Projects may be more successful if they are participatory in design and implementation.
A review of thirty completed World Bank projects from the 1970s found an average rate of return of 18% for projects that were judged culturally appropriate but only 9% for projects that did not include mechanisms for social and cultural adaptation. A more detailed study of fifty-two USAID projects similarly found a strong correlation between participation and project success, especially when participation took place through organizations created and managed by the beneficiaries themselves. Haiti's top-down afforestation programme did not meet its tree-planting targets. Then in 1981, NGOs helped provide trees that were selected by farm households. Instead of 3 million trees on 6,000 family farms originally planned, 20 million seedlings were planted on the farms of 75,000 families who voluntarily joined the programme. In the Philippines the National Irrigation Authority (NIA) used early involvement of community groups in planning construction and in finding ways to avoid the silting of channels and drains. This resulted in better maintenance of irrigation works and higher agricultural yields. A combination of community collection and centralized disposal has allowed Jakarta to achieve an 80% waste collection rate.
The Encyclopedia of World Problems and Human Potential is a collaboration between UIA and Mankind 2000, started in 1972. It is the result of an ambitious effort to collect and present information on the problems with which humanity is confronted, as well as the challenges such problems pose to concept formation, values and development strategies. Problems included are those identified in international periodicals but especially in the documents of some 60,000 international non-profit organizations, profiled in the Yearbook of International Organizations.
The Encyclopedia includes problems which such groups choose to perceive and act upon, whether or not their existence is denied by others claiming greater expertise. Indeed such claims and counter-claims figure in many of the problem descriptions in order to reflect the often paralyzing dynamics of international debate. In the light of the interdependence demonstrated among world problems in every sector, emphasis is placed on the need for approaches which are sufficiently complex to encompass the factions, conflicts and rival worldviews that undermine collective initiative towards a promising future.
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