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Participation of Villagers in Governing Rural Development


Participation of Villagers in Governing Rural Development International Symposium on Community Governance Practices 4th- 06th July 2013 Upali Pannilage , Senior ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Participation of Villagers in Governing Rural Development

Participation of Villagers in Governing Rural
International Symposium on Community Governance
Practices 4th- 06th July 2013
  • Upali Pannilage , Senior Lecturer, Department of
    Sociology, University of Ruhuna

  • This paper is based on a study conducted about
    systems and mechanisms for villagers
    participation in the process of making and
    implementing decisions on rural development in
    Sri Lanka.
  • The research problem of the study was ..the lack
    of peoples participation in governing rural
    development interventions.
  • Key research questions were
  • What are the factors to ensure villagers
    participation in governing rural development?
  • Whether there is any intervention exist in Sri
    Lanka for village people to participate in
    governing rural development
  • How to get maximum participation of villagers in
    rural development?

  • Historical governing systems of the Sri Lankan
    society goes back to thousands of years
  • These systems facilitated proper functioning of
    the management of available resources and
    addressing the needs of people in particular
  • Those self-governing systems were distracted
    during the British colonial period
  • The peoples self-governing systems were not
    restored even after the independence

  • Since independence, the political power of the
    country has remained in the hands of few
    mainstream political parties and decision-making
    processes in the executive arms of government and
    administrative systems have remained very much
    politically motivated.
  • Village people were not getting opportunities to
    provide considerable inputs either on making or
    implementing decisions with regards to the
    development( except casting of votes)
  • Top-down development approach was implemented and
    it failed to ensure active contribution of the
  • As a result, participation of villagers in
    decision-making processes of rural development
    interventions is largely limited

Objectives of the study
  • The overall objective of this study was to
  • Examine the systems and mechanisms for achieving
    greater level of community governance in rural
  • Research had two specific objectives
  • To review the community governance interventions
    that have been implemented in Sri Lanka in order
    to ensure participation of villagers in governing
  • To study the extent and ways of villagers
    participation in governing rural development in a
    selected development intervention.

  • The study used qualitative research methods
  • As the first step, a literature review was
    conducted in order to understand the
  • phenomenon on governance and community
  • Concepts and meanings of governance
  • Peoples participation in development
  • Then, the community governance interventions that
    have been implemented in Sri Lanka were reviewed
    and one intervention was randomly selected to
    study in depth

  • Project Community Governance for Rural
    Development project .
  • Location Rasnayakapura Divisional Secretariat
    area of the district of Kurunegala, North western
    Province in Sri Lanka.
  • Goal Needs and rights of the poor reflected in
    local development planning processes.
  • Purpose To strengthen the capacity of civil
    society to participate in local development

Study Sample and Methods of Primary Data Collected
Small Group Discussions Small Group Discussions Focussed group Discussions Focussed group Discussions Key Informants Discussions Key Informants Discussions
Name of the village Number of Respondents Type of Respondents No. Type of Respondents No.
Kanugullawa 06 Samurdhi Development Officers 02 Project staff 02
Ambale 05 Grama Niladharies 03 Government Officers 02
Leekolapitiya 04 NGO staff 02 Resource Person 01
Unagolla 05 Village Leaders 04    
Kadiyawa 04        
Abokkagama 03        
Total 27   11   05
  • The participants for the discussions were
    informed about the objectives of the study
  • Discussions were facilitated informal manner and
    questions were asked openly
  • A simple guideline was used for each of the
    categories of discussions
  • The data analysis and presentation was done
    through qualitative descriptions

Governance and Rural Development
  • Term governance refers to a change in the meaning
    of government, referring to a new process of
    governing. There are many uses of governance for
    example, it refers to the minimal state
    corporate governance and the new public
    management. So governance refers to
    self-organising, inter-organizational networks
    characterized by inter-dependence, resource
    exchange, rules of the game and significant
    autonomy from the state (Rhodes, 2003).

  • The governance literature is slightly confusing
    in its conceptualization of governance.
    Governance has a dual meaning on the one hand it
    refers to the empirical manifestations of state
    adaptation to its external environment as it
    emerges in the late twentieth century. On the
    other hand, governance also denotes a conceptual
    or theoretical representation of coordination of
    social systems and, for the most part, the role
    of the state in that process (Pierre, 2006)

  • The Concept of Governance can also be seen as a
    set of values, policies and instructions through
    which the society manages economic, political as
    well as social process at different levels, on
    the basis of interaction among the government,
    civil society and private sector
  • (Sahni and Medury, 2003)

  • Rural Development is a strategy to enable a
    specific group of people, poor rural women and
    men, to gain for themselves and their children
    more of what they want and need. It involves
    helping the poorest among those who seek a
    livelihood in the rural areas to demand and
    control more of benefits of development(Chambers,

  • Accordingly,
  • Rural development emphasizes what the poor men
    and women want and need and concentrate on the
    control of benefits of development.
  • Governance is broadly means the process of
    decision-making and the process by which
    decisions are implemented or not implemented
    (Fernando, 2009).
  • So, governance in rural development means process
    of decision making by rural people to address
    their own needs.

History of local governance system in Sri Lanka
  • According to the Mahavamsa the earliest
    settlements in Sri Lanka, dating to the 4th
    century BC, were village based,
  • These villages were used by the Sinhalese Kings
    as a unit of administration,
  • Each village was independently administered.
    Village Councils (Gam Sabhas) administered local
    affairs, addressed people's grievances and
    settled minor disputes. The village based
    administration continued for centuries in one
    form or the other.

History of local governance system in Sri Lanka
  • During the period of colonial government from
    1815 onwards, government from the center covering
    the whole island was established through Chief
    and Minor Headmen, with the Government Agents as
    the apex of the system in the Provinces
  • 1928, Donoughmore Commission made the first
    significant study of the problem of
  • The Commission made certain recommendations on
    decentralization in order to facilitate its
    consideration under the new constitution itself.

History of local governance system in Sri Lanka
  • Tracing briefly the history of the evolution of
    local government in the country, it can be said
    that local government system existed in Sri Lanka
    in one form or another since the time of ancient
    Kings. However, present form of local government
    structure introduced during the colonial rule of
    British with the establishment of Colombo and
    Kandy Municipal Councils by Ordinance No.17 of
    1865. .

  • . Since then there had been several changes and
    improvements in the form structure and functions
    of Local Authorities. Establishment of Village
    Committees in 1871, Sanitary Board in 1892, and
    Town Councils in 1946 can be considered as
    important milestones during this period. At the
    time of independence in 1948, systems of Local
    Authorities in operation were Municipal Councils,
    Town Councils, and Village Committees (Dainis,

History of local governance system in Sri Lanka
  • Under the District Development Councils Act No.
    35 of 1980 District Development Councils (DDCs)
    were establishedAfter the district development
    councils were elected, 83 Town Councils (TCs) and
    549 Village Councils (VCs) that were in existence
    were abolished and their functions were
    transferred to the DDCs. Abolition of TCs and VCs
    which functioned as democratic and participatory
    form of local governance over 100 years created a
    huge vacuum in the democratic system of
    governance (Ranasinghe, 2001).

History of local governance system in Sri Lanka
  • At present there are three types of local
    authorities in Sri Lanka
  • Municipal Councils
  • Urban Councils
  • Pradeshiya Sabhas ( Village level authorities)
  • They are responsible for providing a variety of
    local public services including roads,
    sanitation, drains, housing, libraries, public
    parks and recreational facilities.
  • As of January 2011 there were 335 local
    authorities (23 municipal councils, 41 urban
    councils and 271 Pradeshiya Sabhas)

Non-governmental interventions on community
governance in Sri Lanka
  • Participatory Integrated Area Development
    Strategy (PIADS)
  • Programme implemented by National Fisheries
    Solidarity Organisation (NAFSO) in partnership
    with DS of Karuwalagaswewa of Puttalam district
    of North Western Province.
  • The programme has been based on experiences
    gained through the implementation of
    Participatory Integrated Area Development
    Strategy in the Municipality of Irosin in
    Sorsogon province in Philippines.

Non-governmental interventions.
  • Local efforts for Empowerment and Development
  • This project is based on an understanding of the
    importance and necessity of community
    participation in their development .
  • The significant feature of this approach is the
    space provided for rural communities to engage in
    determining their own development priorities, to
    workout solutions and the implementation of same.
  • The LEaD project played the role of facilitator,
    making community groups work together to address
    their development needs.
  • The project extends support for the community
    groups in building their capacities in areas
    crucial to sustaining their development efforts.
  • This project has been implemented by Care
    international( Sri Lanka)

Non-governmental interventions.
  • Building Bridges Community Governance for Rural
  • This project has been implemented by Practical
    Action in Rasnayakapura DS of the Kurunegala
    district in the North Western province in Sri
  • A key feature of this was the evolution of an
    institutional framework where by the
    participation of local communities is actively
  • Engagement of local communities with counterpart
    service providing organizations in
    decision-making processes (in relation to needs
    identification, planning, resource allocation,
    project implementation and monitoring and
    evaluation) was established.

Non-governmental interventions.
  • Community Governance in Infrastructure Services
  • The overall objective of this project is to
    strengthen the capacities of governance systems
    in South Asia, to Non-State actors including
    marginalized and vulnerable communities to
    actively involved in decision making processes on
    infrastructure and services
  • The project operates at ground level in Ampara,
    Colombo, Galle and Kurunegala districts in Sri
    Lanka, and Nayagarh, Puri and Khorda districts in
    the state of Orissa in India.
  • Project mobilizes the target communities to
    involve in participatory decision making process
    to improve their access to energy, water
    sanitation, transport and waste management
  • Implemented by Practical Action and project

Non-governmental interventions.
  • Transparent Accountable Local Governance (TALG)
  • The Asia Foundation implemented this Programme
    from January 2005 - September 2007 in partnership
    with the Ministry of Local Government and
    Provincial Councils and the Sri Lanka Institute
    of Local Governance
  • The programme has helped 35 local authorities
    make key political institutions more responsive
    to citizen input, improve the delivery of
    services to citizens, provide post-tsunami
    emergency recovery assistance, and increase the
    rule of law to protect and empower vulnerable

The Study Location
  • The Rasnayakapura DS division is located in the
    Kurunegala district of North Western Province
  • The land area of 132 sq kms consists of 28 Grama
    Niladharies Divisions (GNs) it is belongs to
    the Nikaweratiya Pradeshiya Sabha ( Local
    Government Authority).
  • Number of families of the division was 6245 and
    the population as at year 2001 was 18,763.
  • The area is in the dry zone of Sri Lanka with the
    average temperature around 27-30 C and the annual
    rain fall of 1200mm

The Study Location
  • The primary economic activity is agriculture
    which is predominantly irrigated paddy
  • Apart of Paddy the other main livelihood options
    in the study area are daily waged labour.
  • The majority of the community in Rasnayakapura DS
    area is Sinhalese Buddhist ( 85). A relatively
    small percentage of Muslim (9) and Tamil (1)
    families are also live in the area.

Villagers participation in the planning process
of rural development
  • As per the findings of the study, the community
    governance for rural development project which
    was selected to gather empirical data for this
    study has used an extensive planning process.
  • As per the discussions held with the villagers,
    it was revealed that the participation of
    villagers in the process of interventions can be
    understand when reviewing the participation of
    village people in the participatory planning
    process of the development intervention.

participation in the planning.
  • The planning process has been conducted under six
  • Community awareness at Grama Niladari division
  • Problem identification at Grama Niladari division
  • Participatory planning process at cluster level (
    six clusters)
  • Prioritization and analyzing of problems at
    cluster level
  • Preparing participatory plans at cluster level
  • Present and discuss the plans at village level

  • Let us joint for the development of our
    village. (Ape game sanwardanaya sadaha
  • It was found that the participation of
    communities at those awareness programmes at the
    initial stage around 20-25 of a village
    population in average and most of them were
  • Participatory need assessment -An average around
    40-50 of villagers have been participated in
    the need identification exercises .

  • 28 GN divisions have been clustered in to six
    clusters in order to ease the participatory
    planning process
  • 20 community representatives have been
    participated from each GN divisions in the
    cluster level participatory planning process
    which have been done through Participatory Rural

  • The cluster level plans once drafted has been
    presented and discussed at GN level, large
    gatherings of community participation have been
    obtained for these discussions( 60)
  • The participatory plans have been integrated in
    to one DS division plan in the Rasnayakapura
    divisional secretariat. This was the final stage
    of participatory planning process adopted by the
    community governance for rural development

Villagers participation in implementing and
managing rural development interventions
  • The implementation process of the participatory
    plans has been done using various strategies such
  • Establishment of Praja Sabhas (Community
    Councils). 28 Praja Sabhas has been established
    in each of the GN areas and village level
    activities have been directly implemented by
    those Praja Sabhas.
  • Partnerships with civil society organisations,
    government and private sector institutions
  • Stakeholder analysis and their involvement

Villagers participation in implementing
  • 3240 out of 6049 families (53.5) in the
    Rasnayakapura DS division were able to solve
    their accessibility problems which had long been
    neglected by the relevant authorities .Meanwhile
    20.4 of families in the area were able to
    improve their livelihoods through the assistance
    of community governance for rural development
    project and the involvement of service providing
  • (Practical Action, 2007).

Villagers participation in implementing
Stakeholders contribution in rural
development interventions
Activity area Contribution in SLRs. Contribution in SLRs. Contribution in SLRs. Contribution in SLRs. Contribution in SLRs. Total
Activity area PS PC DS NGOs Community Total
Transport infrastructure 772,632   657,680 91,950 1,963,920 3,486,182
Irrigation and agriculture   339,000 23,682 29,575 580,679 972,936
Supply of drinking water   2,547,895 878,500   2,150,513 5,576,908
Common amenities   100,000 149,015 402,510 1,848,763 2,500,288
Livelihood development     269,880 45,600 334,996 650,476
Education facilities   112,945 50,000 691,370 495,430 1,349,745
Supply of electricity         74,000 74,000
Housing         125,000 125,000
Total 772,632   3,099,840(21)   2,028,757(13)   1,261,005   7,573,301(51)   14,735,535  
Source Final evaluation of the community
governance for rural development project,
Practical Action, Colombo
Villagers participation in implementing..
  • It was revealed from this study that a positive
    changes has taken place in the way of thinking
    and acting the community in terms of satisfying
    their priority needs
  • During the discussions with community
    representatives and village leaders, it was
    mentioned that the local government authority and
    the bureaucratic institutions should consult the
    community opinion when allocating resources to
    the development projects in the area
  • Also they have begun to think that the resources
    in the area are belongs to the community and thus
    the right to make use of those resources should
    be with the concerned community groups
  • This understanding can be analysed as a result of
    community empowerment for governing the rural
    development interventions.

  • As per the findings of this study it can be
    concluded that villagers participation in the
    governing process of rural development
    interventions is possible when proper mechanisms
    and systems are facilitated for them to
  • The present bureaucratic governance mechanisms at
    administrative and local authority levels are far
    behind in term of ensuring participation of local
    communities in the planning, implementing and
    monitoring of rural development interventions.
  • The existing government systems could work
    closely with local communities when there is an
    external intervention to facilitate it.

  • There is a need for new strategies to introduce
    in order to increase the villagers participation
    in the decision making process of implementing
    and managing rural development interventions in
    order to achieve the governance in rural
  • A need for a bottom-up development approach for
    the governing rural development was revealed from
    this study.

  • Thank you.