- Exchange programmes: FFHC/AD helps national NGOs and local people's organizations to visit and learn from each others' experiences, within and between countries.

- Networking: FFHC/AD supports NGO partners' efforts to build up networks of communication and collaboration at country and regional levels. It provides funds to enable them to meet, discuss and plan together, and to study problems and issues of common concern.

- Project support: Over US $8 million in NGO donor assistance is currently being channelled to projects which FFHC/AD has helped partner organizations in 35 countries to formulate. At the same time, FFHC/AD works with NGOs in the South to improve the quality of their project work by assisting them to evaluate their programmes, training their staff, helping national NGOs to build more continuous links with community-based groups and giving NGOs access to FAO's technical expertise.

- NGO/Government relations: Because it is part of an inter-governmental organization and because it has won the confidence of NGOs in the South, FFHC/AD is in a good position to facilitate dialogue between governmental organizations on the one hand, and NGOs and their field workers on the other. FFHC/AD also helps to provide support and legitimacy to local groups vis-à-vis the governments of their countries.

- North/South solidarity: FFHC/AD provides a forum for dialogue and discussion among NGOs in the North and in the South about how to improve the quality and the effectiveness of their relationships. FFHC/AD also helps Northern NGOs to identify valid partners in Third World countries, and vice versa.

- NGOs and inter-governmental organizations: FFHC/AD constitutes a channel whereby the inter-governmental community can learn from the experiences and insights of NGOs in the field of participatory development.

- Information and documentation: FFHC/AD publishes two regular bulletins "Ideas and Action" (recently discontinued due to financial restrictions) and "Development Education Exchange Papers". It maintains a documentation centre with materials of particular interest to NGOs, and provides Southern NGOs with advice on improving their own documentation work. Collection and dissemination of documents of interest to NGO field workers is also carried out by FFHC/AD staff in the regions.

The small FAO FFHC/AD team consists of seven professionals of whom four are based in the field (Accra, Addis Ababa, New Delhi and Rio de Janeiro). The Unit has full access to FAO's wealth of technical expertise and its network of representatives in 74 countries. FFHC/AD does not receive funds from FAO for field projects; It helps Southern partners to formulate projects but they are funded by Northern NGOs.

[11] One interesting effort not mentioned by the author is the FAO Integrated Pest Management (IPM) Programme. The IPM Programme began in the late 1980s in Asia and has now expanded to Africa utilizes a similar participatory group approach, called "Farmer Field Schools," but with a specific focus on pest management problems. For more information on this programme see their Internet site:

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