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Scaling up Participatory Watershed Development in India

Shashi Kolavalli and John Kerr

Development and Change, 2002, vol. 33, issue 2, 213-235

Abstract: ‘Participation’ is widely accepted as a prerequisite to successful watershed development in India, but there is no shared understanding of its meaning, nor of how to make it operational. Meaningful participation, in which communities work collectively, help make decisions and share costs, is limited primarily to projects implemented by non‐governmental organizations (NGOs). Participation in government projects is more superficial because staff lack the skills and incentive to engage in meaningful participation. Strategies to scale up meaningful participation require a large number of NGOs. However, the number of NGOs with the necessary skills and values is limited, so a realistic strategy must seek to improve the capabilities and incentives of government agencies. Their performance may improve by making them accountable through transparent processes and participatory monitoring and evaluation. NGO‐facilitated access to information for communities can potentially change power relations and initiate political processes that make both community leaders and government agencies more accountable to communities.

Date: 2002
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