Cruising Through Turbulence – An evaluation study for GTZ – Germany.

This document is the crux of Pak-German Integrated Rural Development Program
(IRDP) experiences of working in the Mardan area of North West Frontier
Province of Pakistan over the past 17 years. This is an effort to provide
the readers with the context in which this program was launched in 1984; the
objectives of Federal Republic of Germany and the Government of Pakistan;
the values which this program developed and instilled in the remote rural
communities of the program areas; the strategic approaches that came out of
the process; effectiveness of the tools used by IRDP; description of the
functional and organizational levels that it created; its achievements; and
the lessons that can assist other community development programs in
successfully launching and implementing their programs.

It is important to note from the outset that Pak-German IRDP is a unique
community development program in the sense that through a flexible and
gradual process it has focused on looking beyond the formation of small
community organizations at the micro-level in a very comprehensive and
holistic manner. As a result, IRDP is not only leaving behind hundreds of
Village based organizations but also an ideal network of these grassroots
organizations linked with umbrella or meso-level Regional Development
Organizations (RDOs) and Regional Development council (RCD)
that has no
match in the development sector in Pakistan. IRDP has also achieved the
formation of Women Organizations, Women Wings with each RDO and Women Forum
with RCD within the socio-cultural and religious context of the area, which
is an achievement in itself as the area is famous for its rigid observance
of traditional norms.

These meso-level organizations are the only viable option for operational
linkages of both the macro and micro level organizations and sustainable
society in the region with accountable inclusive governance. Although the
establishment of this integrated rural development model took 17 years.
Nevertheless, the flexible process approach, action research, active
participation of all the stakeholders and a will to readjust has made this
model replicable in other parts of Pakistan and South East Asia.

The way the program is fine-tuned to the local conditions, and social, cultural
and religious norms of the partner communities has made the program very
popular and acceptable among the masses.

As far the long-term sustainability of the program is concerned, it is not to
be assessed by looking at an organizational entity succeeding the program. A
significant impact of the IRDP is rather to be measured by a well
functioning institutional arrangement between VBOs at the grassroots level,
RCD and RDOs at meso level and government agencies and donors linked to
them. And this institutional set up is there to testify to the success of
Pak- German IRDP Mardan. There are many lessons for other development
programs to take from the IRDP years long endeavours shared in this
document, which is another step in sharing community development

– Abid Ullah Jan