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Case study report participatory development-Rajistan India

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People’s Action for Watershed Development Initiative (PAWDI) was the project, jointly funded by Government of Rajasthan (GoR) and Swedish Development Council (SDC) in the late 1990s. It was executed by Department of Watershed Development and Soil Conservation (DWD&SC) and two local NGOs, namely Tarun Bharat Sangh (TBS) and Sahyog Sansthan in two districts (Alwar & Chittogarh) in Rajasthan.

Though the project was not a success, but it led to major legislation in Rajistan, India and later provided basis for Indian "Right to Information Law"

Publicada em: Governo e ONGs
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Case study report participatory development-Rajistan India

  1. 1. People’s Action for Watershed Development Initiative Rajasthan, India Project Report Participatory Development Submitted By: Rashid Abdullah – 19323 Raja Shoaib Akbar – 19608 Azhar Ali – 19345 Ali Abbas – 15693 Ch. Ibrar Sahi – 19764 Anis-ur-Rehman – 19468 Submitted To: Miss Aleezay Khaliq
  2. 2. 1 | P a g e People’s Action for Watershed Development Initiative –Rajasthan, India Contents 1. Acronyms.............................................................................Error! Bookmark not defined. 2. Executive Summary ............................................................................................................3 3. Background.........................................................................................................................6 4. Local Partners .....................................................................................................................7 4.1 Sahyog Sansthan: .............................................................................................................7 4.2 Tarun Bharat Sangh (TBS).................................................................................................7 5. Project Details.....................................................................................................................8 6. Achievement despite failure (Lessons Learnt) ...................................................................9 7. Conclusion: .......................................................................................................................10 8. References........................................................................................................................11
  3. 3. 2 | P a g e People’s Action for Watershed Development Initiative –Rajasthan, India Acronyms SDC Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation TBS Tarun Bharat Sangh NGO Non-Governmental Organization PRA Participatory Rural Appraisal PAWDI People’s Action for Watershed Development Initiative GoR Government of Rajasthan DWD&SC Department of Watershed Development and Soil Conservation GOs Governmental organizations RTI Right to Information
  4. 4. 3 | P a g e People’s Action for Watershed Development Initiative –Rajasthan, India 1. Executive Summary Soil and water management or watershed development is very critical for sustainable rural livelihoods in semi-arid and arid areas of India, where agriculture is heavily relaying on rainfall and the means of protected irrigation are severely limited. In Rajasthan, the driest and the largest province of India, the inhabitants have, over the centuries, devised several mechanisms to tackle the problem of water scarcity for survival The state, both in colonial and post-colonial times, has also focused on ensuring the availability of water for irrigation in dry lands. The initial thrust of the Indian state (as well as various provincial governments) in the first three decades after independence was on achieving food self-sufficiency through dissemination of green revolution technology, and construction of big dams, canals and major irrigation projects. While farming became quite a profitable business in some parts of India (mostly in Punjab, Haryana, and western Uttar Pradesh– which was the green revolution belt), the majority of peasants in rained areas (e.g. most parts of Rajasthan) continued to practice subsistence farming in order to make ends meet. Having achieved the goal of food self-sufficiency during the 1980s, the new thrust of the agricultural and rural development machinery in India was to incorporate rainfed areas into the national mission of increasing agricultural productivity, and tofind relatively long-term results to the problems of crop failures and droughts. A massive watershed development project, called the National Watershed Development Project for Rainfed Areas was launched by the Ministry of Agriculture, Government of India to increase agricultural productivity in rainfed areas, including Rajasthan. Around the same time, international development specialists and consultants also argued for strengthening of water and soil conservation activities in arid and semi-arid regions across the world. The World Bank decided to fund water and soil conservation projects in Rajasthan and some other states in India in the early 1990s. Many international development and donor agencies, such as the Ford Foundation and the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) also decided to sponsor similar projects in rainfed regions of India. Apart from these, several non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and grassroots organizations, such as the Tarun
  5. 5. 4 | P a g e People’s Action for Watershed Development Initiative –Rajasthan, India Bharat Sangh (TBS) in Rajasthan, working close to village communities, started realizing the significance of common resources like rainwater, fodder and fuel-wood, particularly for the poorer people in arid regions. People’s participation and local control of natural resources were the key elements in their strategies for rural development and they began to initiate rainwater harvesting and water conservation programs. In the process they also attracted funding from international donors for scaling up their efforts. As such, watershed development emerged as a new site and mode of the operation of multiple development agencies, joining together, by the 1990s. Based on this experiment and policy that had taken place, there were three significant shifts in developmentpractice in the early1990s. 1- First, the state has gradually lost its position as the leading agent of development prompting a significant expansion in the role of non-state actors in rural development. 2- Second, there has been a rise in concern for sustainability, participation, partnerships and decentralized management of natural resources like water or grasslands 3- Third, investments of money and resources by the state and non-state actors in rainfed regions of India have increased in the wake of limits to further increase in agricultural productivity of irrigated lands, and deliberate efforts (especially on the part of the Indian state) to reduce regional disparities in the post green revolution period. These important changes have designed the politics of development in rural regions of India, as they have in large parts of the developing world where the majority of populations are dependent on rainfed agriculture for survival and livelihoods. Besides, bringing in large amount of money and resources from varied sources (foreign donors, national and provincial governments, private humanitarian organizations and firms etc.) to the countryside, they changed (created new or modified existing) institutional forms and practices for the governance (control and management) of common property resources,
  6. 6. 5 | P a g e People’s Action for Watershed Development Initiative –Rajasthan, India such as village pastures, community forests, or watershed drainages, which are all very crucial for the daily sustenance of village residents. All of these changes have also led to the expansion of a network of development actors or agents–the national, provincial and local governments in India, international, national and local NGOs, international development agencies and donors, research organizations, development consultants, and academics–whose common concern is securing the availability of water, fodder and wood-fuel in rainfed areas. The prime objective for the Ministry of Agriculture (of the Government of India) is an increase in the crop yield and productivity of rainfed areas, and for the Ministry of Rural Development, it is tackling rural poverty in dry lands by generating wage employment opportunities. For international agencies (like the World Bank), ‘sustainable development’ of environmentally fragile regions is the main motive to sponsor watershed projects, but for certain grassroots and activist organizations, people’s control over local resources is the driving force for supporting such programs. Nevertheless, the international development organizations has (since the early 1990s) increasingly focused on promoting partnerships between state agencies and NGOs with the expectation that such partnerships would be able to capitalize on the relative strengths of the different partners. For example, the state agencies are likely to have technical expertise or human resources and the grassroots organizations could help with mobilizing communities for collective action. Moreover, the earlier watershed projects sponsored and implemented by the state agencies in different parts of India were criticized for lack of people’s participation.Arguably, in spite of diverse agendas and interests of multiple agencies in the watershed development arena, there was complex assembling of different actors in the form of partnerships in the 1990s. Effective management of natural resources in economically fragile regions has remained a major concern for international development donors, project implementing agencies as well as for resource-dependent communities. It is suggested that multi-agency partnerships involving various stakeholders (donors, governmental agencies, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), etc.) could ensure better management of common property resources, such as water, pastures or forests. This is important in dryland regions like Rajasthan in India where the majority of agriculture is rain-fed and the development of watersheds is crucial for the livelihoods of smallholders. This article presents a critical
  7. 7. 6 | P a g e People’s Action for Watershed Development Initiative –Rajasthan, India analysis of multiagency partnership in a participatory watershed development project implemented in the late 1990s in rural Rajasthan. 2. Background In late 1980, the community participation approach was introduced by Robert Chamber who is considered leading advocate of poor, deprived, and marginalized people’s participation in the processes of development policies. This approach of participation is equally accepted by both school of thought (pro-capitalist theorists and pro-communal/socialist theorists). Under this participatory approach R. Chambers designed various methodsand tools. Participatory Rural Appraisal (PRA) which includes various tools like transect walks, seasonal calendar and social mapping to ensure the community participation in development efforts. Chambers approach brought astandard shift from development studies and practices to more people oriented and bottom-up approach. This report is based on a case study of the project titled “People’s Action for Watershed Development Initiative (PAWDI) which was implemented in Rajasthan, India in late 1990. This case study report also reflects that there is a gradual change in the behavior of the state attitude by involving the non-state actors and local community in the rural development especially in watershed management of natural resources. Similarly, the government policies look influenced and this project is addressing the sustainability, participation, partnership and decentralized management of natural resources like water or pasture land, within academic policy circle. (S. Gupta, 2014). Another important aspect which is also covered and is very much related to the participatory developments is about the strengths and weaknesses of the state and non- state actors. It is common perception that state institutions of India are technically strong but their performance in the participatory work is very weak. While in the case of non-state actors (NGOs), comparatively they have less technical expertise but are very strong in the social mobilization and participatory development at the gross root level. They can easily establish good working relations with the local communities to implement the development projects. Similarly state actor seems very comfortable to work under in the top-down approach where there is a clear line of accountability and responsibility. Indeed, the non-
  8. 8. 7 | P a g e People’s Action for Watershed Development Initiative –Rajasthan, India state actors (e.g. civil society & community groups) look more comfortable in the bottom-up approach and participatory mode of working. Despite of all challenges, the public-private partnership is becoming an integral part of the development projects to build the trust of community, non-state actors over government institutional and to make the utilization of government resources more efficient and reduce the burden of repair and maintenance cost over the shoulder of state budget. People’s Action for Watershed Development Initiative (PAWDI) was the project, jointly funded by Government of Rajasthan (GoR) and Swedish Development Council (SDC) in the late 1990s. It was executed by Department of Watershed Development and Soil Conservation (DWD&SC) and two local NGOs, namely Tarun Bharat Sangh (TBS) and Sahyog Sansthan in two districts (Alwar & Chittogarh) in Rajasthan. 3. Local Partners The brief details of the two important stakeholders of the project are given just to explain that what these local organizations do. 4.1 Sahyog Sansthan: Sahyog Sansthan is a registered voluntary organization based in northwestern India working with marginalized groups in the fields of community education, organization, and development. Our philosophy is that social and economic transformation of the poorest sectors of society is possible through their own initiatives and leadership. Sahyog works to provide support for people to realize these opportunities through self-help groups, human resources development, and natural resources management. 4.2 Tarun Bharat Sangh (TBS) People’s participation is a prerequisite for any developmental activity. TBS does not undertake any activity unless the villagers agree to contribute maximum resources in term of voluntary labor. The villager’s involvement gives them a sense of ownership and ensures further continuance of the process.
  9. 9. 8 | P a g e People’s Action for Watershed Development Initiative –Rajasthan, India An important factor inspiring villagers to participate actively in the process is the revival of their traditional water system, with which most of them are familiar. The role of TBS is that of a catalyst and motivator. Beginning from the organization’s origination TBS believe that for development process, it needs to develop an excellent cell of human resource for grassroots work. TBS’s in-house educated and actuated personnel boost livelihoods at the grassroots level. They work on an ever-expanding scale in sectors as diverse as agriculture, natural resource management, health, and women empowerment, each of them playing a key role in TBS’s grassroots development programs and expansive outreach. TBS undertakes self-evaluation exercises. While meetings are held every month, emergency meeting can called any time. Here too, one of its main foci is on motivating people. It stresses a great deal on professional way of doing things but with a humane approach. The members of TBS are scattered in the field leading simple life with the villagers, so that they are one with them in their day to day problems and help them in finding indigenous solutions. 4. Project Details The targeted project was broadly focused on the relationship of multi-agencies toward the achievement of project objectives and it gives a least focus on the community participation in implementation of the project which is against the participatory approach. The projects become a source of inter-conflict among agencies for the sake of dominance over project resources instead of mutual coordination toward participatory development. Secondly, another big issue was, there had been frequent reshuffling or transfer & postings of the government officers, once a structure was finalized and officials were capacitated and trained them and later they were transferred to other projects and departments which hampered the project badly. In most of the cases, officers who were involved in planning, designing phase of the multi-agency development project, they were found absent during implementation or closing phase of the project due to their reshuffling or transfers. A new officer cannot develop same sort of ownership, that senior colleagues usually attain as an initiators, and they probably cannot be well verse about working mechanisms and could not understand the project strategy, due to late joining in the middle or end. They were
  10. 10. 9 | P a g e People’s Action for Watershed Development Initiative –Rajasthan, India reluctant to cooperate or to accept the responsibility of the shared work. The funds were badly managed and most of the funds were miss used due to the massive corruption, people could not question NGOs, government departments about the project funds as there had been no legislation in its support, In this way the multi agency partnership project failed badly. There was mistrust among different departments involved in the implementation. However, this led to a great discourse in India and on the basis of this failure; certainly the lack of participation of the community in development project turned into a revolutionary campaign, where people started asking questions about their tax money and its utilization and under this immense pressure, Government initiated some legislative measures that were important to for better governance. This failure also reflects that even a failed project most of time lead toward positive initiatives and changes. Particularly in the case of PAWDI, where corruption and misappropriation of project funds’ were very common, this project contributed to introduce new laws such as “Right to Information” in India to ensure the transparency and accountability of public funds. 5. Achievement despite failure (Lessons Learnt) The biggest achievement that citizens gained from this failure is RTI law, now citizens could seek information from private sector organizations, NGOs and government departments. It was an innovative watershed development project in Rajasthan which was based on the notion of synergy, using the comparative advantages of governmental organizations (GOs) and NGOs. The project was titled People’s Action for Watershed Development Initiative (PAWDI), implemented in the late 1990s. The main partners in this case were Rajasthan’s Department of Watershed Development and Soil Conservation (DWD&SC), two local NGOs and the SDC. The project was a failure for it was abandoned halfway but it offered, in result, important lessons for both policy-makers and implementing agencies interested in participatory natural resources management. The new environment of rural development marked by rights-based legislations which directs the transfer of benefits to the poor does not require agencies to be active collaborators to hold each other accountable. While the issues of accountability and corruption can now be dealt with in the framework of these
  11. 11. 10 | P a g e People’s Action for Watershed Development Initiative –Rajasthan, India enabling legislations, some fundamental issues pertinent to the functioning of GO–NGO partnerships, such as differences in work culture, ideology, value, priorities and agendas of the implementing partners have not been thought through enough by the policy-makers in India. These issues are crucial for the operational purposes and effective delivery of developmental projects involving multi-agency partnerships. In fact, the discourse of state– NGO partnerships in the Indian context has solidified since the 1990s and policy-makers have preferred to turn a blind eye to on ground realities. 6. Conclusion: The participatory approach could not be implemented in the true spirit in the PAWDI project. The government agencies tried to adopt the traditional concept of mainstream development (Top-Down approach), while donor agencies focused on participatory and partnership mode. This situation created an environment of conflict instead of cooperation among different stakeholders. In such situation, there was the need to have proper legislation and enactment of law. That is why; both state and non-state actors look reluctant to work with each other. In this project, DWD&SC engineers were not interested to involve NGOs in development activities and vice versa. The selection of the NGOs was done without assessing their past performance in the context of such joint working relationship. The results of the case study illustrate that good institutional form does not mean a good institutional performance. It was a real challenge to work as team when different agencies like donor, state institutions and NGOs workers belonged to different social worlds and class groups were involved in design and implementation, therefore, it was really difficult to stay together on same page and wavelength. The donor expectations were also unrealistic and against the ground realities which lead to failure, which was trying to achieve the project objectives by involving the community and non-state actors. Civil society can plan a vital role in the oversight process and become helpful to curb the mal practices and corruption in the development projects.
  12. 12. 11 | P a g e People’s Action for Watershed Development Initiative –Rajasthan, India 7. References 1. Sahyog Sansthan Website http://sahyogsansthan.org/ 2. Tarun Bharat Sangh Website :http://tarunbharatsangh.in/promoting-community-based- organisations/ 3. Decentralization and Participatory Watershed Development. London: Anthem Press. 4. Cleaver, F. 1999. “Paradoxes of Participation: Questioning Participatory Approaches to Development.” Journal of International Development Studies11 (4): 597–612. 5. Cooke, B., and U. Kothari, eds. 2001.Participation: The New Tyranny London: Zed Books. 6. Doolette, J., and W. Magrath, eds. 1990.Watershed Development in Asia: Strategies and Technologies. Washington, DC: The World Bank. 7. D’Silva, E., and S. Pai. 2003.“Social Capital and Collective Action: Development Outcomes in Forest Protection and Watershed Development.” Economic and Political Weekly 38 (14): 1404– 1415. 8. Edwards, M., and D. Hulme. 1995. Non-governmental Organizations: Performance and Accountability. London: Earthscan. Evans, P. 1996. “Government Action, Social Capital and Development: Reviewing the Evidence on Synergy.”World Development24 (6): 1119–1132. 9. Farrington, J., C. Turton, and A. James. 1999. Participatory Watershed Development: Challenges for the 21st Century. New Delhi: Oxford University Press. Ferguson, J. 1994. The Anti-politics Machine: Development, Depoliticisation and Bureaucratic Power in Lesotho. 10. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 11. Forsyth, T. 2010.“Panacea or Paradox, Cross-sector Partnership, Climate Change and Development “Wires Climate Change1 (5): 683–696. 12. Gupta, S. 2009 “The Politics of Development in Rural Rajasthan, India. PhD diss., SOAS, University of London. 13. Gupta, S. 2011“Demystifying‘Tradition’: The Politics of Rainwater Harvesting in Rural Rajasthan, India.” WaterAlternatives4 (3): 347–364. 14. Gupta, S., and S. Sinha. 2008.“Beyond ‘Dispositive’ and‘Depoliticisation’: Spaces of Civil Society in Water 15. Conservation in Rural Rajasthan.” In Water First: Issues and Challenges for Nations and Communities in South Asia, edited by K. Lahiri-Dutt and R. J. Wasson, 271–294.New Delhi: Sage. 16. Impacts of Participatory Watershed Management. 17. “Working with Unequal Partners.” In Principles and Practices of Integrated Watershed Management in India,
  13. 13. 12 | P a g e People’s Action for Watershed Development Initiative –Rajasthan, India 18. “Consensus Building and Complex Adaptive Systems: A Framework for Evaluating Collaborative Planning.” Journal of the American Planning Association65 19. “Participatory Watershed Development.” Economic and Political Weekly 37 (3):225– 242.Krishna, A. 1992.“Delivery Systems for Rural Development: A Case Study of Watershed Development in Rajasthan.”Prashasanika30 (2): 11–24. 20. Krishna, A. 1997 “Participatory Watershed Development and Soil Conservation in Rajasthan.” In Reasons for Hope: Learning from Instructive Experiences in Rural