Lahore School of Economics

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Participatory Rural Development: Experience in Pakistan

A Presentation on Participatory Rural Development: Experience in Pakistan was held at the Lahore School of Economics on Monday, June 9. Dr. Mahmood Hasan Khan expressed his view on rural development and highlighted the role played by Rural Support Programs (RSPs) being implemented all over the country.

Dr. Khan started his presentation based on the premise that the knowledge of the people in rural areas should not be underestimated. Although they are uneducated, they have great capability to organise and endow themselves with resources which they would not have access to in an uncoordinated state. Organisation enables them to train themselves, develop and augment social capital which is imperative for dispute resolution and minimizing transaction costs. This applies not only at the individual household level but also at the community , regional and national level.
He further highlighted that the success of a RSP depends on how well synchronised are the program, the participatory organisation and the support organisation. The support organisation acts as a catalyst while the willingness to change and progress must come from the participatory organisation. He also advocated against the use of a blanket approach towards solving problems as what might work in a homogenous and egalitarian society may not be successful in a heterogeneous and hierarchical setup.
He said there are five dimensions to these programs, namely development of financial, human, natural and physical capital as well as services. The support organisation is also responsible for enhancing links between the private sector and the community. The relationship between the support and the community organisations is based on reciprocal obligation which means that the community organisation has to commit its time and/or effort to receive any help from the former. The sustainability of this relationship depends on its institutional framework which clearly delineates the sanctions and the rewards for commitment.
The success of the model implemented by the AKRSP was much lauded as only a concerted effort at the community level can lead to empowerment and development. It was further emphasised that individual households lack the social and economic resources to change their living conditions and acquire greater opportunities. The poor are well aware of their needs and are willing to invest their resources into services that benefit them.


posted by S A J Shirazi @ 6/10/2008 01:39:00 PM,

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