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Challenging the Professions: Frontiers for Rural Development

By: R Chambers

143 pages, Figs, tabs

Practical Action Publishing

Paperback | Jan 1993 | #30006 | ISBN: 1853391948
Availability: Usually dispatched within 6 days Details
NHBS Price: £12.95 $16/€15 approx
Hardback | Jan 1999 | #56468 | ISBN: 1853392081
Out of Print Details

About this book

Questions the dominant approaches of professionals concerned with rural development, and argues that new frontiers can be opened up by encouraging diversity, decentralising, and putting people - especially poor people - first.


Part 1 Normal professionalism, new paradigms and development: the setting; development professions and paradigms; normal professionalism; conservatism; defences; weaknesses; polar paradigms - first and last; the new development paradigm. Part 2 Managing rural development - procedure, principles and choices: principles, modes of thought - empirical not perfectionist, systems thinking, administrative capacity as a scarce resource, optimizing, not maximizing, optimal ignorance, opportunity-versus problem-orientation, sophistication in simplicity; precepts in procedural design - introduce joint programming and joint target-setting, make meetings few and functional, make reports short and functional, subsume or abolish old procedures, start with a pilot experimental approach, involve participating staff in discussion procedures; choices. Part 3 Project selection for poverty-focused rural development - simple is optimal: rural poverty - problems and opportunities; problems in project selection - the needs of donors, the big project trap, project appraisal in practice, complexity, dependence and delay, the neglect of administrative capacity; solutions - simple is optimal - decentralization; simple procedures - decision matrices, poverty group ranking, checklists, listing costs and benefits, unit costs and cost-effectiveness; life-style, learning and judgement. Part 4 Health, agriculture, and rural poverty - why seasons matters: the argument - professional and personal biases, biases of access and contact, dry season bias, statistical biases; practical implications - research, health services, rural planning and action; postscript. Part 5 Farmer-first - a practical paradigm for the Third Agriculture: the great challenge of the 1990s; normal professionalism, transfer-of-technology and the third agriculture; farmer first - the complementary paradigm - analysis, search, choice, experimentation, evaluation and extension; challenges for the future - inventiveness, parsimony, spread, embedding. Part 6 Normal professionalism and the early project process - problems and solutions: definitions and scope; normal professionalism; professions and the early project process; bureaucratic and political pressures; project process pathology - irreversibility of commitment, the anti-poor bias in methodology, the "home economics" of cost-benefit analysis, additive procedures; large projects - prevention often better than cure; the new paradigm and the new professionalism; practical implications - calibre, commitment and continuity of field staff, restraint in funding, rapid appraisal; learning projects. (Part contents)

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