IFAD shares its Community-Driven Development (CDD) Knowledge

What is CDD?

Today, we began a two-day knowledge fair on Community-Driven Development (CDD).

CDD recognizes that poor rural people are prime actors in the development process. In CDD, control of decisions and resources rests with community groups, who may often work in partnership with organizations and service providers, including elected local governments, the private sector, NGOs, and government agencies.

Experience has shown that, if rural poor people have access to information and knowledge, they can effectively provide services that meet the needs of their communities.

IFAD since mid-1990s recognized the potential of CDD. The fund and its partners have implemented various approaches to CDD in Western and Central Africa (WCA) which are consistent with the Fund’s mandate. In collaboration with its partners, (governments, development partners, civil society organizations, community organizations, the private sector and farmer organizations), IFAD supported the design and implementation of several projects in the Region. Among these projects are:

- Cape Verde Rural Poverty Alleviation Programme (PLPR) – builds strong partnership arrangements at the regional level (Regional Partners Commissions - CRPs) between central government, municipalities, NGOs and the private sector.
- Mali Sahelian Areas Development Fund Programme (FODESA) - empowers farmer organizations and entrusts them with project management responsibilities.
- Mauritania Oasis Sustainable Development Programme (PDDO) - supports oasis development associations to define oasis development plans.
- Ghana Northern Region Poverty-Reduction Programme (NORPREP) bridges the gap in decision-making processes between the village and the district levels.

IFAD’s Western and Central Africa Division began to support CDD projects about seven years ago. The following initiatives, events and studies have been implemented:
- In 2004, review of five IFAD-supported CDD projects in Cape Verde, Ghana, Mali, Mauritania and Senegal.
- Following the review, IFAD organized a two-day workshop to develop a better understanding of CDD approaches based on experience to date, and to develop a common vision and to identify areas for partnership, innovation and research, and to scale up best practices to increase the impact of CDD projects on rural poverty reduction.
- In 2005, IFAD was asked by a group of donor partners including the Agence Française de Développement (AFD), the African Development Bank (AfDB), the European Union (EU), the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the UN Capital Development Fund (UNCDF) and the World Bank to set up a platform for learning and sharing knowledge on CDD.
- March 2006 workshop in Ghana to enhance learning and information exchange on CDD.

CDD Knowledge Fair

Three years down the road, we are organizing a knowledge fair on CDD. Knowledge fairs, with their dynamic and interactive people-to-people and marketplace approach, can readily stimulate new ideas, effectively capture good practices and make the exchange of knowledge more engaging. The Knowledge Fair organized in Rome from 15-16 July 2009 is part of the West and Central region-wide meetings organised for taking stock on community driven development and a continuation of the Knowledge Share Fair organized in January 2009 by the Rome-based UN agencies.

Studies have also shown that CDD can increase the effectiveness, efficiency, and sustainability of projects or programmes. This has led to an increasing interest in how to scale-up CDD. Through examining the conditions and processes in the last years, we hope to derive widely applicable principles and lessons as to how best to stimulate, facilitate, and support the scaling-up of CDD in different contexts–as well as what not to do.

The objectives of the knowledge fair on CDD are to:
- take stock of what has been achieved in CDD, mostly in WCA;
- discuss today’s challenges as well as the opportunities for CDD to be an effective instrument for fostering social and economic local development, particularly in the context of increased decentralisation and rapidly transforming rural and agricultural sectors; and,
- identify a set of options which would guide future policies and investments in agricultural and rural development in the WCA region.

Results expected from the workshop are the following:
- Sharing knowledge on CDD from the different projects and programmes in the WCA region;
- The launching of the publication Decision Tools for CDD and Guidance Notes for institutional analysis in rural development programmes
- Hearing from governments, farmer organizations, private sector and development partners and learning about their point of view on CDD and future prospects.
- Discussing future strategic investment options in terms of fostering rural local development.

The “Good Practice” Marketplace

To stimulate interaction among participants and support knowledge sharing, we will use speed-geeking to share our CDD experience. The fair operates as an interactive marketplace. Like any trade fair or marketplace, the Knowledge Fair had dedicated spaces to exhibit different types of knowledge and resources. The fair will feature “good practices” from West and Central Africa region, as well as a selection from other parts of the world such as Colombia and Vietnam.

For this particular workshop, what helped was:

- To have Administration Services dealing with the entire logistics at -1 level
- To have Nancy White, Michael Riggs from FAO and the KMCop, particularly Willem and Roxy to help with facilitation
- to have participants as well IFAD staff committed and willing to share lessons and experiences.

Look for my blogpost after the event to hear my opinion and experience.

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