Development Cooperation Handbook/Definitions/Participated development

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Definitions  

By “participated development” we mean a process through which stakeholders influence and share control over development initiatives and the decisions and resources which affect them. For an innovative community effective and comprehensive participation enables exchange of ideas and opinions both among themselves and also from external experts and resource persons, strong interpersonal rapport and sharing of information (communication), that is grounded in mutual respect and shared responsibilities (commitment), and working together towards common and mutual benefit (cooperation). (see also development). Getting the participation of the poor requires strengthening the organizational and financial capacities of the poor so that they can act for themselves. The constructive dialogue between civil society and local authorities is an essential prerequisite for a sustained and participated development.


You cannot "buy" development; beneficiary communities must own the projects - B.Hoeper


Participation is a process through which stakeholders influence and share control over development initiatives and the decisions and resources which affect them. Participation in political science is an umbrella term including different means for the public to directly participate in political, economical or management decisions. The term is also used in management theory (as in "participatory management") to denote a style of management that calls for a high level of participation of workers and supervisors in decisions that affect their work.

Sustainability is about fostering participation - with dialogue, cooperation and communication.

For an innovative community effective and comprehensive participation enables exchange of ideas and opinions both among themselves and also from external experts and resource persons, strong interpersonal rapport and sharing of information (communication), that is grounded in mutual respect and shared responsibilities (commitment), and working together towards common and mutual benefit (cooperation).

Participation is a process through which stakeholders influence and share control over development initiatives and the decisions and resources which affect them.

Through the participatory process, , people can make informed commitments, and, by observing the participatory process, assessments can be made by Bank and government staff, among others, about the presence or absence of the commitment necessary to ensure sustainability.

Getting the participation of the poor involves a lot more than finding the right technique. It requires strengthening the organizational and financial capacities of the poor so that they can act for themselves. In searching for ways to build local capacity, we found it useful to think in terms of a continuum along which the poor are progressively empowered. On one end of this continuum, the poor are viewed as beneficiaries--recipients of services, resources, and development interventions. In this context, community organizing, training, and one-way flows of resources through grant mechanisms are often appropriate. Although much good work has been done in this mode, the provision of benefits delivered to people in this way may not be sustainable in the long term and may not improve the ability of people to act for themselves. As the capacity of poor people is strengthened and their voices begin to be heard, they become "action sponsors/beneficiaries" who are capable of demanding and paying for goods and services from government and private sector agencies. Under these changed circumstances, the mechanisms to satisfy their needs will change as well. In this context, it becomes necessary to move away from welfare-oriented approaches and focus rather on such things as building sustainable, market-based financial systems; decentralizing authority and resources; and strengthening local institutions. We reach the far end of the continuum when these action sponsors/beneficiaries ultimately become the owners and managers of their assets and activities. This stage ranks highest in terms of the intensity of participation involved. A question we asked ourselves while preparing the Sourcebook was, how can we support and prepare poor people to own and manage assets and activities in a sustainable manner? In part, we found out that the more poor people are involved upstream in the planning and decisionmaking process, the more likely they are to own a development intervention, contribute to it, and sustain it; this alone, however, is not sufficient. Constraints exist at the policy level that impinge on the rights of people to organize, access information, engage in contracts, own and manage assets, and participate fully as members of civil society. Efforts are needed, therefore, to create an enabling policy environment that allows all stakeholders-especially poor and disadvantaged ones-to be part of the definition we noted at the outset. They too must be enabled to: ...influence and share control over development initiatives and the decisions and resources which affect them.

When all stakeholders collaborate in designing their collective future, it increases the chances of former differences being resolved and a new consensus emerging around issues everyone can agree on. This is probably so because people who have to live and work together can often find ways to agree if given the chance. Unfortunately, people do not often get the chance to work together to determine their collective future. Development projects prepared in the external expert stance do not provide that chance. The participatory process, however, facilitates working together. So participation can be a "conflict avoidance" process to the degree that it helps stakeholders with different interests explore and potentially find common interests.

See also