Posted December 1996
Status report on participatory rural development in Pakistan's Punjab:
(excerpts from mission report prepared by Dixon Nilaweera, FAO consultant,
Rome, September 1996)
The Participatory Rural Development Project (PRD) in Pakistan was operationalized
by FAO in 1989. The University of Faisalabad (UAF) was chosen as the implementing
agency of the PRD project. The PRD Project is similar in design to other
FAO People's Participation Programme (PPP) projects in other countries,
i.e. the project aims at testing the use of a small, homogeneous self-help
group approach to reach small farmers and the rural poor. The PRD self-help
groups (membership varies from 5-15 members per group) operate at the sub-village
level and each is organized around common income-generating activities the
group members identify and they supported by specially-trained Group Promoters
who live in the action areas.
Current status of the project
Field visits to all project site were undertaken to assess the strength
and weakness of the groups and also to ascertain their sustainability and
vibrancy. The methodology used within the time constraint was to participate
at the Group Meetings, observe their interactions, study the issues surfaced,
attend the meetings of the supporting staff of the line Departments and
interact with other agencies. These field observations together with the
findings of the Project Impact Assessment Report and Mission Report formed
the basis of the recommendations.
There are 161 groups functioning in the 4 Action Areas (AAs). This is composed
of 115 male groups and 46 female groups. The total number of participants
are 821 of whom 574 are males and 247 are females.
Conventional types of group formation has ben followed from the inception.
Required training has been provided to Group Promoters (GPs) in regard to
group formation, group dynamics, leadership, income generation activities
etc. The groups do not meet by themselves on a regular basis. They however
work as groups on common income generation activities. They invariably meet
at the GPs office generally twice a month in order to hand over their savings
which is deposited by the GP in the Bank in the Group Savings Book. The
Group leader usually accompanies the GP to the Bank to obtain the loan once
it is approved.
Although the groups do not discuss wide ranging issues when they meet at
the office of the GP, they always discuss issues concerning their Income
Generating Activities (IGAs).
In the Gujranwala action area, the groups discussed important aspects such
as anti-narcotic drive, health and sanitation and nutrition etc. A special
feature observed was that this group had arranged a cricket match to which
the GP was invited as the Chief Guest. Early signs of group dynamism, self-reliance
and leadership in the village are indeed emerging, though belated. It is
a fact that all group activities revolve round only one factor, namely their
The group activities have radiated their effect to nearby villages. It was
observed that villagers in the vicinity who are non-members occasionally
participate at group meetings to learn about the group activities, the IGAs,
how to obtain loans from the Bank etc. This is undoubtedly a healthy sign.
Women groups are weak both in performance as well as in group activities.
This is understandable in the light of socio-cultural traditions of the
society which have imposed severe restrictions on women. Of course, their
saving and loan repayment habits are very satisfactory. To bring them together
even to the GPs office is indeed an arduous task. They perform multifarious
tasks and therefore have little time to devote to other activities including
group meetings; however, the loan and the IGAs have bound them together.
Practically all Lady Group Promoters (LGPs) are of the view that it would
be difficult to form more women groups in the Project Area.
The most common IGA is livestock development. Cattle fattening, sale of
milk, goat raising and sale of paultry meat seem to be the main activities
about which there is the skill, tradition and the rural market. The PRD
Project has linked the services to the people and rapid improvement to these
enterprises are indeed visible. In fact, more and more are inclined to take
to these IGAs. Based on the individual skills and the talent, several new
IGAs have begun such as electric motor winding, small transformer fabrication,
wood sawing etc.
There are new innovative enterprises as well, eg. ladies hairpin manufacture.
The pins are of excellent finish and of high workmanship. Women are mostly
engaged in poultry production, milk selling, stitching etc. Individual group
members apportion the activities among themselves and the profits are equally
divided with no questions asked. Group agreement, consensus, mutual trust
are clearly visible in Group activities.
Savings and loans
The Consolidated Progress Reports of PRD Project indicate a steady increase
of savings and loan repayments. Three out of four Action Areas have all
repaid the loans in full and the other 75% of the loan has been repaid.
This is remarkable when compared with the experience of rural sector lending
and recoveries of the countries in the Region. The savings of the groups
are generally not withdrawn and are reflected in their individual Pass Books.
These entries are made by the GPs in the individual savings books as the
members are illiterate. The groups have faithfully entrusted this task to
The loans are recommended by the GP and the Mobile Credit Officers (MCOs)
of the Agricultural Development Bank of Pakistan (ADBP) after careful scrutiny
of the IGAs, loan requirement and the repayment capacity. The GPs and the
MCOs carefully monitor the utilization of credit, production and marketing
and ensures that the loan is repaid at the correct time. It must be stated
that the success of the loan repayment is largely due to the desire of the
members not to get indebted to the Bank as well as to the supervisory credit
disbursement by the GP/MCOs.
The saving and credit has come to stay in the Project and has paved the
way for the Banking Culture to be established in the rural economy where
the members are poor, illiterate, devoid of assets as collateral to gain
entry to the credit system of the Banks.
Group promoters (GPs)
The GPs are performing remarkably well in the PRD Project. The have had
their requisite exposure by way of training in the initial stages. This
has been regularly updated by the refresher courses designed to keep them
abreast of the latest technical and managerial aspects of the project work.
GPs have undoubtedly been accepted as the "rallying point" and
the "nucleus" principally because they live and work in the area
full time. The visits of the other Government Officials of the servicing
agencies to the villages are few and far between. In the eyes of the group
members the significant contribution of the GPs has been making resources
available to them and in particular arranging loans from the Bank which
they would never have obtained due to lack of security.
Inter-group Associations have not yet been formed. The Project has been
concentrating mainly on group formation, group dynamics, savings and credit,
IGAs etc. One of the principal reasons for the lack of group interaction
within groups and within AAs is the distance, difficulties and the cost
of transport etc. The groups have not yet grown to the stage of having inter-group
associations as practiced in countries where the PPP is at an advanced stage
of development. However there is the possibility of group action being institutionalized
around common IGAs through Groups Leaders' Forum (GLFs- more later).
In assessing the sustainability of the project one should constantly keep
in focus inherent divergencies, fundamental dissimilarities within the Project
The four Action Areas (AA) differ in physical features, agro-ecological
conditions, levels of income, proximity to services, difficulties in communication
and transport etc. The Chakwal AA represent rainfed Barani lands with a
ruggard terrain having less possibilities of the development process reaching
the poor. Kushab AA is semi-desert and in the arid zone with less access
to resources. Gujranwala AA represent a completely different situation with
irrigated paddy stretching into vast areas owned and cultivated by affluent
persons. Faisalabad AA is closest to the city capital and has small parcels
of land fully irrigated by channel waters. Cropping pattern in this AA is
highly intensive cultivation of a range of crops both cereals and vegetables.
One feature which runs like a central thread through all AAs is very low
levels of poverty, illiteracy and inability to gain access to resources
It is difficult to comprehend as to why these 4 AAs were originally identified.
There is no indication as to how these sites were selected, whether by a
base line survey or by any other method. Perhaps Agricultural University
Faisalabad would have preferred these locations as they represented different
agro-climatic regions and production systems which suited their research
In view these varying conditions it would be futile to compare the Action
Areas with each other to assess their growth and performance. Furthermore
it is indeed meaningless to compare the performance of the PRD project in
Pakistan with a similar project in any other country because of these fundamental
dissimilarities which are entrenched in the system dictated mostly by the
inescapable socio-cultural realities.
The Project Impact Assessment Report, completed in January 1996, has highlighted
several achievements of the project, such as savings, loan repayment, acquisition
of knowledge, generation of additional income through IGAs, marginal increase
of health status of the groups, leadership and self confidence etc.
Indeed, one of the most important achievements of the project has been the
creation of a savings/loan and "banking culture" in the project
area. Prior to the project there was no custom of group cash savings at
banks by the rural poor. This project has opened the doors of the Bank to
the poor. All groups now are engaged in IGAs, such as cattle fattening,
goat raising, milk selling, poultry production. The creation of income generating
activities through the provision of credit has been the most significant
contribution. The continuation of these activities uninterruptedly is indeed
an illustration of sustainability of group activities.
The IGAs practiced in the project area have generated awareness and have
created possibilities of replicating similar activities in the vicinity.
This situation could be easily exploited to form more groups around common
IGAs so that the entire village could constitute one project village.
Some tend to assess the performance of the project in relation to the number
of persons or families benefitted by the project operation during this 6-7
years. This approach, unfortunately, hides the reality. Though technically
speaking this project has been in operation since 1989, implementation has
occurred in distinctly discernible phases of the project, separated by a
period of 24 months. During this hiatus nothing really happened in the field.
As a matter of fact, the first phase "died" on February 1992 and
it was not "resuscitated"until December 1993. Important landmarks
in the project life is given below.
Although there was little project activity during the December 1991-1993
period due to uncertainties in funding, the PRD groups surprisingly survived
during this lull period. Due to the intervention of the Project Coordinator,
a few small loans were arranged during this period; nevertheless, the groups
continued with their savings and IGA activities.
- March 1989 - initiation of the PRD project.
- May 1990 - signing of the Letter of Agreement (LOA).
- December 1990 - releasing of the 1st loan by ADBP.
- December 1991 - evaluation of the 1st phase.
- Dec.1991-1993 - lull: delay in signature of phase 2 project document
- January 1996 - project Impact Assessment.
It is only now that the PRD project has passed the 1st milestone in it's
march to sustainability. The groups are intact, savings are increasing and
loans are being repaid faithfully, assets acquired by utilizing the previous
loans are being used as basic stock or raw material for further investment,
the IGAs are gathering momentum and expanding both in scope and scale.
The time is opportune to move into the next stage. This stage would be the
interaction of Group Leaders, in the form of a Group Leaders Forum (GLF)
as explained later in this report. In effect, the GLF would be the forerunner
to the Inter-Group Associations. Of course it will take a long time to consolidate
the GLFs. However the potential has ben clearly demonstrated in the PRD
GP and group member training needs
According to the available records, 3 important Training Workshops have
been conducted primarily to the GPs during 1989, 1990 and in 1993. The 1989
Workshop has concentrated on the following aspects:
The Workshop in 1990 discussed:
- PPP concept and practice
- How PPP differs from conventional RD strategies
- Entry to village, establishing rapport, creating and managing groups,
group dynamics, saving and credit, IGAs, training of Group members and officials,
accounting system for groups, characteristics of ideal groups, planning
- Extension and education, improved farming practices, economics of livestock
The 1993 workshop highlighted the following:
- PRD philosophy
- Group savings, credit, Banking procedures, characteristics of successful
group work, PPP philosophy, methodology, group formation, IGAs, enterprise
management, livestock management, Women in Development, nutrition, mother
and child care.
The first two workshops were exclusively for GPs, while the last one was
designed for the GPs, Group Members and Bank officials, such as Mobile Credit
Officers (MCOs). It should be mentioned that the focus of these workshops
has been largely on group formation and allied subjects and technical aspects
- PRD/RD strategies, management of groups, rural women and development,
- Extension and farmer psychology, communication, on-farm and off-farm
activities, Banking procedures, farming practices and economics of livestock
In order to assess the training needs of both GPs and the Groups, a Training
Needs Identification Workshop was conducted from 21 to 24 July 1996. The
structure of the Workshop was to develop an interaction between the GPs
and the Resource Persons who participated at the previous Workshops in order
to ascertain the appropriateness of the earlier training methods and through
this process to surface issues which could be an input to the training curriculum.
A Nominal Group Process approach was utilized to elicit the information.
The close interaction of the GPs indicated the following as areas on which
further training is required:
Having examined the above issues surfaced at the needs assessment exercise,
the following areas of training have been identified in consultation with
the GPs and the Resource persons. These training needs can be categorized
into (i) process oriented training and (ii) technically oriented training
- The growing suspicion of the people of the Project area about the PRD
procedures due to their unpleasant experience with similar projects in the
- Lack of awareness of the PRD and it's activities in the village.
- Reluctance to adopt new RD approaches and the new technology.
- Lack of confidence in the Officials among the villagers as they have
not provided any support or facilities although they are expected to do
so. They hardly visit the villages.
- Insensitivity of most of the Bank officials to the rural poor accentuated
by cumbersome procedures on lending, lack of uniformity in the interpretations
of procedures, discriminatory action against women, etc.
- Lack of coordination among line Departmental Officials and supporting
- Problems of group formation and group dynamics.
- Need for regular information dissemination in regard to the technical
aspects of IGAs eg paultry production, cattle fattening, goat raising etc.
Awareness creation at the village and in the new groups
Since there are often doubts expressed by villagers about the PRD process
and the activities contemplated, the correct picture has to be presented
to them. For this exercise, the most important resource person is one of
the Group Leaders in the project. Arrangements should me made for him to
meet the new groups, opinion leaders of the village to explain the background
of the project, the process, achievements etc. This interaction should be
a one day programme where the group leader will clear any misconception
about the Project through experience being placed before the villagers.
Day visits to successful income generation activities
Successful IGAs in the villages should be visited by new groups as well
as by existing groups that would like to learn more. This will enable them
to actually see the operation of the activity in the field and the role
played by the groups, eg. poultry shed construction, goat raising, electric
motor winding, small transformer winding etc.
Field visits to GPs and line agency officials including bank officials
PRD Project suffers due to inadequacy of interaction among the line agency
officials, Bank Officials etc. This distance should be reduced by practical
Some kind of incentive is desirable to promote interaction among the field
officials. It is proposed that field visits outside project area be arranged
for all field officers to study similar programmes. It is understood that
several NGOs, such as Agha Khan Rural Support Programme (AKRSP), the National
Rural Support Programme (NRSP), Strengthening Participatory Organizations
(SPO), are implementing similar projects in Pakistan. Group visits to observe
both successful projects as well failure projects will undoubtedly develop
a team spirit which would be helpful in securing their joint support for
the Project. It is considered worthwhile for the PRD to incur expenditure
in this connection.
Workshops for GPs and line agency officials
Formal Workshops should be arranged to provide exposure to the officials
on the following:
It is realized that similar training has been provided to the GPs; however,
this exposure should be made available jointly to all officials, in particular,
to the field level Bank officials.
- Group promotion, group behavior and group dynamics
- Farmer psychology
- Extension, communication and working with rural poor
Two resource institutions can be recommended:
Detailed discussions were held by the Consultant and the Project Coordinator
with these two agencies to ascertain their capacity and availability. The
Division of Education and Extension (DEE) conducts regular courses for students
on the same lines. The Rural Home Economics Division which is within the
DEE too has developed training methodologies to reach rural poor. The Division
is prepared to conduct training at site, if required.
- Division of Education And Extension of the University
- Strengthening Participatory Organization (SPO), an NGO in Lahore which
is currently conducting training on similar lines.
Strengthening Participatory Organizations (SPO), which is funded by CIDA,
has a time-bound programme which has to be achieved during the specified
period. They are also hamstrung by lack of trainers. However, they do conduct
seminars, workshops on these lines particularly to the community based organizations
and officials. According to the Regional Director, SPO, they could accommodate
our officials in their regular training programmes. However, if special
training is contemplated then steps could be taken by them to recruit more
staff on contractual basis. It is suggested that both avenues should be
explored for the purpose of providing these process oriented training to
the GPs and line Departmental Officials. This would be an additional point
of interaction for them.
Training in this regard should be both theoretical and practical. Practical
aspects should be highlighted as special problems encountered in the field
are mostly due to ground realities.
Sandwich technical training courses for GPs on IGAs
As indicated earlier, the IGAs are the principal points of interaction of
the groups. Since the GPs are the only officials who are available for assistance
in the area they should be regularly provided with technical knowledge on
IGAs, in particular Livestock and Paultry production etc, in order to keep
them abreast of latest thinking on the subject.
On a regular basis the GPs should be brought to the University for this
exposure so that the field problems encountered by them could be discussed
widely and solutions found by constant interaction with the resource persons.
At these Workshops, gradually more emphasis should be placed on disease
control, market potential, analysis of markets and market information gathering,
cost reduction methods and creation of group marketing possibilities
Field level interaction with students
Since the PRD project would serve as the Field Laboratory of the Division
of Education and Extension for testing theoretical knowledge, enhancing
the learning process and curriculum development, it is advantageous that
the students interact with groups on common areas of interest. This would
provide the feeling of recognition to the groups. Furthermore the sense
of deprivation and aloofness of the groups in the society can be dispelled
by more interactions of this nature.
Joint training in enterprise development for the group leaders and GPs
Enterprise development appears to be weak in view of the fact that both
skills and resources are not available. Initially the exposure should be
the possibilities of simple value addition to the farm products on a limited
scale which is within the means of the groups. If simple equipments are
required for value addition, it would be advisable to supply them from the
PRD project funds.
Training for strengthening Group Leaders Forum (GLF)
As stated earlier the proposed Group Leaders Forum should be viewed as a
forerunner to the Inter-Group Associations in the future. Proper guidance
should be provided to the GPs in the formative period so that the GLF would
assert the responsibilities and operate on their own. The GPs should be
trained how to guide the groups in:
In the GLFs, the GP should play a secondary role and all proceedings should
be managed by the senior leader of the Group. GPs should be constantly reminded
of this fundamental requirement lest it would be yet another meeting chaired
and conducted by the GP. At every meeting, minutes of the previous meeting
should be read by a group member. This activity could be entrusted on rotation
to others. The training envisaged for the GPs on these lines must be carefully
designed and constantly monitored and at the meetings of the GPs chaired
by the Project Coordinator a regular item of review should be the GLF, in
particular to ascertain the growth, subjects discussed, the reactions etc.
- identification of issues concerning their IGAs
- identification of common issues affecting them
- consensus building regarding solutions
- how to gain access to resources
- keeping of minutes of meetings
- how to pass resolutions on reaching consensus
- orderly conduct of meetings
Special training for women groups - an intervention programme as a means
to an end
Admittedly there are difficulties in working with women groups for the reasons
enumerated earlier; however, these groups should not be left out from the
main stream of development.
Perhaps one way of close interaction and working with them would be to develop
an intervention programme on "Home Life Improvement" and introduce
elementary aspects of house keeping, sanitation, nutrition, home gardening
etc. In other words a simple dose of Rural Home Economics should be introduced
to them in a language they could comprehend. The University could provide
specialized courses on Rural Home Economics and in fact, there is a separate
Department providing full-fledged academic training in this field. Fortunately,
there is a Lady Group Promotor who is a Graduate in Rural Home Economics.
Perusal of the course contents indicates that subjects such as Poultry,
Dairy, Goat raising, Health and Sanitation, Food Preservation, Food Processing,
Home Gardening etc are being taught.
The Lady Group Promoters should therefore be given more technical orientation
in what should be "taken to" the Womens Groups as there is uneven
growth of the women groups. As regards the resource persons the Head Of
the Home Economics Division could be enlisted on a contractual agreement
for about three months to help in the preparation of the curriculum with
the qualified Lady Group Promotor who is incidentally her own student. The
subjects should be introduced on a phased out basis where what is needed
is identified and information dissemination technique to these Women groups
clearly mapped out. What is required and what is acceptable to them should
be initially selected for "gaining entry". The following training
agenda could be suggested:
All Lady Groups Promoters should be the trainers. Therefore they should
be provided with simple tools of training. Elementary handouts, pictorial
presentations, methods of demonstrations should be made available to the
LGPs to facilitate them in providing this training to the Women Groups.
It is the view that through these activities it would be possible to bring
the Women groups slightly to the forefront and get them more involved in
group activities. This should be considered as a means to an end.
- Small scale home gardening for the kitchen
- home sanitation, child care
- small scale cottage industries by using available raw materials
- Food preservation, processing
- Poultry, goat raising and other common IGAs.
- Less costly nutritionally improved food consumption
PRD Training Unit
If a comprehensive training programmes is to be implemented as envisaged
in this report, it would be advisable to establish a small Training Unit
in the PRD Project Office. Current training is done on an ad-hoc manner.
The GPs and Group members training needs are not identified in a continuing
basis. The selection of Resource Persons is also done at a personal level.
Moreover an annual training agenda has not been prepared.
This situation can be overcome by establishing a unit with two persons,
one male and one female from the GPs to serve in this Unit. Their task would
be to concentrate on training of the GPs, Group Leaders, Group Members.
The unit should develop training schedules on subjects identified on the
basis of needs assessments, create a roster of resource persons and develop
material for future training purposes. The W-I-D officer who will be recruited
for special assignment to the Project could help this unit in developing
curriculum for the Women Groups.
PRD group-based savings/credit operations
There has been no special endeavors to develop individual/group savings
as a complementary to saving/credit operation by the Bank. This is naturally
understandable as the savings and lending culture was established painstakingly
over a long period. Despite the constraints such as cumbersome loan procedures,
built - in delays in the Bank, the savings and loan culture has now been
stabilized and is sustainable.
Savings and the IGAs of the Groups are expanding and correspondingly the
individual and group savings are also increasing. Time is therefore opportune
to offer an alternative loan scheme to the group members as "Bridging
Finance" for unforseen eventualities. The main features of the scheme
- Establishment of a Group Savings Fund (GSF) by pooling group savings
together. Provision should be made to augment this Fund by donor contributions
and possibly from savings of the PRD Project.
- The GSF should be managed by the Group Leaders and all rules and regulations
governing lending from this Fund should be determined by the Group Leaders
at the Group Leaders Forum (GLF).
- Joint responsibility of recommending loans as well as recovery should
be vested with the Groups and the GLF (peer pressure).
- Entire Group to be disqualified for further loans in the event of default
by a member.
Group Savings Fund (GSF)
By resolution, the Groups will decide to withdraw the savings and pool it
for the establishment of a new fund, the GSF. This decision will be implemented
by the Leaders at the GLF and the Fund will be established in a Bank of
their choice. Two members of the GLF and if necessary, the GP as the 3rd
signatory will be authorized to do transactions.
With the assistance of the GP, the Leaders will decide the lending procedure
from the GSF. In particular, they will establish procedures in respect of
Once the individual member makes a loan application, written or oral, the
decision will be taken initially by the group and it will be communicated
by the Group Leader at the GLF. Loan will be approve by the GLF if it satisfies
the criteria laid down. The amount will then be withdrawn by the authorized
persons and it will be handed over personally to the applicant at the GLF.
- the upper limit of the loans and the permissible activities to receive
- Interest and the repayment period. Usually the interest should be a
few % more than the interest paid by the Bank on deposits.
- eligibility of members based on the amount of savings and on uninterrupted
regularity of savings.
The individual groups should monitor the utilization of the loan by the
members to the extent possible. Group Pressure will be exerted both by the
group as well as by the group leaders regarding timely repayment. In the
event of non-repayment due to non acceptable reasons, then the entire group
will be debarred from receiving any further loans until it is repaid. Penal
charges may be levied, if necessary on delayed repayments.
Loan as a multiplier of individual saving
It is observed that the individual savings are of varying proportions. Hence
it is desirable to evolve a system of lending related to the individual
savings. This could be resolved either by insisting on an uniform amounts
of savings from every member or determining the loan as a multiplier of
Advantages of GSF loan scheme
Quite apart from the fact that the proposed scheme serves as a complementary
lending scheme to Bank operations, it has the distinct advantage of emerging
as a catalyst for creating group strength, dynamism, strong leadership which
are extremely beneficial for group mobilization for development. Further
- there would be regular attendance at the group meetings in view of the
granting of small loans.
- the GLF will derive authority and recognition as they would act as a
- peer pressure for repayment and credit supervision will be gradually
- need to depend solely on the Bank will be greatly reduced due to Bridging
Finances from GSF on reduced interest, simple procedures and timely availability.
- elementary record keeping habit will be introduced to the Groups and
GLFs. Similarly, they will be trained in developing lending procedures with
a rural orientation and a flavor.
- if the GSF lending gathers momentum, there would be a tendency of groups
switching over from the Bank to GSF lending scheme.
Role of the GPs
Admittedly the role of the GPs in introducing the new loan scheme is heavy.
In this regard the requisite exposure to the proposed scheme should be provided
to all GPs at a workshop at which the entire process should be explained.
The GPs should act as trainers to the Group members as well as Group Leaders
on the procedures particularly on the development of GSF criteria, record
keeping, follow up, passing of resolutions, etc. In other words the GPs
should act as "parents" to the members in regard to this scheme.
Since the proposal is novel it is recommended that once the Group Leaders
Forum is established in the AAs, a suitable group is selected to operationalize
the GSF loan scheme on a pilot scale and treat it as a training ground for
Inter-group associations or Group Leaders Forum?
The slow growth in the inter-group associations has been explained earlier.
Basically it is due to:
Two solutions to this problem are available:
- slow growth of the group activities
- preoccupation of the groups in IGAs, savings and loan repayments
- communication difficulties and the cost of transport within the villages
and between project sites.
- socio-cultural barriers which inhibit one group interacting with another.
Social stratification, caste consciousness is severe in the rural society.
One of the advantages of the development of this structure is to create
a platform for them to meet on common grounds and exchange information.
The Group Leaders should be guided to discuss common problems faced by the
groups, progress achieved in IGAs, possible solutions to common problems
and suggestions for improvement. Whatever issues resolved could be transmitted
through the leader to their respective groups. The leaders could also be
the resource persons who would transmit the information to the newly formed
groups and the villagers who are keen in learning about the Project activities.
The Group Leaders Forum will serve as the path finder to the Inter-Group
Associations in the future and possibly the Village Boards as practiced
in some countries.
- to encourage group leaders with similar IGAs to meet and discuss their
problems and issues.
- to encourage group leaders of all groups for meetings. Positive signs
of the institutionalization of Group Leaders Forum have been noted by the
Consultant in his field visits and meetings with groups.
GPs are of the view that the proposed Group Leaders Forum can easily be
energized and institutionalized. The training for this purpose is essential
and this has been enumerated in the section dealing with Training for GPs
and the Groups. Following steps are desirable:
If the GLF function effectively it could be "federated" into a
simple structure as a upper tier where the groups could be unified into
one organization. Of course it would take some time.
- Discussion to be led by a leader elected by the group preferably the
most senior member. Leadership should rotate.
- Common issues concerning loan approval, loan recoveries, IGAs and other
matters of importance to the group to be discussed, resolutions to be passed
on the guidance of the GPs
- Minutes of the forum to be kept and read at every successive forum.
- More concentration on group production, group marketing, group access
to resources and visits to the Bank preferably without the GPs.
- GP to occupy a less prominent seat at the forum and only guide them
regarding the procedure in the conduct of the meetings.
Recruitment of a Women in Development Officer
Concrete steps have been taken to recruit a WID officer to undertake training
and support to the Women Groups. It is the view that this officer should
have the proper orientation and qualifications to undertake the anticipated
training on rural home improvement. Discussions were held with the Head
of the Rural Home Economics Division of the University in order to identify
a suitable person.
This has been satisfactorily accomplished. The Head of the Division, a qualified
lady with appropriate background, qualifications and experience consented
to provide the required interventions and develop training materials and
undertake training of trainers as well as develop the capacity of selected
Women from the groups to act as trainers to other women groups. Contractual
arrangement will be finalized soon to recruit her on a short term Consultancy.
Sharing of experience of PRD Project and the curriculum Development
of the Division of Education and Extension of the University (DEE)
At the discussion Consultant had with the Head of the above Division and
the Senior academic staff, it was observed that there is a definite programme
of enlarging the conceptual framework of the curriculum in regard to Rural
Development on a continuing basis. In the curriculum that was used earlier,
the concept of rural development revolved round philosophy, objectives and
approaches to development, critical reviews of approaches and evolving of
a suitable strategy for rural development in Pakistan. Students were guided
to identify main problems and constraints and prepare project documents.
This curriculum, admittedly, lacked both in coverage and in depth. A new
curriculum has been developed to encompass aspects such as Rural Work Programme,
Peoples Work Programmes, IRDP, Social Action Programmes, Participatory Rural
Development Projects, National Rural Support Programmes and similar programmes
and projects of NGOs. One of the important features of the new curriculum
is critical analysis of Governmental plans and policies for rural development.
In addition, a scheme of studies for PHD students is also under submission
to the University authorities for approval in which there are elements on
The Division of Education and Extension (DEE) is now in the process of studying
the field research projects with the objective of identifying issues and
constraints in Participatory Development so that such items could be incorporated
into the curriculum.
In order to function effectively in regard to training, it is suggested
that the PRD project be selected as the Field Laboratory of the Education
and Extension Division. With it's 7 year experience in working in four agro-climatic
regions in the country following the participatory development approach
and interacting with the most illiterate, deprived farmer groups both men
and women, bridging the distance between resources and the resource - poor
and overcoming the insensitivities of "officials" dealing with
rural poor, this project has demonstrated it's capacity of serving as the
most fertile Field Laboratory for training.
The idea of the PRD Project serving as the Field Laboratory for this exercise
was wholeheartedly welcomed by the senior staff members of the Division
as it would provide the much sought after field level interaction for the
Staff and Students which will facilitate the development of practical teaching
and research methodologies. It was also accepted that there should be closer
interaction with the field project for broad based and wider application
of the principles of PRD and it's process through training.
Establishment of a specialized unit for training on Small Farmer Development
on PRD principles in the Division of Education and Extension
Now that meaningful steps have been taken by the Division to enlarge the
scope of the curriculum by encompassing the PRD process and the experience
and in order to create a distinguishable identity to such training, it is
necessary that a specialized unit is established in the Division for undertaking
PRD training. In view of the readiness of the Division for such training
and also due to the fact the University extension education has gained credibility
of the farmers due to the non-approachability of the State Departmental
Extension systems, it is the view that this Division is the best suited
to establish the Training Unit on PRD experience.
The proposal to create a specialized training unit was discussed at length
with the Director and other senior staff of the Division. It was pointed
out that such a specialized unit will crystalize the training activities
relating to PRD process and this experience would eventually facilitate
the extension and training envisaged by the proposed SARD Center (which
is still in the TCP stage). This was agreed by the Directorate.
Structure of the Special Training Unit on PRD experience
Already there are on-going programmes of training based on PRD experience.
Two senior Staff members with PhDs are in charge of training related to
this field and one more is scheduled to return from Australia after obtaining
PhD in Extension. Therefore, three members of the academic staff will initially
man the Unit.
Operational details of the PRD training
The PRD Project site would be the field laboratory of the Unit. Several
interactions with the PRD project would be undertaken for curriculum development
and training. PHD students could use it for Research. BSc and MSc students
in Extension and Rural Home Economics could visit the field sites for identification
of issues in PRD process based on which there would be special assignments
undertaken by them. Current theories on PRD would be tested in the field
and the findings will be used as inputs for course improvements.
Undergraduates would be interacting with Groups and Group Leaders to ascertain
the ground conditions and field realities in regard to PRD process and approaches.
In fact, arrangements have already been made to send the first batch of
students to Gujranwala, Kushab and Faisalabad action areas during early
Field information thus gathered would be utilized for extension information
transmission to the farmers through the media currently used by this Division
such as pamphlets, radio talks etc.
Similar interaction with other field projects implemented by the NGOs would
be arranged for comparison and to ascertain sustainablity. Farmer Groups
of the Project would be invited to the Training Unit of the Division for
training. Initially it would concentrate on the Farmer Leaders, the members
of the Group Leaders Forum of the PRD Project. A Hostel and the basic facilities
for farmer training is available in the University. There would be interactions
with other farmer leaders in other projects as well. Special Seminars, Workshops,
Field Days, Farmer Days will be arranged in suitable locations as part of
the programme of the Unit.
Rural credit through self help, a new direction to the PRD Project
PRD Project should now concentrate on moving forward along a fresh path.
The PRD process has facilitated the creation of homogeneous groups, IGAS,
savings and credit which are sustainable. Therefore the new path of the
PRD Project should be Rural Credit through Self Help, (RCSH).
This programme should be viewed as an effort by the rural people to mobilize
savings through self help to be utilized for the provision of the most important
input, the credit. The special feature of this programme is that it is invented,
regulated, operated and monitored by the groups.
Two fundamental institutional arrangements have been recommended in this
report namely, Group Leaders Forum (GLF) and Group Saving Fund (GSF). These
two should be considered as the corner stones of the proposed RCSH programme.
All activities associated with the PRD process such as group formation,
training, expansion of IGAs, savings and credit, interaction of officials
and groups should be knitted together, converged and directed towards strengthening
the RCSH programme.
It is indeed worthwhile for a donor to consider supporting the RCSH initiatives
as it is a positive feature springing from the group mobilization process.
If anticipated support is forthcoming then the Project should be subjected
to structural and administrative changes to provide more dynamism and vibrancy.
In the ultimate analysis this self help initiatives in rural credit could
propel itself towards the birth of an exiting panorama of similar activities
leading towards poverty alleviation, health, education and selective rural
infrastructural development in the villages.
Set-up of an NGO structure for administration
It has to be admitted that the University has not been able to provide proper
management directions to the Project. In essence, this Project has been
a "one man show" ; that of the Project Coordinator. The management
of this Project should undergo fundamental restructuring if the proposed
new direction is to be followed. Several options are available. One is management
by a Project Coordinating Committee comprising representatives of all related
agencies including the University. Second is a drastic shift from the State-sponsored
administration to a NGO type of management. The second option is indeed
preferred as the best mechanism of reaching the disadvantaged groups in
the context of participatory rural development in Pakistan.
As amplified in this report, the basic realities in rural Pakistan, i.e.
the poverty, illiteracy and the lack of access to resources, particularly
the credit for income generation have to be kept in focus in developing
the administrative structure of this project . The NGO that is recommmended
is a simple two tier structure, a Board of Management at the apex and several
Field Units. The Board of Management should comprise the representatives
of the Group Leaders and the Project Coordinator functioning as the advisor
or the patron. The Head of this Board should be an elected representative
of the Groups. The second tier is the Field structure, that is the Group
Leaders Forum with the Group Promoter as the adviser. Since all operational
aspects of the new thrust area will be determined by the groups at the Forum,
their representatives at the Board of Management will establish the linkage
between the field and the Apex.
The NGO should be registered and it should reflect clearly the objectives
some of which are:
- establishment of homogeneous groups with IGAs as the primary focus,
- encouragement of savings /credit for the IGAs,
- provision of training both process oriented as well as technical for
group mobilization and for IGAs.
- facilitation of access to resources
- initiation of all steps necessary to establish the rural credit culture