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6. Training module on partnership building

What is partnership?

Partnerships are intended for joint solving of problems, resource exchange, cooperation, coordination and coalition building. The relationship among partners can be temporary (local bodies, including government, grassroots NGO’s) or permanent.

A partnership brings together institutional capabilities and human resources in the form of skills, experiences and ideas to tackle common problems that are often beyond the capacity of a single organization or group. Examples: (i) government agency like the Ministry of Education accepting the ‘help’ of a local NGO and local elected body to enhance literacy in a village; (ii) a local community-based organization (CBO) jointly with local industry associations and elected members of local council, discuss the problem of land degradation caused by industrial activities and agree on the implementation of a joint activity to address the problem.

Types of partnership

Networks: The relationships among partners within networks are often less formal or informal. The main purpose of most networks is to exchange information among members [e.g. Voluntary Action Network India (VANI), a network of voluntary agencies, NGOs, CBOs] and to share experiences in their local activities.

Coordination: Relations among members are more closely linked. Definition of specific tasks among organizations, which require resources (for representation, management, fulfillment of specific tasks) beyond information sharing.

Collaboration: Relations among members are strong with functional more broad ranging areas defined for joint activities. (e.g. Network of Collaborating Regional Support Organizations - India).

Principles of partnership


Trust is the most important if the partnership crosses many boundaries - interpersonal, inter-institutional, cross cultural - at the same time. In such conditions, relationships are open to risk of misunderstanding and there is need for a clear expression of interest and aspiration on both sides.

Transparency among partners is the basis for a solid and honest relationship. A relationship that involves the transfer of resources (e.g. from a government department to local bodies or from a government department to NGOs or from a donor to NGOs/local bodies, etc.) requires that strict business principles be followed, such as reporting, accountability and good stewardship. Yet, in most cases we have to depend on a relationship based on trust rather than legal conditions and threats of punitive action.


In this case, the partnership relations are open to dialogue and exchange of views. Respect is of utmost importance.


Solidarity means sensitivity and commitment to the problems, efforts and constraints of other partners particularly of those living in conditions of poverty and oppression. It implies a readiness to respond appropriately and in a timely manner to varied needs. If partners (even just one of the partners) are only 'doing' for the poor without 'commitment', it will be difficult to attack the roots of the real problems. Solidarity is not just a catch word; it means response to real needs and constraints based upon respect and equality in the partner relationships.


Any partnership involves rights and obligations. It is a major challenge when one partner has the resources and the other has to ask for it, or one has the power to decide who gets funds and how much, and the other is accountable for their use. There is no fully satisfactory answer to this dilemma. That fact, however, does not make partnership a less desirable ideal. It is an ideal worthy of much effort.

Requirements of effective partnership

Governments in many Asian countries have launched a massive programme of decentralization and have empowered their community institutions through local democracy. Many governments and NGOs are extending support to make this programme a success. Yet, NGOs are often skeptical of the role of local bodies in rural development.

There is also a ce/rtain amount of tension in the relationship between grassroots voluntary organizations and public agencies, despite some common interests. Both believe in decentralization and the great potential of civic action at the grassroots level. Yet, the cooperative relationship, which ought to exist between elected local bodies and the NGOs, is often lacking. Similarly, cooperation between government staff and the members of local elected bodies is missing.

Sources of conflicts in a partnership

Exercise on collecting data on sources of conflict in a partnership. (Format to be used)

Example of possible conflict sources


Level of Importance

This is a source of conflict because of differences over:






Perceived power to influence decision

The importance of resources received or expected from other partner.

How little some members know about the partnership

The acceptance of partnership's purpose and objectives

Interpersonal styles

Perceptions of other partner’s ability to contribute constructively

The real or hidden motive of the other partner

The impact of the external environment on the partnership.

How to address/reduce partnership conflicts

Conflict management in partnerships should focus on encouraging open communication and ways of negotiating expressed differences to meet at least some of the needs of all partners.

1. Choose a person who is seen as being neutral to serve as a process observer. The role of this observer can vary from keeping time, offering clarification or remarks, to suggesting possible ways of managing or resolving the conflict. It is important, however, that all partners agree upon the process observer’s role.

2. Select a specific conflict that is important to the partnership and the partners concerned.

3. Have the conflicting partners state their positions without interruption.

4. Have each opposing partner paraphrase the other side's explanations or point of view. This effort to understand more clearly and fully each other’s position often results in useful conflict management. However, more work may be needed.

5. Start an open dialogue for questioning, obtaining more information and further explanation. This helps ensure that each side understands the other. As the dialogue continues, it is necessary to move beyond explanations. This would require two interacting skills - both parties should behave assertively and cooperatively.

6. Summarize the position of each party, emphasizing their major points of view. Provide an opportunity to each party to correct misinformation or clarify points.

Future perspectives

A community meeting on future perspectives in local development planning is a way to create a shared vision for partnership building. It enrols those stakeholders, who have the power of information on the topics at hand and those who are affected by the outcomes.

For this exercise, 64 people are involved in local networking. Form eight tables of eight stakeholder groups. Examples of such groups are young people, local authorities, local bodies, etc. They take part in a highly structured two-and-a half day process covering five stages:



Day one

Review the past

Participants write key events in their lives, in the community and the world as a whole, in three parallel time lines

Explore the present

Trends affecting the local community are analysed

Stakeholder groups identify important current trends and future perspectives

Groups share what they are proud of and sorry about in their community

Day two

Create ideal future scenarios

Small mixed groups develop visions
Barriers to the visions are identified
Each group acts out its vision

Identify shared vision

First the small groups, then the whole group, work out the shared vision; what potential projects can help realize it and any unresolved differences

Day three

Make action plans

Groups plan projects and publicly commit to their action as a collective

Features to empower participants

1. Principle that people are experts in their own lives. There are facilitators, but no other experts.
2. Emphasis on self-management in small group work.
3. Openness - everything is written on flip charts and displayed.

A future perspectives exercise is worth considering when:


People: At least one facilitator and a committed partnership group to plan and invite people.
Venue: A room large enough for 64 people to be seated in separate groups of eight and plenty of space for display.

Source: Participation works - 21 techniques of community participation for the 21st century, New Economics Foundation, London.

Joint management of sectoral programmes

A partnership between the state and civil society for the management and delivery of social and productive services to local population, particularly rural poor, is an ideal form of responsive networking by the government, with the boundaries between the citizens and the state blurred and citizens themselves making decisions.

Reasons for joint partnership in management of sectoral programs:

Case studies

Forest protection committees (FPC), West Bengal, India

There are local partnerships between forest dwellers and frontline forest officials for implementing the joint forestry management (JFM) programme in West Bengal State. This programme aims to end the adversarial relationship between forestry workers and villagers living on the forest fringe who were blamed for forest degradation. In some instances, conflicts led to violent assaults on forestry workers.

The FPCs engage local residents in the regeneration, protection, and maintenance of forests and plantation, and to keep encroachers out. In exchange, each FPC is entitled to 25 percent of the net income form timber sales and certain categories of forest produce.

However, JFM has not met with success elsewhere in India where service providers from the bottom to the top of the forest department have been reluctant to cede management responsibilities and rights of forest produce to the local people.

In this successful west Bengal case, frontline workers were responsible for pushing the forest administration for full implementation of JFM. Indeed, they mobilized client communities to seek more participation and rights to forest produce. They did so because of a collective interest - expressed through their union - in ending the violence and intimidation they faced from villagers and in improving their working conditions.

Watershed management, India

According to Government of India guidelines issued in 1994, local level watershed management in rainfed areas is to be subject to community control. The guidelines list progressive arrangements to ensure community mobilization and autonomous planning and management of rainwater conservation constructions.

All community residents in the watershed area are members of a watershed association, which appoints a committee with representatives of user groups, a local community-based organization, and the Gram Panchayat. This committee conveys local needs to the Project Implementation Agency (PIA), which can be a government agency or an NGO appointed by the District Rural Development Agency. The PIA can seek the committee's help in mobilizing community funding or labour to implement or manage watershed control facilities.

There are very few cases of full or successful implementation of these guidelines and the rare successes depend on proactive NGOs or community groups putting pressure on authorities for proper implementation. Otherwise, watershed committees and user groups are simply set up by authorities to meet targets. Success also depends on the capacity of the civil society partner to generate substantial funds to compensate for resource scarcities in the administration with just 50 percent of PIA staff costs being covered by the government.

Education guarantee scheme (EGS), Madhya Pradesh, India

Set up in 1997 by the Madhya Pradesh State Government, this is a rights-based initiative to universalize primary education under which the state government has guaranteed establishment of a school within 90 days of its demand by a community, which lacks easy access to a school.

The community has to show that it has 40 learners (25 in the case of tribal communities). The district provides the teacher, training and basic learning materials, while the community provides the land for the school and the Gram Panchayat appoints the teacher. Communities are encouraged to suggest a suitable local resident as the teacher to avoid teacher absenteeism.

The community supervises the functioning of the school and the maintenance of its physical facilities. Community involvement is encouraged by the threat of withdrawal of funding if dropout rates are high. Over 15 500 EGS schools were established in the first year of the scheme.

Source: Bringing citizens' voice and client focus into service delivery. Anne Marie Goetz and John Goventa, Working paper no. 138, Institute of Development Studies (IDS) 2001.

Contributed by Chandan Datta, PRIA, New Delhi.

7. Training module on conflict management

Definition of conflict management

Differences are inevitable in a local group having members with different experiences, attitudes and expectations. However, some conflicts can support organizational goals. Indeed, too little conflict may lead to apathy, lack of creativity, indecision and missed-out deadlines. Clashes of ideas about tasks also help in choosing better tasks and projects. These are 'functional conflicts'.

Functional conflicts can emerge from leaving a selected incidence of conflict to persist, which can be overcome by 'programming' a conflict in the decision-making process by the group by assigning someone the role of a critic. This also helps to avoid 'group thinking' where group members publicly agree with a course of action, while privately having serious reservations about it.

The most difficult conflicts are those arising out of value differences. The most important thing is to understand the real cause of the differences. Yet every resolution of a conflict can also feed a new conflict in a group. It is, therefore, useful to see conflicts as a series of expressions of existing differences within a group, having some links to each other. How effectively a group deals with conflict management largely affects the efficiency level of its functioning.

Common ways of dealing with conflicts within a group

1. Avoiding - withdraw from the conflict situation, leaving it to chance.
2. Harmonizing - generally cover up the differences and claim that things are fine.
3. Bargaining - negotiate to arrive at a compromise, bargaining for gains by both parties
4. Forcing - push a party to accept the decision made by a leader or majority.
5. Problem solving - confront differences and resolve them on a collaborative basis.

Conflict-management styles


Conflicting parties jointly identify the problem, weigh and choose a solution.


Playing down differences while emphasizing commonalties.


Shows high concern for self-interest and less concern for the other's interest. Encourages 'I win, you lose' tactics.


Either passive withdrawal from the problem or active suppression of the issue.


A give-and-take approach involving moderate concern for both self and others. Each party has to give up something of value. It may include external or third party intervention.

Managing conflict

Factors affecting conflict

Matching conflict-management approaches with group level conditions


Conflict-management approach







Issue importance






Relationship importance






Relative power






Time constraints






Matching conflict management with process of goals-setting by the group

Conflict-handling style

Appropriate situations


· When both sets of concerns are too important to be compromised
· When objective is to learn
· To merge insights from people with different perspectives
· To gain commitment by incorporating concerns into a consensus
· To work through feelings that have interfered with a relationship


· To allow a better position to be heard and to show reasonableness
· When issues are more important to others than yourself
· To build social credit for later issues
· To minimize loss when you are outmatched and losing
· When harmony and stability are especially important
· To allow subordinates to develop by learning from mistakes


· When quick, decisive action is vital
· On important issues where unpopular actions need implementing
· On issues vital to organization and when you know you are right
· Against people who take advantage of non-competitive behaviour


· When an issue is trivial, or more important issues are pressing
· When you see no chance of satisfying your concerns
· To let people 'cool down' and regain perspective
· Gathering information supersedes the immediate decision
· When others can resolve the conflict more effectively


· When goals are important, but not worth potential disruption of more assertive modes
· When equal power opponents are committed to mutually exclusive goals
· To find temporary settlements of complex issues
· To arrive at expedient solutions under time pressure
· As a backup when collaboration or competition is unsuccessful

What to do when you are:

The lead person to present and clarify the background of the conflict

Problem identification

i) Clearly explain your problem in terms of behaviour, consequences, and feelings.

ii) Persist until understood and encourage two-way discussion.

iii) Manage the agenda carefully.


Make a request. Focus on things you share in common (principles, goals and constraints) as the basis for recommending preferred alternatives.

A chairperson in the group conflict management

Problem identification

i) Establish a climate for joint problem solving

ii) Seek additional information about the problem

iii) Agree with some aspects of the complaint(s)


Ask for recommendations - to avoid debating the merits of a single suggestion, brainstorm and seek multiple alternatives.

A mediator for managing conflict

Problem identification

i) Acknowledge that a conflict exists

ii) Maintain a neutral posture

iii) Manage the discussion to ensure fairness


Explore options by focusing on interests behind stated positions

Comparison of conflict-handling styles



Your posture

Supporting raionale

Likely outcome

I. Collaborating

Solve the problem together

"This is my position, what is yours?" "I am committed to finding the best possible solution." "What do the facts suggest?"

The positions of both parties are equally important (though not necessarily equally valid). Equal emphasis should be placed on the quality, outcome and fairness of the decision-making process.

The problem is most likely to be resolved. Also, both parties are committed to the solution and satisfied that they have been treated fairly.

II. Accommodating

Don't upset the other person

"How can I help you feel good about this encounter?" My position isn't so important that it is worth risking bad feelings between us."

Maintaining harmonious relationships should be our top priority.

Other person is likely to take advantage.

III. Competing

Get your way

"I know what's right" Don't question my judgement or authority."

It is better to risk causing a few hard feelings than to abandon an issue you are committed to.

You feel vindicated, but other party feels defeated and possibly humiliated.

IV. Avoiding

Avoid having to deal with conflict

"I'm neutral to this issue." Let me think about it." "That's someone else's problem."

Disagreements are inherently bad because they create tension.

Interpersonal problems don't get resolved, causing long-term frustration manifested in many ways.

V. Compromising

Reach an agreement quickly

"Let's search for a solution we can both live with so we can get on our work."

Prolonged conflicts alienate people from their work and engender bitter feelings.

The participants become conditioned to seek expedient rather than effective solutions.

Training module on conflict management

Contents, objectives and methodology on partnership and conflict management

Partnership content


Specific objective


Role of stakeholders in poverty alleviation

Behavioural aspects of building partnership

Knowledge of basic government management functions; tendering, budgeting etc.

Organizational abilities for PRI meetings

Communication skills

Role of officials, elected representatives, NGO representatives and civil society including beneficiaries

1. Clarification of role of local development agencies like DRDA, banks, PRIs and NGOs

2 Understanding the attitudes, beliefs, motivation, awareness, socio-cultural aspects and development of partnership among all stakeholders for poverty alleviation




Self-analysis techniques

Simulation game

Story telling and problem-solving

Field visit to success and failure sites

Conflict-resolution content




Concept and sources of conflict


Methods of conflict resolution

Institutional mechanism for conflict management among government and NGOs at panchayat level

Leadership development on problem-solving, development-oriented attitude and social communication skills

Negotiating skills

Panchayat role in summoning development officers

To clarify the concept of conflict and collaboration

To identify the sources of conflict

To understand the process of effective conflict management

To plan collaboration with stakeholders

To clarify the institutional set-up and interests of stakeholders in conflict- resolution




Simulation game

Case study


Source: Conservation Extension Manual for Mid-Level Technicians, Local Development Training Academy, Kathmandu, Nepal. pp.113-119.

Contributed by C. S. Singhal, Associate Professor, Centre for Behavioural and Organisational Development, National Institute of Rural Development (NIRD), Hyderabad, India.

8. Training module on planning for disaster preparedness and mitigation

Definition of disaster

A disaster is any event, natural or man made, which threatens human lives, damages private and public property and infrastructure, and disrupts social and economic life.

Classification of disasters

Disasters can be classified by nature, timing, predictability, response time and type of impact.

Disasters according to timing and predictability











Food shortage



Disasters according to response time

Long response time

Short response time

No response time







Disasters according to impact

Affect all aspects
of life

Loss of life and damage
to physical infrastructure

Affect livelihood and cause
environmental degradation

Threaten only



Drought/Forest Fire




Impact of disasters on different sections of rural people


Impact on different sections of rural people

Medium, big

Small/marginal farmers,
artisans, labourers

Loss of human and animal lives

Low as they have
means for protection

High as they have very little
or no means for protection

Loss of property/economic assets



Loss of means of livelihood



Recovery period



Natural disasters in India

Type of hazard

Vulnerable area in sq km

Population in million


180 000



400 000



915 000



1 760 000


Disaster management

Natural disasters cannot be prevented, but their impact on people's lives can be reduced to a considerable extent. Disaster management covers all aspects of preventive and protective measures, preparedness, rescue, relief and rehabilitation operations. It has three phases:

1. Impact phase: This has three stages.




2. Relief and rehabilitation phase

3. Long-term mitigation and preparedness phase

This is a crucial period and devoted to long-term development of disaster prone areas to minimize the impact of the hazard and prepare the people as well as all supporting systems in the area to face future disasters.

Long-term planning for preventive measures

Long-term protective measures

Role of Panchayati Raj bodies in local disaster management

While the government has the duty to help people in distress, the latter have a greater responsibility to help the government help them to cope with disasters. Panchayati Raj bodies are the most appropriate local institutions for involving people in natural disaster preparedness. Panchayati Raj bodies have a role to play in all phases of disaster management.

Panchayat role during first phase of natural disaster management

Gram Panchayat or village level

Block/Mandal Panchayat

Zilla Panchayat or district level

Panchayat role in rescue and relief before and during natural disaster impact

Gram Panchayat or village level

Block/Mandal Panchayat

Zilla Panchayat or district level

Panchayat role in reconstruction and long-term mitigation planning

Gram Panchayat or village level

Block/Mandal Panchayat

Zilla Panchayat or district level

Contributed by B. K. Thapliyal, Prof. & Head, Centre for Disaster Management & Rural Reconstruction (CDM & RR), National Institute of Rural Development (NIRD), Hyderabad, India.

9. Training module on participatory community monitoring and evaluation

Why participatory community monitoring and evaluation?

Participatory community monitoring and evaluation are extremely important for learning about the achievement/deviation from original concerns and problems faced by local development projects/programmes being implemented, so that corrective measures can be taken in time.

Evaluation is often carried out by donor agencies or policy makers and helps in assessing whether the project has brought benefits to those for whom it was intended. An evaluator is expected to examine:

- whether it was right to have invested resources in the project in the context of competing needs;
- whether the underlying assumptions and design were right;
- whether progress was made towards planning changes, and if not, why; and
- unplanned changes that may have occurred.

Monitoring ensures that i) inputs are ready in time; ii) works plans are followed closely; iii) adjustments can be made and corrective action taken as and when necessary; iv) people who need to know are kept informed; v) constraints and bottlenecks are found; and vi) resources are used efficiently.

Aim of participatory monitoring and evaluation (PME)

1. To assess information or generate data on development activities being carried out at the local community level.

2. To facilitate monitoring and evaluation by beneficiaries of different development activities.

3. To increase beneficiaries' commitment and understanding in designing, planning and implementing community-based development projects or programmes.

Participatory monitoring involves local beneficiaries in measuring, recording, collecting, processing and communicating information to assist local development project extension workers and local group members in decision-making.

Participatory evaluation assists in adjusting and redefining objectives, reorganizing institutional arrangements or re-allocating resources as necessary. Monitoring and evaluation system (MES) allows continuous surveillance in order to assess the local development project's impact on intended beneficiaries.

Involving local people in project evaluation is one of the learning objectives of participatory management. Apart from project's impact on the life of the people, it is also worthwhile to evaluate:

i) attitudinal changes in the local community about their role and sense of responsibility;
ii) if people have gained confidence in their ability to undertake new activities; and
iii) lessons about people's capacity, extent of participation and community responsibilities.

It provides an opportunity to the project implementation committee to assess deficiencies in the project design - if objectives and work plan were realistic, if local funding was adequate and whether project actually owned by the people. Answers to these questions indicate future precautions and modifications in the method and approach. This in itself is an achievement in capacity building at the local level.

Role of community extension workers

1. It is the responsibility of extension workers/community development motivators to make beneficiaries aware about the project/programmes and their objectives.

2. Extension workers should develop and help beneficiaries identify indicators and measurements for each project activity. Based on these, extension workers should collect data on inputs and outputs by using simple formats and tables.

3. Extension workers should process, organize and analyse the data for evaluation. For participatory evaluation, they should assist beneficiaries to understand the process, using simple procedures. After processing, organizing and analysing the data, extension workers must assess the impact of local development project activities.

PME should be:

  • Demonstrative, not instructive in writing

  • Collaborative, not individualist or directive

  • Explorative, not repetitive

  • Listening to, not lecturing

  • Interactive, not dominating

  • Qualitative, not quantitative

  • For community/people, not project-oriented.

Steps in participatory monitoring and evaluation

Step I

Understanding goal/objectives of local development project/programme

Step II

Identifying activities to achieve objectives

Step III

Identifying measurements to assess results or show extent of progress

Step IV

Developing measurement indicators

Step V

Identifying methods and techniques of collecting information

Step VI

Selecting formats/visual tools for presenting information

Step I

Goal - Sustainable increase in productivity of sub-watershed within local community


Step II


Step III

Assessment measures

Step IV

Developing measurement indicators

Step V

Identifying methods of collecting information

At community level


Remember to collect data in

Step VI

Selecting formats/visual tools for presenting information

Measurement indicators

Indicators of organizational strength

Indicators of group participation

Indicators for gender issues (women in development)

Indicators for environmental issues

Number of villagers who know or who have heard about organization or groups

Number of groups or rural organizations

Funds allocated for women in development activities

Degree of rehabilitation of degraded areas

Frequency of attendance of participants in the meeting

Socio-economic composition of groups

Women's share in benefit

Community forests protected, managed and utilized

Number of meetings held each month

Number of person/days of labour contributed

Women's participation in decision-making

Forest area increased


Material and money contributed by group

Women trained in various activities

Bio-diversity increased and protected


Joint funds collected from local sources and used for maintenance work

Change in time spent by women in domestic and farm activities

Landslide, soil erosion and floods decreased


Participation of farmers

Change in women's income, expenditure and savings

Water-source increased and protected


Capacity to maintain local facilities

Position of women in different states

Decrease in incidence of environment-related diseases/disasters

Source: Conservation extension manual for mid-level technician/s, Local Development Training Academy, Kathmandu, Nepal.

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