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)