Poverty and Development Division
last updated : 20 December 1999
A Replicable Model for Improving District-Level Coordination in Poverty Alleviation in South Asia
Under the project, SAARC Seven Sisters: District Development Coordination and Improved Poverty Project Design, five district-level forums named the Committee of Agents and Beneficiaries of Poverty Alleviation Programmes at District Level (CABPAD) were created in five SAARC countries: Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. The objective of the project was to undertake an experiment in creating an inexpensive local-level institution which could assist in improving the efficiency of district poverty alleviation activities. The results of the experiment were highly satisfactory, proving that such an institution would be viable and effective in all countries and that the project could be used as a replicable model. The guide presented in this annex summarizes the major aspects and results of the project with a view to providing potential users of the model with an easy understanding of the entire experiment.
A. Why create CABPAD?
The first and most obvious question is: why was CABPAD created? The answer actually needs to be given in two parts:
(a) To improve coordination between government agencies, non-governmental agencies (NGOs), the community and self-help groups in the implementation of poverty alleviation programmes;
(b) To increase participation of beneficiaries in the implementation and design of poverty alleviation programmes.
B. Who are the members of CABPAD?
The membership of CABPAD is set up as follows:
(a) The forum functions under the leadership of the chief of the district administration, and it comprises representatives of agencies (governmental, NGOs, the community and self-help groups) as well as beneficiaries of poverty alleviation programmes being implemented in the selected district;
(b) The representatives making up the members are drawn from agencies and groups listed below which are associated with poverty alleviation programmes:
C. What is the size of CABPAD?
The size of CABPAD membership is broken down as follows:
(a) Representation of women is assured at a minimum of 30 per cent initially, with the objective of increasing the figure to at least 50 per cent;
(b) The overall size of CABPAD is limited to some 30 persons:
D. How is CABPAD set up?
Four definitive steps are required in setting up CABPADs. Those steps are detailed below:
(a) First, the chief of the district administration (who is also the leader of CABPAD), identifies existing local mechanisms and institutional arrangements in the district (e.g., district development committees and government/NGO coordination mechanisms), and their roles and activities in relation to anti-poverty programmes. This step is required to ensure the effective use, adaptation and expansion of existing mechanisms in serving the objectives of CABPAD;
(b) The CABPAD leader identifies and makes contact with the directors, heads, leaders and key persons of various sector agencies, NGOs, parastatals, CSOs, organizations of the poor and private sector agencies. Discussions are held on the concept of CABPAD;
(c) The CABPAD leader then organizes a meeting of all parties concerned. The initial meeting of CABPAD is used to formalize the representation of the various groups involved, the formation of CABPAD, the establishment of the CABPAD mandate and the adoption of its operational procedures;
(d) A small secretariat is formed at the first CABPAD meeting, comprising a chairperson, vice-chairperson and secretary. The chief of the district administration is appointed as chairperson on an ex officio basis. Special attention is given to the election of women representatives as office holders. All office holders in the secretariat function on a voluntary basis without salary.
E. How does CABPAD work?
CABPAD works in four main ways:
(a) CABPAD brings together all the stakeholders in poverty alleviation programmes and provides them with a unique forum for the exchange of opinions and experiences on the implementation and design of poverty alleviation programmes between the parties concerned;
(b) Meetings of CABPAD are convened by the chief of the district administration or a designated representative;
(c) CABPAD meets on a regular basis (monthly or bimonthly), with a clear and focused agenda, to discuss various aspects of poverty alleviation programmes;
(d) A report is prepared after each CABPAD meeting which documents important discussions and recommendations. The report summarizes the major achievements of the meeting by identifying key issues and solutions concerning the design and implementation of poverty alleviation programmes in the district.
F. What can CABPAD do?
The six most important ways in which CABPAD can have a major impact on the success of poverty alleviation programmes are through:
(a) Generating information on causes of poverty and on poverty alleviation programmes (e.g., various implementing agencies, target groups etc.);
(b) Improving the coordination between agents, and between agents and beneficiaries, through forging links and networking between such organizations;
(c) Identifying the needs of the poor, and suggesting the appropriate actions for satisfying those needs;
(d) Minimizing the duplication of activities;
(e) Reviewing and monitoring the poverty alleviation projects/programmes, and identifying ways and means of improving their implementation;
(f) Influencing the design of poverty alleviation programmes to ensure that they satisfy the real needs of the poor.
G. Who pays for CABPAD?
Expenditures incurred through the convening of meetings and the preparation of reports can easily be absorbed using the various financial resources available to the chief of the district administration. However, funds can also be sought from provincial government authorities and even the central Government, provided that the forum receives official recognition.
H. Does CABPAD have official status?
To ensure the smooth functioning and institutional continuity of CABPAD, it is essential to secure funding and appropriate governmental recognition for the forum. Initially, CABPAD is only an institutional venture which has the support of the district administration, and is not strictly official. After establishing its credentials through at least one year of positive work in the area of poverty alleviation, the district chief and other CABPAD members will be in a position to present a request for official recognition to the Government.
I. Can CABPAD experience be replicated in other districts?
Initially, it is advisable that in each country only one CABPAD be set up. That should be done in a district which has a relatively high incidence of poverty and a number of ongoing targeted poverty alleviation programmes being implemented by governmental and non-governmental agencies. Once CABPAD is functioning satisfactorily and government recognition has been secured, the model can easily be replicated in other districts.
J. Are CABPADs interrelated?
When there is more than one CABPAD within a country, they need to network and coordinate
with each other as well as with CABPADs in other countries. This is vital to the sharing of
experiences as widely as possible, and to identifying the best practices, arranging training
programmes, and jointly attracting visibility and the attention of national policy makers and
intergovernmental, subregional and international organizations to local-level poverty issues. For
that purpose, a nodal agency (a relevant government ministry for the national network and an
international organization for the regional/international network) will need to be identified.