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Chapter Five

Participatory Approaches to Development in FAO 60


378. The term "people's participation" entered development literature in the 1970s, in response to the failure of many externally-designed assistance efforts to achieve desired developmental goals, with particular reference to disadvantaged beneficiary groups. Until that time, conventional project strategy had tended to view development in terms of technology transfer aimed at increasing production and assumed that benefits would accrue to all levels of society. Evidence, however, indicated that benefits of technology transfer, when they occurred, were mostly realized by large or medium-scale producers, often accompanied by even greater marginalization of the rural poor.

379. At the same time, it was recognized that people in rural communities were rarely consulted about the aims of projects and were not involved in their implementation. Target beneficiaries were assumed to share the same perceptions and goals of (usually external) project designers, which was not often the case. Results of projects based upon this assumption were often disappointing.

380. FAO's association with participatory approaches to development dates back to the early 1970s, through the Freedom from Hunger/Action for Development (FFHC/AD) campaign, the Small Farmers Development Programme (SFDP) in Asia and numerous other field projects aimed at generating informed and conscious participation of local people at all stages of the development process. By 1975, FFHC/AD's objective was identified as "to encourage people's participation in their own development, stimulating at the same time a critical awareness of what this participation means". The SFDP arose from studies that showed that large, more formal organizations (often governmental) were not effective in delivering services to small farmers, particularly the poorest farmers. It organized thousands of small (8-15 persons) participatory groups to engage in joint economic activities, in Bangladesh, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Nepal, the Philippines, Sri Lanka and Thailand.

381. A major boost to the principle of people's direct involvement in the development process came at the 1979 World Conference on Agrarian Reform and Rural Development (WCARRD). WCARRD affirmed that "participation by the people in the institutions and systems which govern their lives is a basic human right and also essential for realignment of political power in favour of disadvantaged groups and for social and economic development". One of the major points emphasized at WCARRD, which influenced many of the action programmes that followed, was the importance of strengthening the institutional and organizational capacities of disadvantaged people to collectively participate in rural development.

382. Subsequent to WCARRD, people's participation gained considerable momentum in donor agencies and international organizations, including FAO. Around this time, a number of donor-funded participatory programmes were begun, including People's Participation in Agricultural and Rural Development through the Promotion of Self-help Organizations (PPP), Community Action for Disadvantaged Rural Women (CADRW), Forestry for Local Community Development (FLCD), Development Support Communication programmes (DSC), Forests, Trees and People Programme (FTPP) and the Programme for Small-scale and Artisanal Fisheries. All these programmes involved local people through community-based organizations in the design and implementation of development activities and made conscious efforts to embrace the poorest of the poor as a principal target beneficiary group. Similarly, the FFHC/AD programme placed increasing focus on ensuring local ownership of projects and to non-project forms of support like training in participatory development for field workers.

383. The Governing Bodies retained a strong interest in participation and in 1989, the FAO Council recommended that participatory development should be integrated into all development policies and programmes of FAO and that FAO develop a Plan of Action for People's Participation. The FAO Conference adopted a Seven-point Plan of Action in 1991. The Plan contained proposals for action for both FAO and governments and was aimed at:

384. In recent years, there has been an increasing interest in and trend towards participatory approaches to development, brought about by several factors. Government downsizing and decentralization have redefined the responsibilities of the state and private sector, thus creating institutional and service gaps at various levels and increasing the potential role of communities in decision-making. A broader and more assertive range of civil society actors is present. NGOs, often important users of participatory approaches, are becoming more active in filling the gaps as government retreats as the major actor in front line service delivery. New information technologies potentially shift information much faster and networking possibilities are increasing demands for participation, particularly through e-mail and the Internet, and these are expected to increase rapidly in the coming years. In these conditions, it is generally felt that neither donor nor government may act unilaterally to plan, coordinate, or direct development activity. Wider consultation and involvement is not merely desirable on normative grounds but operationally essential.

385. FAO is seeking to keep step with this trend toward participatory development, as is documented in this chapter. At the same time, it is strengthening its relations with civil society actors whose involvement, as emphasized in the World Food Summit Plan of Action, is essential to attain food security goals. A recent review of FAO's policy and strategy of cooperation with NGOs and other civil society organizations is providing guidance for these efforts.

386. The focus in this chapter is on FAO's involvement in grassroots development activities, as opposed to work on participation in a broader sense aimed at an enabling policy environment for people's participation. For the purposes of comparison and analysis, the review first considers field projects and then Regular Programme outputs. Finally, the review presents conclusions and outstanding issues, and makes recommendations for future FAO action in this area.


387. Many units within FAO support participatory approaches to development, although it is the main focus of activity of the Rural Institutions and Participation Service (SDAR) within the Rural Development Division (SDA). SDA and its predecessor division played significant roles in mainstreaming rural development, equity and participation issues in FAO since the mid-seventies, beginning with WCARRD and the launching of a number of WCARRD follow-up action programmes with strong participation elements, such as CADRW and PPP. In 1989, it also was assigned a lead coordinating role in the preparation of the Committee on Agriculture paper on "People's Participation in Agricultural and Rural Development" and in the drafting of the FAO Plan of Action on People's Participation in 1991. SDAR's mandate is to analyze the causes of poverty, and design policies and strategies and approaches that increase the rural poor's access to employment, resources and services. SDAR's main focus is on strengthening those rural institutions that facilitate the active participation of rural people, especially the rural poor, in the development process. It has fostered people's participation in socio-economic development largely through pilot projects aimed at creating or strengthening autonomous and sustainable rural people's organizations. SDAR is a primary, but not sole source within FAO of normative work on participatory approaches. Other FAO units support participatory approaches to different degrees.

388. The participatory programmes included in this review are:

Participatory Activity Responsible FAO Unit
People's Participation Programme Rural Institutions and Participation Service (SDAR), Rural Development Division (SDA)
Rural Agricultural Cooperatives, Work with Marginalized Groups, Decentralization Rural Institutions and Participation Service (SDAR), Rural Development Division (SDA)
Community Forestry Community Forestry Unit (CFU), Forestry Policy and Planning Division (FON)
Small-scale Fisheries (sometimes called Artisanal Fisheries) Fishing Technology Service, Fishery Industries Division (FII)
Participatory Nutrition Nutrition Programmes Service, Food and Nutrition Division (ESN)
Dairy Cooperatives Animal Production Service, Animal Production and Health Division (AGA)
Water Users' Associations Water Resources, Development and Management Service, Land and Water Division (AGL) and Special Programme for Food Security (SPFS)
Block Demonstrations of Fertilizer Use Soil Resources Management and Conservation Service, Land and Water Division (AGL) and Special Programme for Food Security (SPFS)
Farmers Field Schools for Integrated Pest Management (IPM/FFS) Plant Protection Service, Plant Production and Protection Division (AGP)
Farming Systems Development Farm Management and Production Economics Service, Agricultural Support Systems Division (AGS)
Gender and Development Women in Development Service, Women and Population Division (SDW)
Veterinary Services Animal Health Service, Animal Production and Health Division (AGA)
Participatory Extension and Communication Extension, Education and Communication Service, Research, Extension and Training Division (SDR)
Participatory Planning of Investment Projects Investment Centre (TCI)
Special Programme for Food Security Many; lead role on participation from Agriculture and Economic Development Analysis Division (ESA)
Capacity building for NGOs/civil society organizations Many, with lead role from Unit for Cooperation with the Private Sector and NGOs (TCDN) and SDAR

389. In addition to organizational initiatives, interest in promotion of participatory approaches has arisen informally among FAO staff. The best example of this was the emergence in 1989 of an informal network of staff members, the so-called Participatory Rural Appraisal network. The growth of the network was greatly facilitated by the widespread use of e-mail in FAO, which began about the same time. Presently, some 150 staff members at all levels participate in the network (which also includes members from IFAD and WFP). The PRA network holds lunch-hour seminars presented by guest speakers on topics relating to participatory development. As a result of the interest generated through the network, in 1994 two training courses on the topic of PRA were held for FAO staff. Approximately 25 staff attended these courses from a variety of divisions.


390. FAO has implemented over the past 25 years many hundreds of projects which have made use of participatory approaches, including a number of large-scale rural development projects. This review examined only projects implemented during the period 1992-98 with direct support from FAO technical units working with participatory approaches. The sample of FAO's participatory field projects was analyzed based upon the following questions:

391. The participatory field projects of FAO fall broadly into two categories: either they take a multidisciplinary, general rural development approach or else are concentrated within a single discipline. Multidisciplinary projects attempt to address problems identified by a community within a variety of fields at the same time, including education, health, agricultural production, and include activities aimed at general empowerment of community members and groups. These projects do not begin with a pre-determined focus for project work, but with a broad analysis of community problems and needs, using PRA or other participatory assessment tools. From the needs assessment, activities are prioritized and undertaken. Activities are often focused on income generation, but other non-income related activities could also take place. The People's Participation Programme (PPP) is a good example of FAO's work in this area. Other examples of this approach are found in projects in support of such areas as community forestry and Farming Systems Development.

392. The single discipline projects start with a pre-determined sectoral focus, such as pest management, and use participatory techniques to develop and introduce improved practices, or to improve delivery of services by a specific government agency. The Farmer's Field School for Integrated Pest Management (IPM/FFS) is an example of this type of approach. Other work is being done within the areas of veterinary services, small-scale fisheries, water users' associations, dairy production and others. Although the approach focuses on a single discipline, there can be follow-up and improvements within other areas of community need. These are not single discipline projects in a strict sense, but tend to have pre-determined initial starting points and activities that are much more restricted than those of the multidisciplinary participatory projects.

Why were participatory approaches used?

393. In the multidisciplinary projects, participation is a means to engage a community or a sub-sector within a community in analyzing its problems and needs, and in developing and implementing solutions. The project and its collaborating institutions such as government agencies or NGOs support the community in undertaking those activities that the community determines are most important. These projects could be considered to be potentially the most participatory type of project, in that decision-making is turned over to the communities, and the projects and other "outsiders" play support roles rather than directive roles.

394. Achieving a more equitable distribution of services and benefits was a key rationale for many of the multidisciplinary projects. Participation in decision-making was employed to bring in the voices of community members who were often overlooked in analysis and planning for delivery of services. Improved equity, together with improved productivity/incomes, was thought to be a necessary condition for rural development. Participation was also thought to be a pre-requisite for sustainability. That is, community members would undertake willingly those projects and activities which were the most relevant to them, and which could best be identified by having the beneficiaries themselves participate in the problem identification and problem solving. The activities would be initiated with the assistance of the project and other outside agents, but would be carried on by the community itself when outside assistance was no longer available.

395. In the case of the People's Participation Programme (PPP), small self-help groups, organized around income-generating activities identified by members themselves and supported by specially-trained group promoters, were used as building blocks in order to construct larger, more participatory and sustainable rural people's organizations. Participatory community analysis was used to obtain the views of the potential beneficiaries, identify socio-economic conditions and influences, determine action areas, types of groups and group activities.

396. Multidisciplinary community forestry projects address both sustainable forest management and sustainable rural development in the belief that the lives of the people in communities living in or near the forests must be improved if forests are to be conserved and managed properly. Community forestry projects generally promote local control and management of forest resources, and institutional capacity building to support local management. Increased participation in management may take a variety of forms ranging from greater participation by communities in decision-making processes managed by government forestry agencies to joint forest management between communities and forestry institutions, with communities sharing in the profits from improved management.

397. Farming Systems Development (FSD) projects engage farmers in the research and development process, and involve them in the design and development of appropriate solutions to their problems. The two main field projects that were active during the review period were the Farmer-centred Agricultural Research Management Programme (FARM), funded by UNDP and the Farm-level Applied Research Methods Programme (FARMESA), funded by the Government of Sweden. Both projects aimed at sustainable resource management and have strong participatory components.

398. Nutrition activities focused on planning development interventions, using nutrition as the entry point to discuss development problems in an integrated way. Nutrition is considered to be a broad concept that involves diverse fields such as health care, water supply and household food security. The participatory nutrition interventions are aimed at strengthening local capacity to gather information and analyze it, and then to solve problems based on the results.

399. Participation within the single discipline projects is a tool to meet an end, not an end in itself. Participation is used in a strategic way to engage people in helping to improve production or services within a pre-determined area upon which the project concentrates. Participation is considered to be an essential element of success to the improvement sought. Sometimes the participation is consultative in nature, but in others, the project aims to empower the participant to make autonomous decisions in areas such as land use and management.

Box 1. Agrarian Reform in the Philippines Provides Supportive Environment for Improved Agriculture

"Sustainable Agrarian Reform Communities - Technical Support to Agrarian Reform and Rural Development (SARC-TSARRD)" is a Netherlands-funded project (GCP/PHI/042/NET) which began in 1997, building on an Italian-funded FAO project that began in 1990, aimed at building an effective institutional base for accelerated implementation of the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Programme (CARP) of the Philippines.

In pursuit of the goal to transform Agricultural Reform Beneficiaries into self-reliant, productive farmers able to obtain higher levels of support services, the project implements the Farming Systems Development (FSD) approach, modified and adapted to suit rural Philippine conditions. An instrumental part of the approach is the Barangay Workshop Consultation, where communities identify and prioritize needs and define specific areas where communities are willing to provide counterpart contributions for development activities. At the same time, local government units validate and provide initial approval to proposals for inclusion in municipal and provincial development plans, local government officials pledge support for implementation of specific proposals and engineering groups are activated to provide designs and cost estimates for infrastructure needs. The project's FSD monitoring system is included in the Department of Agricultural Reform's quarterly monitoring system and addresses issues on comprehensiveness, data reliability and participatory methods.

The Department of Agricultural Reform (DAR) has adopted and institutionalized the FSD approach in all Agrarian Reform Communities. The SARC-TSARRD FSD approach is now utilized in other foreign-assisted DAR projects, including the World Bank-assisted Agrarian Reform Communities Development Project, the UNDP-assisted Support to Asset Reform through the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Programme and Development of Indigenous Communities and the Japanese-funded Agrarian Reform Infrastructure Support Project.

400. The Farmers' Field Schools for Integrated Pest Management (IPM/FFS) aim to assist farmers and extension workers to manage crops in an integrated way, to reduce pesticide use and the associated costs, and to increase crop yield. IPM/FFS also facilitates decision-making and management by farmers, and assists extension workers to better support the efforts of the farmers. The process must be participatory in order for farmers to learn to analyze their crops and make management decisions to adjust to changing conditions, with a view to reduce pest problems and pesticide use.

401. Dairy cooperative projects organize small-scale farmers into cooperatives to improve milk collection and processing. Veterinary service projects use participatory methodology to help veterinarians be more responsive to client need in countries where government veterinary services are weak or non-existent. The water users' association projects organize groups to improve the management of irrigation water supplies as a means of improving crop yields and thus food production.

402. Small-scale fisheries projects have evolved over time from a focus on introducing improved equipment aimed at increasing catches to a more participatory approach oriented towards problem analysis and resolution. A key problem addressed in small-scale fisheries projects is the lack of effective government extension services to provide support to small-scale fisheries communities. For this reason, projects began to promote a self-help approach to problem solving, and focus on participation of community members in the formulation, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of fisheries projects.

Who were the principal beneficiaries or target groups for participatory projects?

403. All of the participatory projects supported by FAO targeted members of rural, agricultural communities. However, different projects focused on different groups within those communities. Those projects that took a multidisciplinary approach, for example, the PPP, generally tried to target the poorest of the poor or other marginalized groups in an attempt to increase the equity of distribution of services and benefits, although some addressed communities at large.

404. Single discipline projects tended to focus on those already directly involved in production within the sector upon which the project focused. For example, practising farmers were the focus of the agriculture-related projects, members of water users' associations were the target groups for those projects which focus on improving production and management of irrigation, and veterinarians (or veterinary technicians) were the target of animal health projects. The small-scale fisheries projects targeted those directly involved in catching fish, building or repairing fishing gear or boats, fish processing or marketing.

405. Some projects worked with groups, which either already existed or were formed through the project, with the objective of improved agricultural practices and incomes. The PPP additionally attempted to help develop inter-group associations to provide services and support to farmers groups, and establish local coordinating committees to bring together representatives of groups, government officials and local leaders. In these projects, the establishment and maintenance of the group itself was an important objective, since groups were considered to be important social building blocks that can give greater voice to marginalized people than when they speak as individuals.

406. Even though all projects targeted rural, agricultural communities, it was eventually recognized that increasing participation of village people in decision-making required changes at other levels of society, beyond the village. Within the multidisciplinary projects, identifying and involving other important stakeholders can be a complex and demanding job. For example, in order to reach the poorest and marginalized members of a community, village leadership must be effectively engaged. A variety of layers of government may be involved, at the municipal, regional and national levels. Different ministries and agencies may need to be involved and their assistance coordinated. Some projects addressed this issue in a very strategic way. For example, participatory nutrition projects involved all existing stakeholders, including development workers from either NGOs or governments, who work with local communities to gather and review existing information of food and nutrition issues and link with other development agents and institutions.

407. Working beyond the community tended to be less complex within single discipline projects, since they tended to focus their work on the related government organization, usually an extension service, to improve delivery of services. A key role of many projects was to develop new skills among extension agents to be more participatory in their practices, and to engage the beneficiaries in the design and delivery of extension services. Many projects were engaged in a task of introducing participatory approaches to the extension service and institutionalizing them. For example, the Forestry and Food Security in the Mediterranean and Near East Region project found that traditionally, the role of the forestry service had been to keep people out of the forests and to punish violators. The project's attempts to introduce participatory methodologies to the forestry service included retraining the forestry service staff and working to build a level of trust between communities and the forestry service.

408. Some projects attempted to address policy-level reform to support participatory approaches or improved methodology. This may involve awareness-raising among policy makers of the need for and benefits of reform, or direct assistance by technical experts to draft new policy at the invitation of government. Other projects found their work was best done in places where supportive policy was already in place. For example, the Indonesian IPM/FFS programme benefited from a Presidential Decree signed in 1986 that banned a wide array of pesticides, systematically removed pesticide subsidies, and declared IPM to be the national policy of the country. In the Philippines, the national agricultural policy promoted IPM.

What are the main areas where participation was applied?

409. Production and Income-generation - Almost all projects focused on production and income generation as a means to improve the lives of rural people. Some projects focused on improving production within an existing area of economic activity; others promoted new economic initiatives. For example, within community forestry almost all projects promoted production or income-generation from forest products to link the well being of the environment with the well being of people. Income-generating activities within community forestry projects include such activities as improving production of fuelwood, establishing tree nurseries or plantations, bee-keeping, mushroom production, handicrafts enterprises, and integrating trees into agricultural systems. Some community forestry projects undertook income generation and production activities outside the forestry sector. For example, projects promoted improved agricultural production in the field and garden, livestock and pasture management, sustainable fisheries, and land rehabilitation including dune fixation as a means of improving the production of agricultural systems or other means of livelihood for rural people.

410. Group Savings and Credit - A number of projects promoted group savings or credit schemes to finance group activities. The experiences of the PPP projects again provide an example of how this tool can be used. Within PPP projects, initial emphasis was given to providing participatory groups access to credit to finance group activities, but it was quickly realized that promoting a "savings first" approach was more effective. This helped ensure that chosen activities were within the group's capacity and resources, established group commitment and reduced debt dependency, thus increasing possibilities for sustainability. Group credit was also used to finance group activities, reducing costs for both lenders and borrowers. To encourage lending to the farmer groups, each project established a credit guarantee fund to cover losses from loan defaults.

411. Participatory Training - FAO has promoted participatory training as a means of improving training quality and effectiveness, by engaging people in analyzing and finding solutions to their own problems. While many projects developed participatory training approaches, perhaps the most successful and best known of these is the Farmers' Field School for Integrated Pest Management (IPM/FFS)61. Farmers and extension workers participate in the design and implementation of the programme, and monitor the effects of improved practices and of the training itself. Participation is considered to be a necessary component of the IPM/FFS because farmers are responsible for carrying out an ongoing analysis and decision-making process within their own fields.

412. Most of the FAO experience with IPM/FFS was gathered through projects dealing with rice-based farming systems in Southeast Asia 62. The objective of the projects was to establish IPM as a fundamental and enduring approach to pest management in the participating countries. The projects focus on developing and implementing a strategic learning programme where international trainers interact with a national training cadre, which in turn exposes field extension agents to the programme, which in turn interact with farmers. During the programme, participants work in the field to test different approaches and discover for themselves the strengths and weaknesses of different techniques. They work together to make observations and to analyze the results of their experiments. Rather than listening to lectures about pest management, participants test and discover for themselves by taking care of a field over an entire growing season. Since many of the extension agents have never taken care of a field, this experience gives them an in-depth understanding of the farmer's perspective and real experience in IPM techniques and field-based training. The projects also encourage "horizontal learning" through regular meetings and exchange between extension workers themselves. This provides a forum for problem solving and sharing of best practices, and reinforces the programme.

413. The farming system development projects also employed the FFS 63model to allow farmers and specialists to work together to design appropriate technologies, thus addressing development problems and increasing capacity of both the specialist and farmer in people-centred development.

414. In several countries where the Special Programme for Food Security (SPFS) is being implemented, members of water users' associations are participating in a modified version of the IPM Farmers' Field School 64. The project trains irrigation specialists, who in turn are expected to train extension workers and eventually farmers. While this approach reduces control over the content of training eventually received by the target beneficiaries, the training programme is less costly. Another modification compared to IPM/FFS is that the training takes place over a longer period, typically 2-3 years as compared to the IPM/FFS, which takes place over a single season. Several technical problems are addressed in the course of the training, not just a single problem (pest management). The same subject may thus be addressed over the course of several seasons, depending on the problems perceived by the farmer group.

415. Capacity Building for Civil Society Organizations - Some projects and programmes are geared specifically to strengthening the capacity of civil society organizations to effectively play the new roles that are being assigned to them both in policy dialogue and in service provision. TCDN has taken a lead, in partnership with SDAR, in promoting FAO's partnerships with non-state actors, but a number of other FAO units are involved in activities of this kind. An NGO-funded programme in South Asia is helping NGO centres in this sub-region to improve the quality of their sustainable agriculture training for local NGOs and community organizations. A TCP project in Senegal, partly funded by Senegalese farmers' federations, is helping these organizations to increase their understanding of agricultural policy and to develop a strategy of sustainable agriculture based on the logic of family farming.

416. Participatory Extension Services - A few field projects have used other innovative approaches to extension besides the FFS. For example, a project in Afghanistan aims to improve the animal health services, and to make the veterinary services, formerly a government function, self-sustaining. Veterinary workers, formerly government employees but now self-employed, are re-trained to be service-oriented. Improving two-way communication between livestock owner and animal health worker is a necessary first step in helping veterinary service providers to make this transition. Interest in this project has been high, as it now covers to some degree 75 percent of the country where, under the present circumstances, veterinary services would be absent.

What are the main methods applied in participatory projects?

417. Groups - Virtually all projects used groups as a means to increase the participation of rural people in the planning and delivery of services. Groups have a number of benefits, including provision of a forum for people to express their views, and form common positions, which can be communicated to decision-makers. The positions are stronger because they represent a number of voices from the community rather than an individual. Groups are also an efficient way to train people and communicate.

418. FAO's experience shows that groups are relatively easy to form, given the right incentives. Making them sustainable in the long run is much more difficult, unless some kind of incentive structure is maintained. Groups need to see a continuing reason to stay together.

419. Some projects worked with pre-existing groups or groups which already existed informally around a means of economic production. Agricultural cooperatives were an important type of group for many participatory projects. For example, dairy cooperative projects organized small-scale farmers into cooperatives to increase the efficiency of milk marketing and processing, cheese production and marketing, or both. Individual small-scale dairy farmers do not have sufficient milk production to warrant investment in processing equipment and often arrangements are not in place for timely milk collection, leading to loss of value of the milk produced. The development of cooperatives was a tool used to bring farmers together and collectively increase their marketing and processing options.

420. Group Promoters - Many projects which used groups employed an outsider to help develop the group and to help it carry out activities. The PPP projects, for example, used Group Promoters (GPs) to encourage and assist groups to form and to assist groups in their chosen development activities. GPs were normally contract or seconded workers whose salaries were paid using project funds. Government agencies or local NGOs recruited GPs. GPs received training in the PPP approach, including learning the importance of leaving decision-making in the hands of local people. Community animators carried out similar functions in francophone African countries, but at a higher community level.

421. Site Working Groups - The problem of "institutionalizing" participatory planning was addressed in the FARM project through the establishment of site working groups at each of the 16 field sites where the project operates. Once communities were mobilized and plans made, expectations were created for fulfilling the communities' objectives. The site working groups provided a catalyst for encouraging cooperation between government ministries involved at field level, NGOs and local communities to help ensure that follow-up was done.

422. Participatory Analysis and Planning - Many projects used Participatory Rural Appraisal (PRA) as a tool to help communities analyze their problems and needs, and to build understanding among project and government about the needs of the communities served by the project. Some projects carried the results of the analysis forward into the entire participatory planning cycle. For example, a participatory nutrition project in Zambia had a six-month preparatory phase, to reach a better understanding of household food insecurity and nutrition status. A PRA was carried out with the local population in order to ascertain problems and to develop the main project. The project included a baseline survey of the food and nutrition situation, including clinical information on Vitamin A and iron deficiency. Indicators were developed for monitoring the situation and detecting changes over time. An evaluation system has been put in place, including participatory monitoring and evaluation.

423. Three small-scale field fisheries projects have focused on participatory approaches to planning and decision-making 65. Major objectives of the projects include institution building in planning, implementing and monitoring of integrated development activities, building awareness at all levels of the needs, benefits and practices of fisheries management and the importance of involving communities in management decisions, building skills in sustainable fisheries management and in participatory processes. To meet these ends, the projects undertook the following types of activities:

Box 2. Computer Technology as a Participatory Planning Tool

Participatory approaches are fundamental to FAO's work on land administration and tenure planning. Traditionally, land tenure planning was done with the people involved, but by the 1960s a quicker and supposedly more efficient approach, relying on the judgement of technicians to adjudicate land administration matters, emerged in many parts of the world.

The emergence of computer technology was instrumental in a return to more participatory approaches that allow local people to identify problems and propose solutions. Rather than lengthy surveying and hand drawing methods, it became possible to map existing land boundaries, land use patterns, etc., and make possible changes to any configuration desired. In this way, it is possible to communicate and discuss the positions of various stakeholders on possible new land administration and use patterns.

FAO's role has been to demonstrate the possibilities for using this type of planning in member countries, provide neutral advice on cost-effective ways to do it and train local personnel in both the planning techniques and participatory planning methods. The methodology has been used in FAO projects in some 16 countries during the period 1992-98 and spread through several workshops, including three held for countries of Eastern and Central Europe (Riga - 1993, Bertinoro, Italy - 1997 and 1998).

While this type of land administration planning is felt to be universally applicable, it has not always been used successfully. Chief constraints have been cultural factors which have prevented changes in the status quo and the inability of some government institutions to accept a participatory planning exercise, the results of which are deemed to be more outside direct control.

What results were expected and achieved by participatory projects?

- Expectations

424. It is apparent that the work of FAO on participatory approaches is significant in terms of number of activities and geographic and sectoral coverage of the topic. Projects targeted the following broad goals:

425. Long-term assessment of achievement of goals has not been done extensively, except as noted below. There has been positive evidence from some projects about sustained implementation of improved practices and improved service provision, but this has not been uniform. More information on long-term effects is needed. Assessing long-term benefits for project stakeholders, however, is a complex challenge, requiring in-depth studies: success can only be determined in looking at what happens in the community and organization after the project support ends, or that the impacts of the participatory project must be compared with impacts achieved by non-participatory projects in order to appreciate the role of participation. Few projects have been equipped for these types of analyses.

426. In addition to impacts such as improvements in standard of living, environmental condition, nutritional level or similar indicators of well being, many projects also considered effective participation in and of itself to be a critical element of success. Participatory approaches are thought to be more effective in ensuring sustainability even though they may cost more in the short term because change is embraced more quickly and fully by engaged participants and the costs of achieving change may actually be less in the long term. Projects therefore sought to build mechanisms for "institutionalizing" participation and two-way communication within and between communities and government. Specific impacts of participation have not been clearly indicated in these projects, but these may be extrapolated as:

427. At the same time, it has proved very difficult to practise participatory management because:

428. The presence of these obstacles implies that adoption of participatory methods is a complex and lengthy task, requiring considerable awareness-building and training. In some cases, the reality is that decisions that affect rural community development will continue to be made for political purposes and by people and in places far removed from the communities themselves. The success of FAO's work in participation must be measured against these considerations.

429. Important measures of success at the institutional level include whether the methodologies and training approaches used in projects have continued to be followed, whether community groups or institutions (such as communication networks or training institutions) established which support participatory approaches were sustained, whether new agricultural practices were adopted. Over the longer term, desirable project results of participatory projects include sustained, improved standard of living of the people targeted; improved environmental conditions; and empowerment of beneficiaries to make improvements in other areas of their lives.

- Some Emergency Experiences

430. In all cases where positive change has taken place, there has been a strong institutional commitment and this has been a principal success factor. On the other hand, many projects that were relatively successful at field level could not be implemented elsewhere because of a lack of support. Thus, the problem of "scaling up" institutionalized support of participatory approaches came to be identified as a priority issue.

431. One of the main strengths of the PPP programme was its focus on evaluating and drawing lessons from the project experiences. This included six post-project evaluation studies that were carried out in various programme countries using Regular Programme funds on sustainability of groups and their umbrella organizations. Most of the studies were carried out only a year or so after project completion. The findings on all projects were typically mixed. For example, in Sierra Leone group membership grew in the immediate post-project period and groups were found to be effective tools for attracting development assistance. However, formation of women's groups and inter-group associations was slow and the ability of groups to diversify and develop more sophisticated planning and management skills to cope with a difficult economic environment was questioned. In Ghana, although the project significantly raised awareness and various individuals and organizations benefited from the project, the top-down approach to design of the credit component and absence of income-generating activities for many groups led to disappointing results, but important lessons being learned for future projects.

432. In 1998 a post-project study in Sri Lanka was undertaken, six years after the project was completed. It showed a number of encouraging and sustained achievements in individual villages, particularly with respect to provision of credit and in micro-enterprise development. Meetings of village boards largely ceased in the absence of the project and its GPs and the number of groups and members declined by 50 percent in sample villages. Since this study is unique in being undertaken so long after project completion, there are no performance benchmarks against which to assess this particular project experience. While these statistics could be interpreted negatively, they could also be viewed more positively as evidence of the long-term sustainability of the small group approaches introduced. Further post-project studies such as this one could examine other interesting unresolved issues, such as the continuing validity of a general rural development approach to participatory projects and institutional behaviour in the absence of project-funded incentives.

433. There are indications from other projects about probable long-term impacts to both well being and empowerment. An evaluation of the FARM project in 1997 found that farmers considered that knowledge about participatory planning and assessment was the most valuable skill imparted to them through the project. Participatory planning exercises convinced communities of the need to draw other players (government, NGOs, the private sector) into the planning process, although the desirability of this was perceived unevenly across participating sites. In terms of technology transfer, the participatory planning exercises allowed farmers to discuss means for combining traditional approaches to farming with new ones. The exercises also resulted in farmers taking a broader view of development, beyond bio-technical solutions to farming problems. Social needs (health, education, infrastructure) were viewed as problems that need to be addressed at the same time as farming issues.

434. The IPM/FFS has gone one step further than many other projects by systematically making the evaluation and monitoring processes themselves participatory. This implies that farmers and trainers themselves help the project and institutions identify strengths and weaknesses in the approaches, and through this process, learn important things about how to evaluate and monitor success that can be applied to other areas of organizational and community interest. For example, in Indonesia, extension workers carried out a participatory evaluation to determine the impacts of the training. The evaluation found that one year after training, the number of applications of pesticides decreased by 57 percent and the total pesticide application costs per farmer decreased by an average of over 50 percent. FFS trainers normally incorporate a pre-training test of farmer knowledge that is an important basis for establishing educational objectives. Post-training knowledge testing is also done and the results compared with the pre-training knowledge to evaluate the impact of training on farmer knowledge. Trainers can then make modifications to improve the training as needed.

435. The IPM/FFS programmes were also judged by independent evaluation missions to be highly successful in terms of long-term impact. IPM as a pest control methodology was judged to be less hazardous to the environment, less hazardous to humans and more effective in controlling pests at lower cost than conventional approaches. Evidence indicates that the FFS approach builds expertise in extension institutions that it will be maintained and used after the project ends, if a supportive policy is in place. At the level of the community, farmers tend to work in a more concerted way after the FFS experience and apply their analytical skills to other community problems beyond pest management.

436. In summary, many participatory projects have had positive results, at least during and shortly after implementation66. While evaluation missions have judged positively the likely long-term impact of some project interventions, information is generally lacking on actual long-term impact. FAO has made some assessments in this area (in the PPP Programme) but clearly more emphasis should be given to monitoring and evaluation of project effects and impact at project level and through programme evaluations. In particular, a greater focus is needed on the costs and benefits of participatory approaches.

Box 3. Rural Development in Lempira Sur (Honduras)

The Lempira Sur region of Honduras is considered one of the most disadvantaged in the country; the area is characterized by the prevalence of subsistence agriculture as a means of livelihood, rudimentary infrastructure and endemic poverty. A Netherlands-funded project (GCP/HON/018/NET), begun in 1994, has addressed the important constraints in the area, including deterioration of the natural environment and agricultural production base, declining economic and social standards of living and isolation of the region from both government institutions and markets. The project uses a number of participatory tools, including problem identification and planning by communities, regular group meetings, and participatory evaluation. The project explicitly aims at strengthening the role of women in community planning and development.

An evaluation mission in April 1998 found clear indications of improved living conditions for the local people. Agricultural production increased by 20 percent for maize and 80 percent for beans due to adoption of improved technology, storage was greatly improved due to construction of metal silos, slash and burn practices were greatly reduced, provision of local government services was improved and community savings increased.

Although considerable improvement was noted, the evaluation mission stated that an extension of the project beyond the initial five-year period was needed for consolidation and expansion of results, particularly in higher elevation areas with a larger population of indigenous people. Greater participation by local institutions was urged for a second phase and more work required on preservation of natural resources. Based on the recommendations of the mission, a second 4-year project was approved to begin in January 1999.

Statistical Information on Field Projects

437. As part of this review, the technical divisions of FAO were requested to identify participatory projects implemented under their responsibility during the period 1992-98, using a four-point classification67.

438. Of the 3 457 projects examined, 32 percent were classified as somewhat participatory, 12 percent as considerably participatory and 5 percent as highly participatory (see Chart 1).

439. By source of funding, Trust Funds had the highest percentage of participatory projects (56.7 percent), compared to UNDP (49.6 percent) or TCP (46.0 percent) (see Chart 2). Since TCP projects are based on government requests and many involve emergency assistance on which beneficiary consultation may be difficult, it is not surprising that TCP has a lower percentage than other funding sources. Trust Fund projects also had the highest percentage of projects rated "considerably" or "highly" participatory.

440. By region, the highest percentage of participatory projects was Latin America and the Caribbean (57 percent), followed by Africa (53 percent). These were the only two regions where more projects were coded participatory than non-participatory. These two regions also had the highest percentages of "considerably" or "highly" participatory projects.

441. The table below shows the percentages of projects coded as participatory by the main technical programmes involved. In examining the data, it must be remembered that technical divisions work in very different areas and the fact that one division has a higher percentage of participatory projects in absolute terms does not necessarily mean that it has a greater or lesser commitment to use of participatory approaches. The table shows that the highest percentage of participatory projects were found in the Women and Population Programme, followed by the Rural Development Programme - both in the Sustainable Development Department - and the Forestry Policy and Planning (which includes Community Forestry), while the lowest percentages were in the Fisheries Information Programme, Nutrition Programme and Natural Resources Programme.

Programme Total Number of Projects Percentage of Participatory Projects
    Somewhat Participatory Considerably Participatory
2.1.1 Natural Resources 355 19.2 12.7
2.1.2 Crops 706 33.4 14.3
2.1.3 Livestock 439 44.0 18.0
2.1.4 Agricultural Support Systems 316 35.1 7.9
2.2.1 Nutrition 158 22.8 4.4
2.2.4 Food and Agriculture Policy 33 30.3 21.2
2.3.1 Fisheries Information 26 15.4 3.8
2.3.2 Fisheries Resources and Aquaculture 202 38.1 18.3
2.3.3 Fisheries Exploitation and Utilization 74 35.1 17.6
2.3.4 Fisheries Policy 47 51.1 6.4
2.4.1 Forest Resources 266 40.2 6.4
2.4.2 Forest Products 35 45.7 2.9
2.4.3 Forestry Policy and Planning 135 48.1 20.7
2.5.1 Research, Natural Resources Mangmnt and Technology Transfer 297 26.9 28.3
2.5.2 Women and Population 53 32.1 47.2
2.5.3 Rural Development 174 22.4 47.7
3.2.2 Investment Support Progr.* 141 4.3 31.9
Total 3 457 32.3 17.4

*includes only involvement in FAO projects, not project preparation missions for financing institutions


442. The Investment Centre (TCI) applies participatory approaches to the identification and design of investment projects. TCI carried out a study in 1990 68 which concluded that many of the problems encountered were a result of misjudgements in the course of project identification and appraisal, often related to poor diagnosis of problems and over-optimism about potential solutions. Implementation problems occurred despite the adoption of conventional procedures and project analysis techniques at the design stage. Accordingly, sociological analysis was given greater importance in TCI work and a guideline for this was published 69. In addition, the Investment Centre guidelines for project design 70, revised in 1995, recommended more thorough diagnostic work as a basis for project identification including, in most cases, consultation with intended beneficiaries before the diagnosis can be considered complete. In particular, the guidelines recommended broadening the range of contacts undertaken during field trips and suggested how such visits could best be undertaken.

443. In recent years, TCI has refined the methodology for participation, moving from RRA towards participatory rural appraisal (PRA) and participatory planning. The major change in participatory work conducted by TCI has been that PRA and planning are now being conducted by governments, with TCI acting as a facilitator of the process. TCI has recognized that government involvement in the PRA process is indispensable in order for the findings to be accepted.

444. Evidence suggests that well-implemented PRA improves the chances for successful project implementation (see box below). The involvement of government in the process strengthens the sense of accountability between the government and the intended beneficiaries and creates increased understanding among all parties about what is to be achieved.

Box 4. The Importance of Participation in TCI Project Development: An Example from Egypt

Within a poverty alleviation project approved in 1998 for the Governorate of Sohag, probably the poorest in Egypt, the socio-economic and production system studies designed by the TCI had an important impact. The project, funded by the World Bank, was intended to improve incomes and access to credit by the rural poor, unemployed youth and women. It also sought to enhance local capacity to plan, co-finance, implement and manage rural infrastructure projects and services.

The TCI trained a 12-person team (of which four were women), comprised of middle-level staff from implementing agencies, in PRA methods including hands-on training in two villages. The TCI also assisted in the selection of representative villages of the range of farming systems and socio-economic situations and assisted in drawing out implications for project design which were presented in a stakeholder workshop, the results of which were fed back to the project formulation team.

The studies showed that priorities of women and the poorest were not identical to those of village leaders. While the latter emphasized infrastructure improvements (telephone, secondary school, electrification, irrigation), priorities of the women and landless were on small livestock and off-farm income-generating activities. As a result, a consensus emerged on the need to shift emphasis to the needs of a broader spectrum of the population than had been originally envisaged.

445. However, PRA exercises are not yet fully accepted by project donors, governments and some investment project formulators for several reasons. PRA exercises represent an additional up-front cost, in terms of time and financial resources. Quality control is critical since PRA exercises must be conducted by trained people supervised by a neutral, experienced person in order to be meaningful. Participatory approaches also involve complex negotiations and compromise between competing objectives. Often, there is not a clear idea of how the results of PRA can be linked to the "technical" objectives of the project and the agencies involved. Participatory approaches also mean that projects and governments must give up a measure of control, which may explain why some governments and project donors are reluctant to undertake them.

446. Although TCI has prepared projects using participatory approaches for a number of financing agencies, including the World Bank, Asian Development Bank, African Development Bank and the UN Capital Development Fund, the bulk of projects prepared have been financed by IFAD. Since 1992, some 30 projects have been prepared by TCI and approved by IFAD (total value: US$ 879.21 million) which have had local preparation teams, stakeholder workshops and/or participatory socio-economic and production system studies.


447. FAO's normative work on participation, which has been closely linked with the participatory field projects, can also be broadly divided into two categories: outputs oriented towards increasing the knowledge base about participatory methods; and outputs aimed at developing training programmes and materials.

Increasing Knowledge and Awareness about Participation

448. Since the People's Participation Programme field project activities ended, the work of the Rural Institutions and Participation Service (SDAR) has been devoted to drawing lessons from the PPP and other participatory approaches, and synthesizing these in training manuals and publications primarily for use at field level 71, which have been in considerable demand by governments and NGOs and are now available in many different language versions. A well-subscribed e-mail conference in October/November 1998, intended to draw lessons about small farmers' group association organization, management and sustainability, had some 400 participants. Results of the conference are expected to be published in early 1999.

449. SDAR is undertaking a number of other activities that promote greater participation of the poor and marginalized of society in rural development, including the disabled, nomadic people and migrant communities. These activities are expected to help governments deliver more effective services to these groups that are often not reached by government programmes. SDAR has also collaborated with other FAO technical units and UN agencies (e.g. UNDP, World Bank) in order to promote participation in resource management and other fields. Other related topic areas that SDAR is analyzing include: decentralization and restructuring of government, traditional village governance structures, agricultural cooperatives 72, and rural household income strategies.

450. The Community Forestry Unit (CFU) promotes people's participation in forestry and natural resource management. Much of CFU's work is supported or enhanced by the contributions of the Forest, Trees and People Programme (FTPP), which has been coordinated by CFU since 1987. Among its accomplishments, FTPP has developed a global information exchange network with 10 000 members in 125 countries; published a newsletter for sharing information among members and non-members; and established a network of regional and national facilitators to promote participatory management in their regions.

451. CFU also develops and distributes publications related to participatory tools, methods, and training materials. Since 1992, approximately 33 publications have been developed, including field manuals, case studies, guidelines, audio-visual programmes and others.

452. A 1994 review found that the publications were generally of high technical quality 73. However, questions were raised about the intended audience for CFU's publications. In many cases, the publications were found to be academic in tone and presentation, more likely to be used by a highly-educated audience of "professional staff of international development organizations and institutions of higher education, university students, or foreign-educated government officials" than by field staff or government employees in developing countries. As a result, a decision was made to focus more on field manuals and training materials adapted to the appropriate level for target audiences. The field manual series is more clearly targeted towards field staff, but they still tend to be directed towards people with a higher level of education and ability to read English, French or Spanish.

453. During the reporting period, the focus in participation of the Women in Development Service has changed from women-only income-generating activities to institutionalization of gender concerns in government services. A key problem was lack of a systematic methodology to collect and utilize micro-level information on gender roles.

454. PRA tools seemed to offer an approach for addressing this problem. However, although PRA touched on gender issues, it did not include gender analysis as an integral part of the methodologies. With funding from the Government of Norway, projects to support local planning processes and test ways to make PRA more gender sensitive were implemented in Namibia, Nepal and Tanzania. The goal of the projects was to improve channels of communications between farmers, extension agents and policy-makers by using participatory research and planning exercises and consultative processes. In December 1997, a workshop was held in Rome to draw lessons from these and other projects and to build a framework that could provide a guide to planners to facilitate, support and accelerate the process of involving rural women and men in agricultural planning.

455. The workshop was different in that it capitalized on field experience by inviting field staff from eleven projects to participate. It was found that including gender issues in PRA usually did not pose insurmountable problems, provided facilitators were sensitive to gender issues and some basic techniques are followed to elicit the concerns of women. It is more difficult to ensure that women's priorities are included when developing consensus for community level planning, since men tend to dominate. Another difficulty is how to "scale up" PRA exercises by expanding the information base to ensure that the results are taken into account in broader agricultural planning exercises. It is thought likely that targeted training programmes at various levels of management will be required.

456. Participation is an important feature of the Special Programme for Food Security (SPFS) and tools such as water users' associations and the FFS model have been used in its implementation in several countries. Guidelines for the Constraints Analysis part of the Special Programme have been developed, with options on the choice of tools to be used by national teams. However, these guidelines have not yet been applied due to a number of factors including lack of financial resources, lack of training needs assessment at country or regional levels for constraints analysis implementation, and possibly the complexity of the guidelines themselves.

457. The Farm Management and Production Economics Service (AGSP) has developed participatory diagnostic methods in relation to the farming systems approach. It issued a manual on farming systems field methods entitled The Farming Systems Approach to Development and Appropriate Technology Generation 74 which covers the strong role of participation in the farming systems approach, including PRA, farmer-managed trials, work with farmer groups and participatory farmer evaluation.

458. An important output of the FARM Programme is the training manual entitled Participatory Assessment and Planning (PAP) Process for Community Planning and Natural Resource Management. The manual is intended to help trainers apply the PAP approach "on the ground" in village communities. The manual is very practical as it includes advice on organizing and planning training and sufficiently detailed guidelines on various participatory exercises that can be used in a village workshop. Although the manual may be sophisticated for some village-level trainers, it is an excellent guide on how to do this type of training and thus a valuable tool.

459. The Extension, Education and Communication Service (SDRE) provides analysis, information and advice on extension and rural communication methods. The service has prepared a publication entitled Strategic Extension Campaign: A Participatory-oriented Method of Agricultural Extension, based on the experiences of six FAO projects implemented during the 1980s. The approach consists of ten phases, from problem identification and needs assessment, through implementation and evaluation of the campaign. Target beneficiaries are particularly involved at the identification and message design stages. A similar strategy to that for extension is advocated for development communication, which has been documented from experience in the Philippines in Communications for Development Case Studies 13 and 14. These documents are useful for sensitizing decision-makers to the importance and utility of participatory methods but of limited use for field-level workers who would actually carry out consultation with beneficiaries.

460. Normative activities in the participatory nutrition programme (Nutrition Division, ESN) have mostly been to introduce and test concepts and methods, based on the "Guidelines for Participatory Nutrition Projects" written in 1993. However, due to lack of resources, information is not available on the eventual effects of participatory nutrition interventions or on the amount, quality and effectiveness of subsequent training at village level, which constrains further conceptual work in this area. It is hoped that the absence of information will be addressed by the projects currently under implementation.

Building Capacity through Training

461. In spite of the critical importance of training in the field projects and the need for materials and practical guidance in the area of participatory approaches, rather less work is directed towards developing training packages as compared to methodological development. However, some interesting work is being done in this area.

462. For example, the Women in Development Service (SDWW) has developed the Socio-Economic and Gender Analysis (SEAGA) Programme Field Handbook. SEAGA is intended to be a participatory process, with disadvantaged people being the priority and understanding gender roles as a key to addressing the priorities of men and women. The SEAGA Field Handbook includes tool kits for understanding developmental contexts, livelihood analysis and stakeholders' priorities. The handbook is a useful compilation of methodologies intended to give a gender focus to planning, although the tools themselves are not new.

463. One of the priorities of the Fisheries Department is to promote the adoption of norms of responsible behaviour in fisheries as a part of their efforts to improve fisheries management. This is especially important for a common resource like a fishery, because behaviour standards must be adopted on a local, regional and international level in order to realize beneficial effects on the fishery. The Fisheries Department has developed a training project to help countries to introduce and adopt standards of behaviour (Code of Practice) through participatory processes. This project, called TRAINFISH, began in the summer of 1998 and will establish a network of fisheries training institutions, develop training materials, and implement training. A key aspect of the training is that the input and involvement of stakeholders will be the basis for creating and enforcing regulations to support the code.

464. The Fisheries Department is also developing a series of distance learning courses to promote participatory management in small-scale fisheries communities. These courses are designed for government fisheries officers working at the community level, literate and interested landing site managers or fisherfolk, and local or national consultants to help them develop participatory site plans and carry out other participatory community development. FAO will produce the courses, which will then be made available to interested national institutions that would assume responsibility for training staff and other interested people.

465. The PRA Port Profiles course is the first in the five-volume series. It was initially developed as a training program in the Integrated Development of Artisanal Fisheries project in Guinea. The Port Profiles course requires that the trainee not just learn about the theory behind PRA, but how to apply PRA methodologies to fisheries problems, and actively engage the fishery community in identifying and solving its own problems. The focus of PRA Port Profiles is not on PRA, but about preparing a participatory landing site development plan using PRA as a tool. The PRA Port Profiles course is undergoing field testing now and should be finalized in the near future.

466. In addition to the PPP training materials on small groups mentioned earlier, the Rural Institutions and Participation Service (SDAR) recently developed a manual for trainers who will work with rural agricultural cooperatives and their members (or will train other trainers who will work directly with cooperatives). The manual, entitled Agricultural Cooperative Development: A Manual for Trainers is not designed as a theoretical textbook, but as a source of ideas for facilitators and resource persons to help make cooperatives more efficient and effective. It aims to assist cooperatives which are undergoing a transformation from state-sponsored organizations to self-help organizations, and focuses on the business aspects of running a cooperative. The training proposed in the manual is based upon an analysis of local circumstances, and upon what the trainees feel they need to know.

467. The manual promotes the ideal of a true cooperative in which members participate actively in the function and structure of the organization. The manual could be adapted and used with other participatory settings, since it includes sections on planning, budgeting, participation within groups, and participatory monitoring and evaluation that address issues that have been raised in a number of other sectoral areas.


Overall Findings

468. FAO's work on participatory approaches to extension has been particularly successful and has shown that a strategic use of participatory tools can bring good results in projects with sectoral objectives (e.g. Farmers Field School concept, distance learning courses). FAO has also made major contributions to the body of knowledge on participatory approaches to development (e.g. PPP programme, community forestry).

469. From FAO's experience, it appears that in order for participatory projects to be successful and sustainable, the following conditions are necessary:

470. The challenge is to identify the methodology and tools which meet these conditions for success. This is particularly the case as the trends in public sector downsizing, the resulting service gaps, the involvement of civil society and the improvements in communications will all impact upon the validity and cost-effectiveness of the methodology proposed.

471. The major areas for further work, which flow from the above, are:

472. The FAO Plan of Action for People's Participation in Rural Development was not developed in an inclusive way that built ownership within FAO and the member countries which subscribed to it. No budget resources were formally allocated to the implementation of the Plan. Nevertheless, elements of the Plan of Action have been internalized. The lesson seems to be that rather than attempting another similar ambitious corporate plan on participation, it would be more effective to reinforce and strengthen the interest and momentum created among various units and to foster the development of a strategic approach for the use of participatory approaches within FAO. Furthermore, additional emphasis should be given to them through their specific recognition in the relevant cross-organizational strategies in the FAO Strategic Framework.

473. Within FAO itself, there is considerable interest in the topic of participation and many staff members have shown keen interest in it. While informal cooperation between staff should continue unencumbered, there is also a need for more formalized collaboration between programme units in order to achieve a greater degree of synergy and complementarity among various approaches used. SDAR should play a facilitating role in this collaboration, particularly in the area of drawing lessons and building knowledge on the key issues involved.

Institutionalization of Participatory Methods and Approaches

474. Most of FAO's participatory projects work in collaboration with government institutions. If the government mandate and staff roles are well coordinated with the project objectives, there is a potential that the project can help the government become an advocate for increased participation and develop staff capability to carry out participatory programmes. In cases where the national policy supports more participatory activities and decentralization by government agencies, collaboration can be achieved with an FAO project to help build the necessary participatory management skills within the government service to help carry out the national policy.

475. As many countries move towards greater decentralization, and downsizing of governments, the stated policies of the country are more supportive of participatory approaches. In these cases, the knowledge and skill of the government partner institution may limit its ability to implement participatory approaches. Knowledge and skill appear to be necessary in three general areas: farmers need to acquire important collective problem-solving and group development skills to access higher level services; participatory methodologies are needed by field workers to engage stakeholders in decision-making; and management philosophies and practices are needed by middle and upper managers to successfully incorporate the needs and desires of diverse stakeholders into the plans, programmes and activities of the institution. Most projects have focused strongly only on field level training.

Time and Costs

476. Participatory projects are more complex and time consuming than those that do not actively promote the involvement of people. By its very nature, more involvement means that decisions take more time. Group decision-making is often complex and difficult.

477. In many situations, participatory work is groundbreaking. New skills must usually be developed either in the institutions undertaking participatory work or in the communities themselves, or in both. There is often consensus building that must be done in addition to work at the community level, since institutions and policy makers need to be made aware of the benefits of participation.

478. While participatory work is usually more expensive to undertake, very little analysis of the relationship between economic and social costs and benefits of participation has been undertaken. Many proponents of participatory programmes argue that participatory projects are more likely to yield lasting results and are more cost-effective in the long term. It would be desirable if this could be shown more conclusively than the largely anecdotal evidence available now.

The Importance of Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation

479. Participatory planning is an important focus of FAO's work on participatory development approaches. Participatory planning, at its best, includes a strategic approach to decide who should be involved at each different stage of the project, why it is important that they be involved and how they should participate. It should also include an analysis of the needs, desires and constraints of the community, and also of the partner institutions involved. From this information, communities, project staff and government agencies can jointly develop a strategy that they are collectively committed to and capable of carrying out.

480. Poor planning of participatory projects has led to overly complex project design, poor project implementation, and lack of understanding within the community, partner institutions and even the project staff of what the project aims to accomplish. This is especially true in cases where a project attempts to meet multiple objectives within a variety of technical areas. More narrowly focused projects tended to be better understood and more likely to achieve their objectives.

481. The project design phase is critically important to establishing the foundation for a successful participatory project. FAO increasingly incorporates PRA as a necessary step during project design, and rather than conducting the PRA itself, has engaged the government institutions to conduct the PRA with FAO taking on a training and facilitation role. Also, evidence shows that using development communication tools and methods is highly important in facilitating people's participation in project design and implementation. However, except for projects that have specific participatory goals, donors are often reluctant to fund this pre-project analysis phase. There are no institutional mechanisms to decide whether participatory appraisal is warranted for a project proposal, and no general funds to finance it.

482. There is little systematic information about the impact of participation in improving project performance, reducing costs involved and ensuring the long-term sustainability of effects. Monitoring and evaluation, therefore, need to be given more attention as essential tools for improving systematic learning by FAO. In only a very few cases has evaluation been conducted several years after participatory projects have closed out, so that the long-term effects can be determined. Only in exceptional cases (e.g. some PPP projects) have post-project funding mechanisms been put in place to support project-based work, after a project has closed out.

The Importance of an Economic Focus

483. When people are asked what their needs are, the answer is often an improved standard of living in the short term. This often leads participatory projects to focus on income-generating activities. On the contrary, projects that do not sufficiently address income improvement tend to quickly lose the attention of the participants. For example, the focus in some early PPP projects on forming groups led to insufficient attention to the economic activities that the groups engaged in, with resulting loss of interest by participants.

484. Group savings and credit can be a component of group income-generating activities. Group credit can be an important source of capital to finance group activities, and can be lower in cost and risk for both lenders and borrowers. However, it needs to be exercised carefully. Early experience with PPP projects showed a tendency to over-use credit where it is made available. Later PPP projects gave more stress to savings mobilization and it was shown that the most self-reliant and most sustainable PPP groups tended to be those with a strong savings discipline and very little or no external credit. Credit can be difficult to establish, since banks usually do not have experience with this mechanism. Banks are often reluctant to continue to provide credit without the guarantee provided by the project, so that when the project ends, the credit ends as well. In addition, income-generating activities that are proposed for investment must be analyzed to help guarantee their success. Otherwise, returns will not be great enough to cover repayment of loans.

The Importance of Training

485. Training has been a major vehicle for increasing the capacity of communities and institutions. In addition to training for community members, training is equally important for government staff, including policy makers and managers, since for many of these people, participatory approaches are new. Training is needed in a wide range of topic areas, depending upon the nature of the activity being undertaken. For example, PPP found that simple business skills were needed for people at the community level trying to undertake new income-generating activities. CFU found that training is necessary at the institutional level, to introduce participatory methodology and build skills in participatory management. Project staff often are hired based upon their competence within a specific technical field, and need training in how to engage and involve people in designing and implementing activities, project management and networking.

486. Materials and strategies are needed to implement training programmes. FAO is approaching this problem in a variety of ways. Some projects are developing their own training materials at the field level through a trial and error approach. Some normative programmes are developing training packages that can serve as templates for field adaptation and use. Other projects have concentrated on training trainers in order to build a cadre of skilled trainers (and thus promoters) within the country, mostly housed at the government institutions. These trainers then become responsible for carrying out training programmes within the country for farmers or community members. In some cases, farmers and community members go on to train neighbouring communities.

487. No matter what the subject area or the target audience, training is most effective when it:

488. Specific training topics that still need to be addressed include the economic analysis aspects of developing and managing community projects, participatory project management, managing groups, as well as how to design and carry out participatory training.

Tactical Use of Participatory Tools

489. Participation within IPM/FFS projects is carried out tactically. Based upon the project's goals and objectives, project staff and government counterparts make decisions about who participates, how and when during the implementation of the IPM/FFS. Generally speaking, farmers have little say in determining the crop focus of the IPM programme. This decision rests with the government based upon the economic potential of the crop, and other strategic priorities. However, farmers participate fully in decisions about attending the training and in the field school methodology. Farmers themselves make field observations, work in groups to analyze their observations, and make management decisions in their own fields after training is completed. The clearly defined use of participatory methods for specific purposes is one of the strong points of these projects.

FAO Publications that Support Participatory Activities

490. FAO Headquarters and field project staff have developed numerous publications that address various aspects of participation. Publications include conference reports, field manuals, case studies, training materials, brochures and audio-visual materials. Some publications on participatory methods seem to be directed towards an academic audience, which do not meet the needs of the field. It is questionable whether FAO has a comparative advantage in producing that type of material over academic institutions. It is also important to increase the dissemination of knowledge and best practices through available electronic communication facilities.

Management Issues for FAO

491. There has been a good progress in mainstreaming of participatory approaches within FAO. In particular, the PRA network has been playing a useful role in bringing together staff working on participation in different sectors and disciplines for sharing information and experience on particular topic areas being promoted, including collaboration on common concerns among individual members. Such cooperation is important in strengthening a multidisciplinary perspective to the use of individual participatory approaches at the community level where problems are cross-sectoral in nature. Given the motivation of individual staff concerned, it has also been a cost-effective means of coordination.

492. However, looking into the future when the importance of participation would gain further thematic emphasis throughout FAO programmes and operations, there is a clear need for placing in-house collaboration on a more systematic footing - this would also apply in relation to the need to keep abreast with, and to reinforce cooperation with, FAO's international development partners. On one hand, informal forms of collaboration would need to be further encouraged and strengthened so as to promote cross-fertilization in experience and knowledge-building as well as to minimize duplication. The SDA Division with the Organization's mandate in this area can play an important facilitating role in this process. In this respect, it is a welcome sign that SDA recently took an important initiative, together with the Food Security and Agricultural Projects Analysis Service (ESAF), in the formation of an informal, cross-divisional working group to strengthen participatory work in FAO. At the same time, it would be important that SDA plays a more pro-active role as the lead unit in this thematic area. Apart from facilitating the informal mechanisms, the division would need to enhance its capacity to promote the development of a holistic framework for FAO's wide ranging work on participation, including synthesis analyses of various experiences inside and outside FAO. In this way, SDA would be functioning to provide services complementary to other FAO units and to facilitate greater overall coherence across work of various units.

493. Development of participatory methodologies clearly depends on a link between field-based projects and normative work and making best use of the results of the Field Programme. However, the volume of FAO's Field Programme has declined considerably in recent years, thus reducing the possibilities for field experimentation in this area. Of course, FAO must attempt to learn more from participatory activities funded and implemented by other agencies and develop partnerships and collaborative arrangements. However, it must be recognized that there may be practical limits to how much influence FAO can exert on an activity unless it has a financial stake.


494. Capacity building must be emphasized for community members, partner institutions, and even FAO and project staff. This implies relatively more attention should be given to developing training models and materials that have a systematic approach to training. Particular attention should be given to participatory project management training for mid-level managers, aimed at strengthening the participation capacities of rural people's and government organizations, particularly the interface between the community and intermediate levels. FAO should continue to develop innovative approaches such as the Farmers' Field School, and should they prove effective in fisheries, distance learning courses. SDRE should become more actively involved in this area.

495. Conduct more monitoring and evaluation of participatory projects, considering specifically how participation contributes to project success, the costs and benefits of participation, and the long-term effects of participation after a project has closed out. A comparison should be made between participatory projects and non-participatory projects in order to clarify the contribution of participation. Funding mechanisms should be established to evaluate the impacts of projects after they have been completed. Specific donor assistance should be sought for this.

496. Coordinate FAO's publications activities to reduce overlap and fill knowledge and skill gaps at different levels. Some joint work might be done on the topic of adapting materials, for instance, that could fill a cross-sectoral need. Some cross-sectoral analysis of the participatory publications that FAO has produced might be done and the results distributed to encourage the sharing of materials across technical sectors.

497. Encourage the formation of cross-sectoral teams within the FAO Headquarters and Regional Offices, involving SDA and other technical units, to address some of the issues that have yet to be resolved in the area of participation, or to develop participatory methods to address issues of particular technical, social and/or economic significance. A cross-sectoral approach would be effective to address, for example: post-project evaluation, including costs and benefits analysis and dissemination of best practices; coordination and collaboration of publication services, including peer review; training and project design. If FAO is successful in building this team approach, the experience should be shared with interested Member Governments.

498. SDA should play a facilitating role in the development of cross-sectoral approaches and synthesizing work done throughout FAO on development of participatory approaches and assisting in the determination of best and most cost-effective practices. Such information should be shared with other development agencies.

499. Appropriate attention should be given to development and application of participatory approaches within the relevant cross-organizational strategies in the FAO Strategic Framework.

Annex 1


500. The draft was submitted by correspondence to an external review panel consisting of five persons. The comments by the individual reviewers were varied and addressed a number of different issues. While the reviewers were complementary about the scope and coverage of the chapter, an important comment by one reviewer was that the chapter emphasized the review function over evaluation, in that achievements were not measured in relation to policies, objectives or goals of operations. While this is true, it was appreciated by the reviewer who made the comment that the central aim of this review was not to attempt such an in-depth assessment of results and impact but rather to provide an overview analysis on the recent use of participatory methods in FAO; further, that FAO does not have objectives for participation per se in a form that would permit any systematic measurement and assessment of results against a policy goal. However, attempts were made to strengthen the presentation of the results of individual activities where possible. Another comment was that coordination of work on participation within FAO seemed to be weak and there should be more specific information on why this was the case.

501. Other comments included the need to strengthen references to particular emerging trends which have increased the importance of involving people more directly in development activities. A number of reviewers mentioned the importance of "scaling up", i.e. the phenomenon whereby participatory approaches work well on a limited scale but are not spread beyond a local context. This is indeed recognized an an important issue to address within FAO. Suggestions were made that some of the activities identified by technical divisions in FAO as "participatory" may in fact be such only in the context of a very broad definition of the term. Some of these were omitted from the final draft.

502. Finally, most reviewers found that the thrusts of recommendations were sound and reasonable.

Annex 2


503. We find that the document clearly defines its purpose and that its structure covers the central aspects of FAO's work in the field of participatory approaches.

504. The document notes important achievements in mainstreaming participatory approaches in the different technical and economic departments and programmes of our Organization. While these achievements are not yet sufficient to cope with the increased demands and new realities of developing countries, they constitute a solid basis for future improvements, as recommended in the document.

505. The document focuses on FAO's involvement in promoting participatory development activities at grassroots level, but has given less attention to FAO's work aimed at fostering an enabling policy environment for people's participation. The document provides a useful overview of our corporate commitment to promote participatory approaches. Results and impacts are also addressed, with interesting conclusions regarding specific impacts and lessons learned in implementing rural development programmes, projects and/or activities through sustainable participatory management.

506. The document provides an interesting analysis of participatory approaches both in the normative activities of our Organization and in its Field Programme. The linkages between the two levels are evident, but unfortunately the interactions between these two levels of FAO's work are not explicitly addressed. We are aware of some significant interactions between the technical units at Headquarters and between Headquarters and decentralized units in introducing and promoting participatory approaches in interdisciplinary programmes and projects as well as similar initiatives undertaken by the decentralized offices in delivering policy advice and operational services to Member Nations. From our own experience, the omission of a discussion of these experiences is an important gap in this review.

507. SD would like to comment on successful FAO experiences at the Field Programme level in assisting Member Nations define nation-wide policies and programmes to promote participatory approaches. The case of Mexico is a good example, with the transfer of irrigation services from the government to users' associations. This particular case demonstrates the importance of an enabling legal and institutional framework and a well coordinated set of services at national, regional, provincial and local levels to promote an effective and successful participatory process in the transfer of responsibilities to grassroots organizations. It also demonstrates the emergence of a number of new issues related to participatory approaches, particularly in the establishment and implementation of new procedures to permit the participation of the end-users and, in general, accountability and transparency in the delivery of services. This case also shows the importance of participatory approaches and methods in addressing environmental issues and in strengthening conflict-solving capacities.

508. We are completely in agreement with the suggested need for more systematic collaboration among different technical units, including fostering cooperation with FAO's international development partners. There have been recent initiatives in this respect, correctly noted and endorsed in the document with recommendations for follow-up with which we are in agreement.

509. The recommendations cover a wide range of subjects. As indicated, we would like to emphasize the need to develop a strategic vision for FAO's future work on participation, and a plan for its implementation. This has been attempted when preparing the SDAR mid-term technical project proposal for participatory approaches, with the aim of fostering and facilitating interdivisional collaboration in this area, in order to contribute to the mandate and service goals of the Organization.

510. Regarding the suggested need for indepth reviews and studies of the results of participatory projects, focussed inter alia on cost-benefit aspects, SDAR is already including the subject in its current activities and programme proposals, to be implemented in collaboration with other interested technical divisions, decentralized offices and selected external partners.

511. In conclusion, we find that the draft document provides interesting and useful material, which will provide an important contribution to the preparation of the new programme proposals and in promoting participatory approaches and methods in sectoral and cross-sectoral programmes.


512. The Director-General welcomes this review on a subject, which he regards as a thematic priority of the Organization. Regarding the recommendations, he endorses them in general, and in particular, he accepts the recommendation that participation be integrated into the relevant cross-sectoral priorities in the Strategic Framework.


ACSAD Arab Centre for the Studies of Arid Zones and Dry Lands
AfDB African Development Bank
AFMA Association of Food Marketing Institutions in Asia and Pacific
AG Agriculture Department
AGA Animal Production and Health Division
AGL Land and Water Development Division
AGLS Soil Resources Management and Conservation Service
AGP Plant Production and Protection Division
AGS Agricultural Support Systems Division
AGSE Agricultural Engineering Branch
AGSI Agro-industries and Post-harvest Management Service
AGSM Marketing and Rural Finance Service
AGSP Farm Management and Production Economics Service
APAN Asia Pacific Agroforestry Network
APRACA Asian and Pacific Regional Agricultural Credit Association
AsDB Asian Development Bank
ASIP Agricultural Sector Investment Programme
CADRW Community Action for Disadvantaged Rural Women
CCAD Central American Commission for Environment and Development
CCD Committee for Combating Desertification (UN)
CFU Community Forestry Unit
CGIAR Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research
CIAT International Centre for Tropical Agriculture
CIFOR Centre for International Forestry Research
CIGR International Commission of Agricultural Engineering
CILSS Permanent Interstate Committee for Drought Control in the Sahel
CIP International Potato Centre
CIRAD International Cooperation Centre on Agrarian Research for Development
CP FAO/World Bank Cooperative Programme
CSD Commission on Sustainable Development
EBRD European Bank for Reconstruction and Development
ECE Economic Commission for Europe
EFC European Forestry Commission
ESA Agriculture and Economic Development Analysis Division
ESAF Food Security and Agricultural Projects Analysis Service
ESC Commodities and Trade Division
ESN Food and Nutrition Division
ESS Statistics Division
EU European Union
FARM Farmer-centred Agricultural Research Management Programme
FARMESA Farm-level Applied Research Methods Programme
FFHC/AD Freedom-from -Hunger Campaign/Action for Development
FI Fisheries Department
FII Fishery Industries Division
FIR Fishery Resources Division
FLCD Forestry for Local Community Development Programme
FO Forestry Department
FON Forest Policy and Planning Division
FOR Forest Resources Division
FORIS Forest Resources Information System
FORM Forest Resources Development Service
FRA Forest resources assessment
FSD Farming systems development
FSR Farming systems research
FTPP Forest, Trees and People Programme
GEF Global Environmental Facility
GI General Affairs and Information Department
GIS Geographic information system
GPPIS Global Plant and Pest Information System
GTZ German agency for technical cooperation
IAEA International Atomic Energy Agency
IBRD International Bank for Reconstruction and Development
ICIMOD International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development
ICR Project Implementation Completion Report
ICRAF International Centre for Research in Agroforestry
IDA International Development Association
IDB Inter-American Development Bank
IDRC International Development Research Centre
IDWG Interdepartmental Working Group
IFAD International Fund for Agricultural Development
IFF Intergovernmental Forum on Forests
IFI International Financing Institution
IFPRI International Food Policy Research Institute
IFS International Fertilizer Supply Scheme
IGAD Intergovernmental Authority on Development
IITA International Institute of Tropical Agriculture
IJO International Jute Organization
ILO International Labour Organisation
ILRI International Livestock Research Institute
INPhO International Network on Post-harvest Operations
IPC International Poplar Commission
IPF Intergovernmental Panel on Forests
IPGRI International Plant Genetic Resources Institute
IPM/FFS Integrated Pest Management/Farmer’s Field School
IRRI International Rice Research Institute
ISCI Intergovernmental Seminar on Criteria and Indicators
ISP Investment Support Programme
ITC International Trade Centre
ITFF Inter-Agency Task Force on Forests
ITTO International Tropical Timber Organization
IUFRO International Union of Forestry Research Organizations
LEG Legal Office
LEGN Development Law Service
LIFDC Low-income food-deficit country
NGO Non-governmental organization
PCR Project Completion Report
PFL Special Programme for the Prevention of food losses
PPP People’s Participation Programme
PRA Participatory rural appraisal
PWB Programme of Work and Budget
RAF Regional Office for Africa
RAP Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific
RLC Regional Office for Latin America and the Caribbean
RNE Regional Office for the Near East
SACRED Scheme for Agricultural Credit Development
SADC Southern African Development Community
SAFR Sub-regional Office for Southern and East Africa
SDA Rural Development Division
SDAR Rural Institutions and Participation Service
SDR Research, Extension and Training Division
SDRE Extension, Education and Communication Service
SDW Women and Population Division
SDWW Women in Development Service
SEAGA Socio-Economic and Gender Analysis Programme Field Handbook
SFM Sustainable forest management
SIDA Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency
SPFS Special Programme for Food Security
TCDC Technical cooperation among developing countries
TCDN Unit for Cooperation with Private Sector and NGOs
TCI Investment Centre Division
TCIE FAO/WB Cooperative Programme Service I
TCII IFAD/UNDP/UNCDF/WFP Cooperative Programme Service
TCIL FAO/WB Cooperative Programme Service III
TCIP FAO/WB Cooperative Programme Service II
TCIR Regional/Sub-regional and National Development Banks Cooperative Service
TCIU Project Advisory Unit
TCO Field Operations Division
TCOR Special Relief Operations Service
TCP Technical Cooperation Programme
UNCDF United Nations Capital Development Fund
UNCED United Nations Conference on Environment and Development
UNCTAD United Nations Conference on Trade and Development
UNDP United Nations Development Programme
UNEP United Nations Environment Programme
UNIDO United Nations Industrial Development Organization
USAID United States Agency for International Development
WB World Bank
WCARRD World Conference on Agrarian Reform and Rural Development
WFP World Food Programme
WFS World Food Summit
WHO World Health Organization
WOCCU World Council of Credit Unions

60 This chapter is organized as follows: I. Introduction; II. Organization of Participatory Work within FAO; III. Participatory Field Projects; IV. Participatory Planning in Investment Projects; V. Normative Outputs; and VI. Conclusions and Recommendations.

61 As defined by FAO, IPM is the careful integration of a number of available pest control techniques that discourage the development of pest populations and keep pesticides and other interventions to levels that are economically justified and safe for human health and the environment. IPM encourages farmers to protect the ecological balance within their fields, and promotes the reduced use of pesticides, protection of insects that are predators upon crop pests, and crop management strategies that reduce crop losses to insect pests.


63 FFS are being used in the FARM projects in China, the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam.

64 Cambodia, Guinea, Nepal, Zambia, Ghana, Indonesia, and Lao PDR

65 Coastal Fisheries Management in the Bay of Bengal, Integrated Development of Artisanal Fisheries in West Africa, and Cendrawasih Coastal Area Development Project.

66 See also the Programme Evaluation Report 1994-95, Chapter Three "Community Forestry Development", where participatory projects were found to be more effective in achieving developmental results than non-participatory projects.

67 - 0 = no participation. Project not designed to be participatory and/or external agents determine project design without consultation of intended beneficiaries.

1 = somewhat participatory. Some beneficiaries are consulted about their problems and recommendations, but development activities are defined and designed by external development agents.

2 = considerably participatory. Cross section of beneficiaries (male, female, younger, older, richer, poorer, etc.) define their problems and recommendations and have a role in designing and monitoring development interventions.

3= highly participatory. In addition to the above, a cross-section of beneficiaries have control over local decisions and use of resources for the entire project, or significant project components, and they take part in project evaluation.

68 The Design of Agricultural Investment Projects, Lessons from Experience, FAO Investment Centre Technical Paper No. 6, 1990

69 Sociological Analysis in Agricultural Investment Project Design, FAO Investment Centre Technical Paper No. 9, 1992

70 Guidelines for the Design of Agricultural Investment Projects, FAO Investment Centre Technical Paper No.7, 1992, rev. 1995

71 Participation in practice: Lessons from the FAO People's Participation Programme, FAO, 1991; The Group Promoter's Resource Book, FAO, 1994; and The Group Enterprise Resource Book, FAO, 1995.

72 See the Building Capacity through Training section of this report for more information about SDARs work on rural agricultural cooperatives

73 FAO, 1994. Joint Evaluation Report of the Forests, Trees and People Programme. April 1994, Rome: Food and Agriculture Organization.

74 Farm Systems Management Series No. 10

75 The reviewers were: Warren Van Wicklin (World Bank); Janice Jiggins (Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences); Peter Oakley (consultant - UK); S. Khadka (IFAD); Tonci Tomic (consultant - Chile).

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