Lessons for Other Rural Development Programs
- Although according to the prevailing circumstances, IRDP team used the best judgment and successfully formed khel based organizations in the villages. However, it has been realized that the VO/WOs based on the khel structure do not cover the whole village, where as the RDO form an umbrella organization between villages. Thus an organizational gap arises between the khel and the formal village setting.
- Potential donor organizations may find working with small village organization not feasible, preferring an amalgamation at the village level. This problem can partially be addressed through working with RDOs or a short term arrangement through the formation of special function or special interest organization that could be dissolved after the work has been completed. Other development programs may keep some alternative in mind if they prefer to work with khel-based organizations like IRDP. Since khel cannot be representative of the whole village, nor can a program cover the whole village, some kind of flexibility in membership criteria could be a viable option to proceed with once the awareness level raises to the extent that over all development of the village take precedence over khel-based or personal development.
- A very cautious approach was followed by IRD in supporting the RDC and RDO. The objective was not to impose external ideas and structures. While establishing and supporting such institutional structures, the community development programs need to provide direct support and influential guidance in order to strengthen these institutions. This does not mean that the programs should impose its ideas, but should be seen as genuine and expert guidance in the context of a partnership. In any partnership, all sides can voice their opinions and reservations and they can challenge the existing system, otherwise it can not be terms as “partnership.”
- If frequent changes in project organization and focus takes place like IRDP, close and frequent backstopping and guidance is a must. If new development organizations are being established, institutional and organizational development specialists are required to support this process and the focus shall also be on human resource development from the beginning.
- Prolonged uncertainties concerning project duration have a negative effect on project planning and implementation. Whenever possible, clear indications should be available so that the project team can plan and implement the activities accordingly.
- A model for community mobilization needs to be applied in a flexible manner, its relevance having to be adapted from community to community. In some communities organization along traditional systems is appropriate, in others not. The communities need to be presented with alternatives as to how they can organise themselves and they need to select the best alternative organizational development form for their needs and requirements. The same holds true for umbrella organizations.
- A concept needs to be developed at the start of the project as to how the approach can and will be replicated. Replication has to be within the framework of what is realistically possible (i.e., in terms of available resources). A replication approach within the division and then within the province remain a key indicator as to whether or not the partner organizations are willing and capable of replicating the approach. This process cannot be the task of external donor organizations.