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Posted November 1997

Participation in practice / 13
Replicating the PPP approach

Introduction | People's Participation Programme (PPP)| Project preparation | Forming groups | Group activities | Implementing agencies | Financial component | Group promoters | Participatory training | Monitoring and evaluation | Project sustainability | Costs and benefits | Replicating the PPP approach | Complete Special as a single 121K file

THE DECISION on whether or not to replicate a pilot participatory project depends on a number of factors. These include the extent to which groups organized under the pilot project have reached a satisfactory level of maturity or self-sustainability, whether a well-trained cadre of group promoters and project staff exists, and whether government and donor support is forthcoming. Replication can be pursued in one of three ways:

In all cases, strategies for replication need to be carefully designed, taking into account all of the above factors as well as such considerations as the geographic, economic and social conditions of the proposed project area, the type of project intervention planned, experiences accumulated from ongoing participatory development efforts and the cost effectiveness of the planned intervention.

Project expansion/multiplication

A participatory project should be conceived as the first phase in a longer development process. Therefore it is usually necessary to prepare - as early as possible before a project terminates - a flexible plan for a second phase. The data required for this exercise should be obtained partly from an independent evaluation, but mainly from the project's own monitoring and evaluation system.

Recognizing the right to organize

A primary condition for the promotion of rural people's participation is the removal of barriers to their association in organizations of their choice. This calls for the ratification and enforcement by governments of International Labour Organisation (ILO) conventions and recommendations on the role of rural workers organizations in social and economic development. ILO Convention No. 141 calls on governments to give rural workers "every encouragement" to develop, on a voluntary basis, "free and viable organizations". ILO Recommendation No. 127 defines a cooperative as a voluntary, democratically controlled and independent organization that is expected to become an instrument through which members are able to participate in decisions at higher levels. ILO Recommendation No. 149 calls for "active encouragement" of rural workers organizations and recommends that they "be independent and voluntary in character" and "free from all interference, coercion or repression".
In preparing for expansion or multiplication of participatory projects, planners should consider several basic points. First, expansion carries with it the risk of diluting key features of the ongoing participatory project. Planners should seek, therefore, to consolidate progress made in establishing groups and inter-group federations and in redirecting the services of delivery agencies. Without this consolidation, the expansion phase of the project could entail a decline in group activities.

New areas to be covered by the project during its expansion or multiplication phase should be adjacent to the original project area. This facilitates project management and supervision, as well as cooperation among existing and potential project participants and service agencies. Expansion and multiplication also implies a need for more field staff, particularly group promoters. GPs should be carefully selected and trained, preferably by senior group promoters who performed well during the project's first phase. Inter-group associations can play an important role in project expansion by assisting in recruitment of internal cadres, training new groups and federations, and disseminating improved technology.

To establish fruitful linkages in the expansion phase, it is indispensable to obtain information on existing groups, people's organizations and public and NGO development agencies in the new project areas, and ongoing projects and programmes with which the expanded project could cooperate.

Finally, in planning expansion and multiplication, various operations involved in the identification and preparation of the original project can be streamlined, thanks to the experience accumulated. For example, data collection can be more selective as considerable information will already be available. Incorporating participatory elements in large scale rural development programmes PPP projects are not pursued as ends in themselves, but rather to demonstrate to donor, government and NGO decision makers the benefits and cost-effectiveness of using group-based participatory approaches. These decision makers are best convinced by concrete results achieved in the field. Therefore, results must be communicated to them effectively.

The local and national level coordinating committees described in Chapter 6 play a key role as forums for discussion and exchange of views. However, other strategies may also be needed. They include:

Further information

For a complete set of information materials on the FAO People's Participation Programme, write to:
John Rouse
Small Farmers and Rural Organizations Officer, SDA
Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations
Via delle Terme di Caracalla, 00100 Rome, Italy

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