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Community Capacity and Governance – New Approaches to Development and Evaluation

by Banyai, Cindy Lyn, PhD


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a direct and natural mode for effective economic policy creation to alleviate poverty and foster
sustainable development (Cling, Razafindrakoto, & Roubaud, 2002; Dokecki, 1983; Kretzman &
McKnight, 1993; Sachs, 2005).

Community-driven economics are crucial for successful human development and poverty
alleviation. If the communities that are most afflicted by poverty do not insert themselves in the
global market, then their voice will never be heard and their position rarely considered (Collier,
2007). Furthermore, engaging in market activities and asserting the rights of the community is
more cost effective and sustainable than continually relying on donors and various other types of
assistance.

Refocusing economics on the community also has the benefit of preserving social life and
human relations (Friedmann, 1992, p. 4; Miller, 1992, p. 35; Millar & Kirkpatrick, 2005, p. 20).
Hypermobility of capital leads to community issues such as: deindustrialization, lack of
investment, declining government funds, increasing conflicts, and the decline of institutions
(Miller, 1992, p. 36). Community-driven economics recognizes that markets do not exist outside
of social connections (Granovetter, 2002, p. 80), but rather are intrinsically related to them and a
holistic approach to economic development and engagement is most productive.

The focus of economic policy should be based on local assets, resources, and production
(Kretzman & McKnight, 1993, p. 8), thereby allowing communities to take ownership of policy
by utilizing the resources at their disposal, and fostering sustainability because there is not an
over-reliance on external resource owners. Furthermore, asset-based policy assessment, creation,
and management reduces undue stress that accompanies the multivariate nature of “problemsolving”
(Kretzman & McKnight, 1993; Miyoshi & Stenning, 2008) and allows pride to build
within a community (community capacity) by cultivating small scale successes and ownership
over local talents and assets.

Another departure from traditional economics that community-driven economics proposes is
the abandonment of specialization. This does not mean that communities should not utilize their
dominant resources or that they should strive to be totally self-sustaining units. What is being
advocated is economic diversification at the local level to avoid over reliance on dominant
products, particularly when they are bound for export. This is because economies dependent on
single or small numbers of products experience high volatility (Sachs, 2005, p. 68), which is not
conducive for long term economic development and quality of life.

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This is not to say that each community

should attempt to be an “island” totally isolated from surrounding communities and the world at large.
Building networks is an important aspect of economic development in order to more easily obtain resources

not within the community (Chaskin et al., 2002; Lin, Cook, & Burt, 2001). It also helps cultivate trade
partnerships both locally and internationally. Global movements, such as the OVOP movement that
promote local initiative, innovation, and empowerment in conjunction with local and international links for
trade and information exchange provide a good model for community-driven economics.

The OVOP Movement began in rural Oita, Japan nearly 40 years ago. The concept was originally pioneered
by a few communities and then further adopted by the prefectural government and recently supported for

international development initiatives by the Japanese government’s international aid agency. The basic
concept of OVOP is that through the coalescing of community participation, the utilization of local resources,

and the activation of networks, a community can be self-sufficient and prosperous, and contribute to global
capitalism while maintaining local values and integrity. Although the OVOP moniker suggests that
communities have one product, the spirit and success of the movement is primarily focused on and attributed
to community capacity and value-adding to multiple local resources for consumption in a variety of markets.

The OVOP movement can be seen in Africa (Malawi, Kenya, Tunisia), Asia (Japan, China,
Mongolia, Cambodia, Thailand, Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia), South America (Chile,
Guatemala), and Eastern Europe (Georgia). Each OVOP project is designed to be specific and
complementary to its locality, thus incorporating the needs of the local community with the
global economy. One of the mantras of the movement is “local yet global” (Hiramatsu, 2006, p.
10).

Ideally, parlaying the concept of community to continually larger scales (including the global
community) will help fortify the networks and modes of communication that are necessary to
connect communities to national and international institutions to ensure development and
equitable prosperity (Sachs, 2005, p. 242; Friedmann, 1992).

Community-driven economics does not focus economic policy solely on financial and capital
endeavors. Rather, a holistic community policy should be formulated that joins economic
initiatives with community capacity building. This is a necessary contingent of communitydriven
economics because economies do not function in a vacuum and are very much related to
the activities and capacities of the people and situation in which the economy functions.

This holistic policy conceptualizes economics in terms of people and the benefits that healthy
economies have on families and the community environment, rather than focusing largely on

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production, marketing, and trade. There is a need for a paradigm shift in gauging the
effectiveness of policy from measuring enterprise outcomes in dollars to measuring its
humanistic outcomes and impacts. Community-driven economics advocates for policies that link
people together and then links them to resources such as in associations, cooperatives, and
microcredit groups. Organizations and enterprises should be linked with projects and
institutions to cultivate human resource development to improve the capacity of individuals,
strengthen networks, and foster innovation. Additionally, public-private partnerships should be
further explored to link business with policy and continue to foster a greater sense of community
and long-term investment in the economic advancement of the community.

The recent economic downtown and problematic international economic institutions have
brought about much discussion on the current state of the international economic system. While
dramatic shifts in the way that economic policy is formulated and executed may not occur
swiftly, change will follow and it is necessary to ponder and explore the avenues which reform
can take. This section demonstrates the necessity of considering not only prosperity, but also
poverty and development whilst crafting economic policy.

4. Chapter Summary

Building from the foundation concepts, this paper adds to the conceptualization of
community and community capacity and adds the new concepts of community leadership and
community-driven economics. With the clarification and introduction of these concepts, better
analytical frameworks and development plans can proceed.

To review, this chapter presented a new conceptualization of community. A community is
defined by its stakeholders, can be used as a unit for analysis and planning, and is understood to
function as a system. Furthermore, although most of this chapter focuses on the local
community, the underlying concept of the nesting international community was also offered so
that the links between the local community and higher levels of community can begin to be
created.

The basic components of community capacity are the Attributes, Agents, and Actions and
can be conceptualized to function through the A-A-A cycle. The attributes have been recast as
SCOR – sense of community, commitment, the ability to set and achieve objectives, and the
ability to recognize and access resources. These modifications of the Chaskin Framework are
easier to understand and more suitable for analysis. This chapter highlighted each “A” in order
to better flesh out the concepts.

In the attributes section, several cases of rural revitalization in Japan were presented. Each
case described their strongest attribute, as well as the various strategies that were undertaken to
improve their community. Many approaches to community capacity building can be seen
through these cases; however, there are some prevalent themes throughout them – the emphasis
on utilizing local assets, formulating and exercising local and external networks, participatory
governance, and bottom-up planning. SCOR facilitates the cycle of community capacity by
providing a foundation through which more sophisticated actions (policy structure) can be
developed.

Agents are the vehicle through which the attributes act to develop the community policy
structure (actions) and this is done through leadership. Community leadership is an outcome of
an advanced policy structure facilitated by community capacity development. The case of
Himeshima, Japan shows the evolution of both leadership and development. Community

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capacity and community leadership were identified as twin cyclical concepts, both of which are
important for community improvement.

Finally, the concept of community-driven economics was introduced. Advocating for people
through community-driven economics is presented here as a mode through which policy can be
refocused to effectively reach undeveloped areas. Community-driven economics involves
crafting a holistic policy at the community level, focusing on local resources, involving all
stakeholders and linking them to one another and to the resources they need. Movements such
as the OVOP movement provide an example for crafting community-based economic policy and
building international trade and knowledge networks, which provides some testament to the
possibilities that widespread community-driven economics holds. While community-driven
economics cannot solve all the ills of the international economic system, it holds some promise
for bringing more people into the global economy and makes strides toward equity and
sustainability.

Some of these concepts were observed and explored in the field through the case of
Pagudpud. More discussion on the conceptual development of community and community
capacity can be found through the analysis of community capacity using the newly crafted A-A-
A framework in Chapter Seven where it was used as an evaluation guide.

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6. Localization and Evaluation

ecentralization is a mainstay in political reform and is now being practiced to
varying degrees in many countries around the world (Peters, 2001, p. 193). With this
decentralized authority better institutes, practices and policy need to be developed at
the local level. The localization of policy structure will make planning and
evaluation at the local level clearer, as well as empower the community.
DThis
chapter looks at localization and evaluation and their relationship to good governance

and improved policy outcomes. This will be done by addressing the following questions:
1. What is localization and why is it important?
2. What can be done to facilitate localization?
3. What are the major issues with evaluation in developing countries?
4. How can these issues with evaluation be addressed?
5. What types of evaluation lead to better governance and benefit communities?
First, localization will be conceptually discussed and expanded. Localization is
complementary to decentralization and governance reforms, but still remains an elusive concept.
The first section of this chapter will clarify the meaning and role of localization.

Then a project of evaluation localization in Nepal will be introduced and examined. The
localization of policy structure is complimentary to various levels of interventions, as it helps to
provide reliable information about the target groups and the rate of change. Evaluation is a tool
to facilitate decentralization and better governance. This can be seen in the aim of the JICA-
Nepal SMES project to reform evaluation to improve governance. Localization of evaluation
will also be examined through the MDG localization project in Jagna, Philippines. The SMES
and MDG projects demonstrate that evaluation is an integral component of governance and a
viable entry point for interventions aimed at improving governance.

Following the discussion on localization, there will be an examination of developing
countries’ evaluation systems. This discussion will identify the main problems with
institutionalizing evaluation, such as the establishment of a culture of evaluation, the
coordination of multiple stakeholders, overall evaluation capacity, and the establishment of
appropriate legal frameworks and structures to support evaluation.

Finally, this chapter will conclude with the presentation of the approaches to evaluation that
will facilitate the institutionalization of evaluation systems and improve governance, particularly
in developing countries.

1. Localization

There is a need for a governance strategy that will contribute to human development and
poverty alleviation (Cling, 2002, p. 43; Sachs, 2005, p. 243). Localization of policy management
to the community level is one such strategy. Through encouraging people to organize and collect
their demands at the local level and strengthening their position against other interests, it is
possible to devolve more authority to the local level and alleviate problems with centralized
governance in developing countries (Grindle, 1990, p. 222).

Furthermore, there is a growing recognition among international donors that development
policies function better if there is ownership of them by the developing country’s administration
(Wood, Kabell, Muwanga, & Sagasti, 2008, p. xi). However, this call can be expanded even
further to include ownership of development policy by the local people and the community in

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which it is being implemented (Sachs, 2005, p. 243). Some organizations, such as DHAN,
localize their projects for strategic reasons and to gain benefits from community empowerment
(Sastry & Srinivasan, 2007, p. 384).

The nesting concept of community (see Chapter Five) is consistent with localization.
Localization takes evaluation and policy structure down to the community level, while
maintaining the relationships and connection between the levels.

Small parts (local communities) of the whole (the national community) need to recognize and
assert their importance in the national policy structure, and the relationship between the various
levels needs to be accentuated in order to establish a sense of community throughout the levels.
By cultivating the sense of community and realizing the importance and relevance of the
contribution at each level of a policy structure the flow of information between the levels will be
improved; thus fortifying the relationships between them and further recognizing the intrinsic
importance of the various levels of the policy structure.

Localization supports the policies of higher levels of administration, complementing their
efforts (Olowu, 1989, p. 205). There must be strong leadership at the higher levels of
administration to ensure commitment to development policies, as well as the virtues of localized
authority (Erni, 2006, p. 316; Grindle, 1990, p. 222).

Globalization and localization are not competing processes (Voisey & O’Riordan, 2001, p.
41). In fact, globalization is enabled and driven by localization (Ray, 2006, p. 273). Local
identity is a manifestation of the greater interconnectedness that globalization brings (Voisey &
O’Riordan, 2001, p. 41). Localization is an adaptation to globalization; a restatement of identity
and importance among other, often larger and stronger, identities (Voisey & O’Riordan, 2001, p.
41). Bridging the gap between global ambitions and local realities is necessary in order to make
progress in human development, poverty alleviation, and various other global initiatives (Victor,
2006, p. 99).

It should be noted that there is a need for administrative and community capacity at the local
level in order for localization to be successful. If localized authority precedes the
institutionalization of effective policy implementation, it is unlikely that there will be an increase
in the responsiveness of the local administration and community (Grindle, 1990, p. 222). This is
where each country’s PRSP could take a facilitative role. However, most PRSPs are not specific
on the implementation and the level of decentralized governance (Cornwell & Brock, 2005, p.
1053). This indicates that there may be a lack of initiative, or at least a lack of vision, regarding
the importance of localized authority.

Evaluation is an important part of the policy management cycle. Although the importance of
evaluation is increasingly being recognized, it is often still conducted as a check by centralized
authorities on localized authorities. In order for policy to be truly localized, evaluation also
needs to be localized. The next sub-section examines the importance of localizing evaluation
and two cases of how this is being undertaken.

1.1. Localization of evaluation

Evaluation can be an effective tool for the improvement of policy, facilitating program and
project transparency, accountability, and effectiveness. Through localization of evaluation these
desired outcomes become more impacting by empowering those directly involved in a project
with the necessary information to make changes to reach their objectives. Although many

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administrations and organizations are engaged in activities to localize evaluation, a clear concept
of localization of evaluation has yet to be developed.
Evaluation is of the utmost

importance to improve policy structure effectiveness and increase transparency. Evaluation also
plays a crucial role in developing the capacity of relevant parties involved in a policy structure,
as well as to create ownership of such policy structures through a participatory and local process
(Miyoshi & Stenning, 2008). Furthermore, incorporating participatory evaluation methods at the
local level by having local stakeholders as active participants in evaluation, not merely as
disempowered subjects or information-givers (Miyoshi & Stenning, 2008), can make evaluation
even more impacting and effective. This is largely because methods of participatory evaluation
go beyond a mere examination of facts and outcomes related to economic aspects of a
community, but become a process of information sharing in which all stakeholders benefit from
both the results of the evaluation, in future planning and implementation and the process of
evaluation as a capacity building exercise (Miyoshi & Tanaka, 2001). Involving local
stakeholders in the process of evaluation also empowers them through ownership of the process
and information (Fujikake, 2008, p. 2; Vernooy, Qiu, & Jianchu, 2003, p. 24).

Figure 22 is a visual representation of the localization of evaluation with the connection to its beneficial
outcomes. The concept of localization is straightforward, although the processes involved in the localization of

evaluation can often be complex. Localization means to take evaluation processes and procedures down to
the local level and fortify the policy structure through the cycle of policy management, with an emphasis on
evaluation. This is in contrast to the way that evaluation is typically done now, executed by external entities
serving the needs of external donors and agencies (Vernooy et al., 2003, p. 23). Localization of evaluation is

seen as a way to further promote participatory practices and ownership of evaluation down through the
bureaucratic levels of evaluation (Bleiker & Kay 2007, p. 152; Kaufmann et al., 2002, p. II), as well as to

promote accountability, transparency, and responsibility at the local level (Cling et al., 2002b). The
localization of evaluation also ensures that relevant and accurate information is gathered from the local level
and filtered through local perspectives and not lost through the vast scope of national policy directives (High
& Nemes, 2007, p. 106).

The localization of policy structure is complementary to various levels of interventions, as it
helps to provide reliable information about the target groups and the rate of change. Evaluation
is a tool to facilitate decentralization and better governance. This can be seen in the aim of the

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SMES project to reform evaluation to improve governance, demonstrating that evaluation is an
integral component of governance and a viable entry point for interventions aimed at improving
governance.

Evaluation is a useful tool in decentralization because of its knowledge sharing and capacity
building potential. Sometimes, evaluation is seen as a way in which central powers maintain
control of decentralized authorities (Cling et al., 2002b, p. 161). However, if a proactive culture
of evaluation is established through participatory methods at the local level, then the
effectiveness of decentralization will increase, as well as the true decentralization of authority
and better governance at the local level.

The concept of normative institutionalism, where behaviors are determined by the norms and
values within an organization, notes that “creation of positive organizational culture [is] perhaps
the best way to create effective organizations (Peters, 2005, p. 28).” If a community is
considered to be an organization, as is common in many discourses on public administration (see
Fukuyama, 2004; Peters 2005), then it follows that creating a positive culture of evaluation is a
good way to create an effective community in terms of community actions, as well as create
effective evaluations.

The localization of evaluation is important in assessing

and achieving national and international development goals because it provides the basic barometer of
progress on goals and through the promotion of the evaluation cycle, ensures that projects are benefiting
local communities and making their desired impacts in relation to the larger national and international
development goals (Vernooy et al., 2003, p. 23). This becomes apparent through indicator selection. There is
a need for common indicators among the administrative levels to ensure the effectiveness of localization
(Cling et al., 2002b, p. 161). Thus, there needs to be a common philosophy on the indicators, but they must be
chosen to be consistent with the local context.

By incorporating local entities in evaluation, the most relevant and practical indicators can be
selected to assess the delineation of the aggregate development goals. In turn, all of the localized
information regarding aggregate development goals can be better collated and assessed at the
regional and national level. Figure 23 displays the configuration of localization and how
separate levels can be conceptualized in a policy structure. Communities form indicators for
their local policy structure, then combine them to form the district level indicators, then the
district indicators are aggregated to produce provincial indicators and accumulation continues
level by level up through the various levels and policy structures.

In this section the concept of the localization of evaluation is clarified, along with its
relationship with decentralization and development. Two cases of the efforts being made in the
localization of evaluation, the JICA-Nepal Strengthening of Monitoring & Evaluation System

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(SMES) Project and the Localized Monitoring System on the Millennium Development Goals
(LMS) in Jagna, are discussed.

1.1.1. Strengthening the Evaluation System of Nepal

The major issues with the evaluation system in Nepal include a lack of evaluation capacity
(evaluation reporting methods), lapses in the evaluation cycle (use of information in planning), a
lack of a positive culture of evaluation (political ownership of evaluation), low involvement of
stakeholders (both with donors and between ministries), and an inadequate legal framework for
evaluation and appropriate organizational structures to support it (data collection mechanisms,
complicated evaluation forms, and weak organizational structure) (Shrestha, 2009). In an effort
to reform and improve evaluation in Nepal, particularly through the localization of evaluation,
several government agencies in Nepal and JICA are coordinating on a project entitled the
Strengthening of Monitoring & Evaluation System (SMES) Project. These issues are addressed
largely through improvements in evaluation capacity through training and the localization of
evaluation to harmonize and organize the levels of policy structure.

The SMES project is also consistent with the poverty alleviation objectives of the
government of Nepal, especially in terms of its aim for good governance, which is provided
through effective evaluation and the localization of evaluation. The government of Nepal has
crafted a national development plan that outlines its strategy for poverty reduction. Nepal’s key
strategies for poverty alleviation include increasing economic growth, social development,
including previously excluded groups, and good governance. In order to promote good
governance, Nepal has made efforts to strengthen its monitoring and evaluation system, as well
as the process and outputs of decisions-making, including government expenditure and
improving its overall efficiency, reliability, and transparency (Japan International Cooperation
Agency & National Planning Commission Secretariat - The Government of Nepal [JICA &
NPCS] , 2007a, p. 1).

Nepal’s tenth five-year plan (2002-2007) for development includes the adoption of bottomup
planning and devolution. This includes capacity development training, participatory
monitoring, and the development of linkages between the central and local governments,
coordination with various ministries and districts and the verification of evaluation at the
different levels as planned programs (JICA & NPCS, 2007a, p. 9). The inclusion of these
measures in the development plan of Nepal indicates a desire for the localization of evaluation.

The SMES project is a three year project commencing in October 2006 as a project of
technical assistance between Nepal and Japan. The project includes Japanese and local
coordinators, as well as representatives from various government agencies in Nepal including the
Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives, the Ministry of Physical Planning and Works, the
National Planning Commission, the Ministry of Education and Sports, the Ministry of Health and
Population, the Ministry of Finance, the Ministry of Local Development, and the Ministry of
Forests. Most of the participants at the Training of Core Trainers (Tokyo, August 2007) had
several years of experience with evaluation and were involved with the planning and evaluation
sections of their ministry.

The main strategies of the SMES project include:
1. the training of trainers, core trainers, and government officials at various levels in

monitoring and evaluation;

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2. training courses at the central and local government level in policy structure planning,

appraisal, implementation, project management, and monitoring and evaluation;
3. improvements to training manuals and monitoring reporting documents to strengthen the

information management, analysis, communication, and feedback system (JICA &
NPCS, 2007a, p. 2).

The strategies of this project focus on the localization of

evaluation, which can be seen through the training of local government representatives and the contents of
the training of core trainers course, which further emphasize localization with the coordination of evaluation

throughout the levels. These improvements also facilitate evaluation in the project management cycle.

The trainings on evaluation include philosophy, procedures, and methods, as well as opportunities for the
participants to discuss common problems with evaluation. The aim of the project is to establish a consistent,

comprehensive, and functioning evaluation system in Nepal through improved evaluation capacity of the
institutions and individuals involved in evaluation. Figure 4 shows the breakdown of the participants and
trainees involved in the SMES project.

The core group of trainers is trained in Japan then return to Nepal to conduct yearly trainings
of national trainers. Three additional trainings per year are conducted for district and local
government officials in evaluation. The SMES project has the aim of training several cadres of
trainers at all levels of government in Nepal, as well as providing the relevant technical skills for
evaluation (evaluation capacity) as both a tool for improvement and for information sharing.

The core trainers training took place in Tokyo from July-August 2007. This training was
designed for government officials involved with evaluation. This group of trainers is charged
with the task of leading evaluation in their ministry and/or department and becoming core
trainers. The Tokyo training included lectures from experts in the areas of evaluation systems
and procedures, human resource development for M&E, aid coordination, as well as field trips to
view Japanese local administrations in action.

In addition to the lectures and field trips, participants of this training were responsible for
formulating action plans for themselves and their ministries to improve their evaluation system.
The lectures on evaluation emphasized the localization of national policy and the
operationalization of the evaluation system in a local context. A practical and operational
evaluation system that has been localized can be undertaken through the harmonization of end
outcomes throughout the policy structure by adapting the magnitude and indicators, depending
on the level of the policy structure. According to this logic, the end outcomes of the local level
of policy structure can be considered to be the small components of the aggregate end outcomes
of the national policy structure.

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