Field observations have led many people to believe that beneficiary participation in decision making can contribute greatly to the success of development projects. When people influence or control the decisions that affect them, they have a greater stake in the outcome and will work harder to ensure success. But the evidence supporting this reasoning is qualitative so that many practictioners remain skeptical. Three questions need to be addressed: to what degree does participation contribute to project effectiveness? which beneficiary and agency characteristics foster the process? and, if participation does benefit project outcomes, how can it be encouraged through policy and project design? To answer these questions, researchers studied evaluations of 121 completed rural water supply projects in forty-nine developing countries around the world. The results show that beneficiary participation contributes significantly to project effectiveness, even after statistically controlling for the effects of 17 other factors. The basic conclusion of this study is that rural water projects must be fundamentally redesigned in order to reach the one billion rural poor who lack a sustainable water supply. Redesign must encompass a shift from supply-driven planning to demand-responsive, participatory approaches to ensure beneficiary participation, control, and ownership.
This lengthy and detailed document represents a summarised report of the second Internal Evaluation of an ongoing Fourth phase implementation of the above named project in Bangladesh. The objective of this evaluation was both to assess the progress
of the project and to test some new methodological approaches that had been applied in order to further strengthen grassroots participation. The methods utilised were mostly PRA and they were applied at the beneficiary level. The emphasis was laid on the potentials of the participants to evaluate the present situation and outline realistic future options. The document is split into six major chapters which in turn outline the Terms of Reference, a discussion of the principles of PRA and a short introduction to the methods applied. Chapter three presents the executive summary which leads to a more extensive discussion of the findings in Chapter four. The observers comments and recommendations are used to draw some conclusions applicable for the on-going fourth phase implementation and for the planning of a fifth phase. The last chapter includes some appendices of the basic orientation and
results from the evaluation. A bibliography is added at the back.