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.
- through expansion of project activities in adjacent areas
- through multiplication, i.e. the launching of similar projects in other
areas of the country
- through the introduction of participatory components in larger-scale
rural development projects and programmes.
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
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.
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".
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:
- Influencing policy makers. Policy makers of national and NGO
development agencies should be encouraged to participate in dialogues on
the need for the adoption of policies favourable to participatory development.
These policies include appropriate legislation to promote rural people's
organizations, including freedom of association as well as reorientation
of delivery systems towards the needs of the rural poor. Other policies
should promote full integration of women in development, decentralization
of decision making, planning and resource allocation, and expansion of non-agricultural
- Influencing development planners and administrators. Many of
the development agencies involved in implementation of large-scale programmes
and projects may have little or no experience in participatory development.
Development planners and implementation agencies can be influenced through
meetings and field workshops, periodic informal exchanges of views, briefings
on participatory projects, and incorporation of participatory issues in
project identification, preparation, appraisal and evaluation missions.
- Influencing local leaders. The support of village leaders is
often crucial to a participatory project. This support should be obtained
through meetings and project initiation workshops aimed at convincing local
traditional and administrative leaders that the project is in their own
short- and long-term interest.
- Influencing donors and international development agencies. The
support of donors, development agencies and international financial institutions
is essential for widespread adoption of the participatory approach. Efforts
to obtain this support should aim, first, at convincing those donors and
agencies that support participatory projects to continue their assistance.
Other donors, development banks and agencies should be influenced through
policy dialogues and field workshops to support the participatory approach.
It will be crucial to demonstrate the achievements of participatory projects,
through effective monitoring and evaluation systems and case studies on
their benefits and cost-effectiveness.
For a complete set of information materials on the FAO People's Participation
Programme, write to:
Small Farmers and Rural Organizations Officer, SDA
Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations
Via delle Terme di Caracalla, 00100 Rome, Italy