Instutionalising participation for sustainable livelihoods (IPSL): programme model and lessons learnt 1987-2000
Oxfam's interaction with Mulanje District in Malawi began in 1987/8 with an action research project into poverty in the district. This document provides a complete account of the evolution of the Oxfam Mulanje programme to date. It is based on an analysis of all the project documentation together with in-depth interviews with programme staff, extension workers, communities and other stakeholders. Over the years, a successful model - Institutionalising Participation for Sustainable Livelihoods (IPSL) - for working with institutions at the district level to promote sustainable and replicable development has been developed. This document draws out important learning points, and describes the IPSL model. It provides the background to the programme, pre-1990, both in terms of Mulanje district generally and Oxfam's involvement specifically. It then goes on to look at the first phase of the programme in the early 1990s, where training was provided to government extension staff and other key district figures in participatory approaches to development. The current programme post-1997 is then explored in detail both in terms of its structure and process. It is characterised by partnerships with government extension staff and other institutions, turning over ownership of the programme to them, as well as enabling communities to identify and mobilise to solve their problems, using principles of participatory development for sustainable livelihoods. The focus is on drawing out the lessons learned. Finally, conclusions are drawn on the overall themes and practices that have run through the programme and the overall nature of the Oxfam IPSL model in Mulanje.
This paper draws on experience from Uganda. Uganda is committed to decentralisation. This commitment is transforming the way services are planned and financed, and new associations between local government, NGOs and private sector agencies are being created. Much attention has been focussed on the adoption of various techniques - such as participatory rural appraisal - through which direct and intensive forms of participation can be encouraged in decentralised planning. This trend is critically examined and potential unintended consequences are highlighted. A broader concept of accountability is outlined to illustrate a more inclusive approach to planning and allocation for more equity and sustainability in rural services.