Undertaking local infrastructure development projects

Implement district public works schemes
Maintaining community infrastructure
Developing community-based construction
Starting community based construction
Assuring community based construction
The cost-effective use of labour and other locally available resources is an important objective in the context of the debt crisis, structural adjustment, growing unemployment, environmental degradation and breakdown of rural and urban infrastructure. Centralized services are expensive and less efficient than small local projects for which the population takes responsibility. Partly because of the continuing rise in rural populations, access to potable water has fallen short of what had been hoped for. More than half the villages in many low-income countries remain unconnected to any all-weather road. Because the beneficiaries are scattered, the cost of distributing rural services is high, and economies of scale in the production and transmission of power and water, for example, are offset by the high cost of serving far-flung communities. Furthermore, extending coverage tends to become increasingly more expensive, since those easiest to reach have already been served.
The ILO advises governments on the planning, design and implementation of cost-effective local programmes for the labour-intensive construction, rehabilitation and maintenance of community infrastructures, notably in rural areas. Some countries have used public works to provide slack-season employment for rural labour.

During the process of planning for infrastructure and services delivery for housing or waste management, it is important to assess how each service can be broken into components that can be undertaken by the public sector or private and community sectors. Such a breakdown should imply moving operations down the scale to those using labour-intensive methods, switching parts of major works to small-scale enterprises (SSEs) and to community contracts. As for roads, the argument is that the choice of technology in road construction comes down to a balance between capital cost and maintenance cost over a notional economic lifetime. In the operation and maintenance of water supplies, drains and sewerage, there is a vast potential for individual or consortia of SSEs and community contracts under the overall control of a major contractor.

Misallocation of resources, for example in the provision of residential water supply, results from central governments (and external funding agencies) taking too great a role in deciding what to install and how to operate it. Projects tend to fail when users have no sense of responsibility for the service. The Thai government dug wells, installed handpumps, and committed itself to maintaining them, only to find that the people continued to use their traditional surface water sources. In Tanzania better access to potable water was provided without support for recurrent costs. The people wanted the new facilities, but the systems rapidly fell into disrepair. Irrigation programmes tend to be biased toward big new projects at the expense of cheaper solutions, such as improving existing systems, developing smaller community-controlled facilities and improving rainfed farming methods.

Type Classification:
C: Cross-sectoral strategies
Related UN Sustainable Development Goals:
GOAL 1: No PovertyGOAL 2: Zero HungerGOAL 3: Good Health and Well-beingGOAL 4: Quality EducationGOAL 5: Gender EqualityGOAL 6: Clean Water and SanitationGOAL 7: Affordable and Clean EnergyGOAL 8: Decent Work and Economic GrowthGOAL 9: Industry, Innovation and InfrastructureGOAL 10: Reduced InequalityGOAL 11: Sustainable Cities and CommunitiesGOAL 12: Responsible Consumption and ProductionGOAL 13: Climate ActionGOAL 14: Life Below WaterGOAL 15: Life on LandGOAL 16: Peace and Justice Strong InstitutionsGOAL 17: Partnerships to achieve the Goal