Awareness and visions: The Dry Zone project follows a conservation-based approach to rural development requiring the close integration of the agriculture, forestry and livestock sectors. The vulnerability of the environment and the intricate cause and effect relationships presume the need for balanced ecosystem development.
Integrating stakeholders: The Dry Zone Project emphasizes on involvement of communities in project management to increase their capabilities in self management in which results from the programme has shown that communities are becoming more involved in the design, implementation and monitoring of their own initiatives.
Coordination framework of institutions for integrated policy making:
Amongst the UNDP project the focus of planning and coordination is at the township and village levels, where planning and programming of Human Development initiatives are jointly conducted between planners and implementers and between projects and communities. Township annual work plans and budgets resulting from these planning exercises ensure a common and cross-sectoral planning frame for coordinated planning of project activities.
Coordination at the central level among HDI partners is enhanced through agreed upon policies, common programming activities, sharing of experiences and adoption of Standard Operational Procedures (SOPs) between UNDP and HDI Executing Agencies for project execution and implementation. Overall coordination at the central level is the responsibility of UNDP.
Facilitation of project activity at the area level is the responsibility of an area working group (AWG). The AWG operates as a facilitation mechanism by providing technical assistance to project interventions and creating a forum in which information on project issues is shared.
Measures and policies for sustainable development:
The Dry Zone project follows a conservation-based approach to rural development requiring the close integration of the agriculture, forestry and livestock sectors. The vulnerability of the environment and the intricate cause and effect relationships presume the need for balanced ecosystem development, where the watershed and sub-watershed are taken as the unit of planning and implementation. Within the Dry Zone conditions the lead technical areas for focus of development effort are water harvesting, soil conservation, small-scale irrigation, livestock and social forestry.
The conservation approach cuts across traditional sectoral lines and can be viewed as the starting point for integrated watershed/ sub-watershed management requiring the convergence of forestry, rangeland management, ruminant livestock production and crop production. As the cause of rural poverty is an array of interrelated factors, natural resource sustainability in the dry zone, calls for a farming systems approach to development that integrates not only the various technical sectors but the entire household system and its supporting services. All remedial actions need to be conceived within a participatory context, which gives priority to the needs of the rural poor. Participatory institutions allow the rural poor to make decisions concerning resource conservation and enhancement. In this way capacity building is an important development objective.
The project implementation strategy is guided by a number of key principles. These are:
- Integration: Of sectors, techniques and actions as well as the incorporation of traditional experience.
- Consultation: Consultation within and between communities to enable them to take decisions, organise and manage their work while sorting out differences or conflicts between various elements.
- A planned spatial approach to development: In order to test new technologies and proceed stage by stage within a rational and agreed test area for experience to be gained before transference to other areas.
- Decentralisation: Decentralised decision-making and modalities of action are essential for project success.
- Flexibility: Flexibility refers to adapting technical assistance to the needs of the community and ensuring that unscheduled requests and initiatives can be financially and administratively addressed in time.
These principles are all critical for the development of semi-arid areas in general and the Dry Zone in particular.
Modalities for environment assessment for integrating environmental considerations into economic policy making:
A policy guideline on grants and incentives has been devised and activities are identified that fall within the framework. The interventions are all expected to adhere to the following principles:
- the need for quick change
- use of low cost technologies
- cost effectiveness
- multiplier effect of benefits
- social/economic/environmental sustainability
Activities once identified are assessed by project staff according to the technical and financial feasibility, social acceptability and environmental impact. Formats have been prepared to conduct feasibility studies to justify the implementation of the project.
The common feature of the HDI programme is that all projects attempt to reach the target group made up of the poor. In the case of the Dry Zone project, this principle needs to conform to that of a planned. Spatial approach where development proceeds stage by stage as part of a rational and phased strategy where experience gained from pilot areas can be tried, tested and ultimately replicated in adjoining areas (see forthcoming section). Decisions regarding the selection of the poor are viewed flexibly and initially the boundaries of poverty are geographically delineated. The selection of poverty pockets is used as a targeting mechanism for most land based development interventions. Delineation of the poverty areas, in the dry zone context is based on three criteria: physical isolation, soil fertility and water availability. These criteria also tend to reflect the underlying causes of poverty. Within these areas the project develops the community as a whole, although for some activities household level targeting is required to ensure the effectiveness of selected interventions aimed at directly supporting the poor and ensuring their greater accessibility to resources and services.
Any strategies directed toward the poorer households need to be administratively cost effective. Greater efficiency is gained if the practice of participatory targeting by the community is applied. The principle of directing program inputs at the most needy while attempting to avoid the social cleavages that could occur if direct targeting takes place in a top down manner through project initiated selection processes should be followed. Experience indicates that community mechanisms for equitable distribution of benefits are likely to be the most appropriate means of resource distribution.
The project focuses on mobilisation of communities through effective community participatory processes and development of human and technical capacities.
Community participation is pursued through encouraging communities to gain hands-on experience by co-managing all phases of development activities undertaken in their communities. As a result, they are becoming more involved in the design, implementation and monitoring of their own initiatives and in partnership with HDI projects. Development of local capacities is being achieved through a broad range of training and community institution building activities.
In order to foster further participation, the HDI has introduced the practice of Terms of Partnership (ToP), which are agreements between the projects and the community organisations. These agreements are being drawn up as a pre-condition for project interventions, with communities setting their targets and taking the lead in monitoring progress and recommending changes in projects, where appropriate. This participatory process, in turn, strengthens community organisations and fosters community development.
Community groups are also encouraged to meet regularly to discuss project-related issues. This provides an opportunity for community perspectives to be presented and taken into account at the monthly meeting of Township working Groups.
The need to break this vicious cycle of poverty requires attention to be place on these following items:
- Conservation based development
- Expansion of the area under cultivation
- Improving on-farm productivity
- Expanding opportunities for the poor to engage in gainful economic activity
- Development of income generating activities and linkages
- Encouragement of local level community management
- Replicability of project interventions.
The major emphasis of the project will remain to:
- Enhance an understanding of HDI and project purpose amongst stakeholders and the role of the project in addressing the land degradation process in the dry zone.
- Design, implement and monitor the range of technical/economic interventions needed to address the problems of food security, environmental degradation and enhanced income opportunities.
- Create an enabling environment to facilitate sustainable development and strengthen local access to facilities and service.
- Strengthen the capacities of grass-roots communities to plan, implement and manage environmentally sustainable food security and income generation initiatives.
- Identify sustainable best practices relating to food security, income generation and environmental sustainability for replication in non-project areas of the dry zone.
A central hallmark of the project will be the participatory processes utilised to ensure enhanced community participation in planning, implementation and monitoring of activities designed to meet agreed objectives.
Literature or other written project review references
Source of Information:
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