25. Guidelines for designing development projects to benefit the rural poor.
Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO), Rome, Italy; 1986, 76 pp. + annex
The overriding objective of development initiatives is to generate self-sustaining improvement in human capabilities and welfare. This task has proved difficult, especially when development investments are to benefit economically, socially, and politically disadvantaged people in rural areas, as mandated by the World Conference on Agrarian Reform and Rural Development (WCARRD).
Empirical evidence proves that rural development projects with high degrees of organization and participation at the local level are more successful in accomplishing their objectives than those that lack these characteristics. Therefore, the participation of the rural poor in project design and implementation, as well as in monitoring and evaluation, has been given substantial scope in these guidelines.
These guidelines are not meant to provide an universally applicable blueprint for poverty-oriented rural development projects.
These guidelines are directed at the design of rural development projects.
These guidelines have been prepared to help implement the WCARRD policy framework and Programme of Action. For that reason, individuals will find them particularly useful in countries where governments are already committed to the WCARRD Programme of Action.
The primary WCARRD goal is to improve the standard of living and the quality of life of the rural poor in a self-sustaining manner. This entails generating improvements in human capability and well-being, without nurturing dependence on external assistance. The WCARRD policy framework recognizes that long-term economic progress will not occur without the full involvement and commitment of the rural poor themselves. They constitute a major resource for development.
The need for this manual is demonstrated by evaluations of agricultural and rural development projects. These evaluations show the frequent failure of project designs to identify the intended beneficiaries adequately or to adapt project activities to local conditions. The designs also often lack either realistic implementation plans or adequate monitoring and evaluation systems. These design problems usually result in serious implementation problems and a failure to achieve the desired long-term benefits.
In this sense, these guidelines are a complement to the "UNDP Guidelines on Project Formulation" which give less attention to people's participation, target group identification, alleviation of rural poverty, and the process approach.
This manual is organized as follows:
- Purposes of the guidelines
These guidelines are most relevant for projects that intervene directly to help rural people in specific geographic areas. These range from sector-specific projects, such as the testing of new seed varieties, to large-scale multi-sector projects.
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