Methodological and Technological issues in Technology Transfer

Other reports in this collection

4.4.5 What can participation achieve?

In relation to the technology transfer discussion, participation can be seen as essentially the opposite to top-down, external-expert determined approaches, whether at international or national levels. The process is broader than consultation and is usually dependent on capacity-building (see Section 4.5) to be effective.

In many projects participation has taken place during implementation, but more seldom in project formulation, management, control over resources and distribution of benefits. Conversely, large MDBs have only recently made a commitment to supporting participatory approaches and their experience is mostly in the planning stages (World Bank, 1996). Participatory rural appraisal took off in India due to the involvement of senior government staff (Blackburn and Holland, 1998). It has been found to be a crucial tool to engage the 'main protagonists' rather than regarding them as 'targeted beneficiaries' and thus increased success (Malhotra et al., 1998). Frequently, small-scale, community-specific projects aiming at social objectives are a common form of donor assistance to the promotion of participation.

Systematic evaluations of measurement of the costs and benefits of participation are scarce, but generally indicate that the costs, in terms of time and money spent, tend to be relatively higher for participatory projects in the course of their early phases (OECD, 1997). The initial investments in participation, however, tend to pay off in terms of increased efficiency and sustainability, and in saving time in subsequent phases.

Furthermore, it is widely recognised that people and civil society are key players to maintain long-term efforts on anti-corruption programmes (Heiman and Zucker Boswell, 1998; Klitgaard, 1998). Public awareness campaigns can focus on the harm done by corruption, the misuse of public money, denied access to public services, and the public duty to complain when public officials act corruptly. Such campaigns can empower civil organisations to monitor, detect and reverse the activities of the public officials in their midst, by drawing on the expertise of accountants, lawyers, academics, non-governmental organisations, the private sector, religious leaders and ordinary citizens (Kindra, 1998).

There are a number of tools and methods which are used within participatory approaches depending on what stage participation is being used and whether poor or powerful stakeholders are being engaged. Table 5.2 summarises the main methods used.

Participation can thus achieve:

Some recent practice with participatory methods has shown a range of benefits in climate relevant technology (see Table 4.3).

Table 4.3 Methods and Tools for Participatory Development (Source: World Bank, 1996)

Appreciation- Influence-Control (AIC).
AIC is a work-shop based technique that encourages stakeholders to consider the social, political, and cultural f actors along with technical and economic aspects that influence a given project or policy.

Objectives-oriented project planning (ZOPP).
The main purpose of ZOPP is to undertake participatory, objectives-oriented- planning that spans the life of the project or policy work, including implementation and monitoring, while building stakeholder team commitment and capacity with a series of workshops.

Team-Up builds on ZOPP but emphasises team building, it uses a computer software package (PC/Team-UP) . It enables teams to undertake participatory objectives-oriented planning and action while fostering a "learning-by-doing " atmosphere.

  • Stakeholders establish working relationships
  • Promotes ownership
  • Stakeholders establish rules of the game
  • Support may be needed for non-experienced participants

Participatory Rural Appraisal (PRA).
PRA is a label given to a growing family of participatory approaches and methods that emphasis local knowledge and enable local people to do their own appraisal, analysis, and planning. PRA uses group animation and exercises to facilitate information sharing, analysis and action among stakeholders.

SARAR promotes five attributes: self-esteem, associative strengths, resourcefulness, action planning and responsibility. Its purpose is to (a) provide a multisectoral, multi-level approach to team building through training (b) encourage participants to learn from local experience rather than from external experts and (c) empower people at the community and agency levels to initiate action.

  • Demystifies research and planning processes by drawing on everyday experience.
  • Participants feel empowered by their participation.
  • Local communities have to be provided with decision-making authority in the project and/ or involvement in project management.

Beneficiary Assessment (BA).
BA is a systematic investigation of the perceptions of the poor and hard to reach beneficiaries, thereby highlighting constraints to beneficiary participation and (b) obtain feedback on development interventions.

  • Field based needing time for regular consultation and interactions.

Social Assessment (SA).
SA is the systematic assessment of the social processes and factors that affect development impacts and results. Objectives of SA are to (a) identify key stakeholders and establish the appropriate framework for their participation; (b) ensure that project objectives and incentives for change are appropriate and acceptable to beneficiaries, (c) assess social impacts and risks; and (d) minimise or mitigate adverse impacts.

Gender Analysis (GA).
GA focuses on understanding and documenting the differences in gender roles, activities, needs and opportunities in a given context.

  • Provides a process for building information from local communities into plans and plans into action.
  • Need focused data analysis and needs experienced local consultants.

Problems Arising with Participation
There are a number of problems that arise with participation:

Other reports in this collection