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Regional development Projects

Regional Community Projects

Regional development aims at more decentralisation and participation

IntroductionSince a few years more people live in cities than in rural regions. This urbanisation is of increasing concern to many governments as it puts a strain on water-supply, air quality and the environment in the urban sector and makes rural areas increasingly less attractive economically. That is why many support the development of the regions. Regional Development is a broad concept; its aim is to reduce regional disparities and to increase economic activities in the regions. Formerly, one tried to achieve this by means of large-scale infrastructure development, by attracting inward investment and by subsidized agricultural production. This approach failed in using the differences between regions and even resulted in under-used economic potential and weakened social cohesion. At present regional development has the following features: A wider range of factors that affect the performance of local firms; more focus on endogenous assets; an emphasis on opportunity; a collective/negotiated governance approach involving national, regional and local government plus other stakeholders, with a central government taking a less dominant role. An important component is community development which aspires to empower individuals and groups of people by providing them with the skills they need to effect change in their own communities.This example of a decision structure finds it origin in Georgia, where regional development is high on the political agenda. In 2009, the government established a special "Ministry of Regional Development and Infrastructure" that soon became an important agency in terms of budget expenditures. Part of that budget is to finance the village support program of the Ministry. It aims at the primary problem-solving of the village at local level, at citizen involvement in the realization of self-government, at a good relationship between the population and self-governing bodies, at a strong self-governing independence and at a strong elected body in the local administration

Intensity of useImpactSustainabilityPreferenceParticipation

A project that is used most often during a year. The more intensely used projects are preferred above those which are used only part of the year. For instance, in the case of water supply, the investment in the infrastructure will be used on-goingly all 12 months of the year, but in the case of irrigation, this only will be during the planting seasonA project where most people will benefit from it directly. In the case of water supply for instance, the investment will be of use for a larger section of the population, more than that is the case of an investment in irrigation.A project in which the expected annual revenues cover the Operation and Maintenance (O&M) costs. The higher the coverage, the better the financial sustainability of a project is.A project for which most households indicate their preference. If 60 percent prefer water supply and 40 percent irrigation, then water supply would be 1.5 times more preferable than irrigation.A Project in which the beneficiaries share most of the costs. That share can be expressed as contributions in both kind and cash. A participatory share is expressed as the value of such contribution being part of the total value of investment costs.

These five Goals together make a decission structure as shown here. This is the 'Head part of a choice.

All the data are entered in an Excel workbook. This workbook contains three groups of sheets: One with the data on the regional development projects. In the second group of sheets weighting is possible to put a weight on the five objectives. The third group is the final sheet showing the ranking of the regional development projects. The contents of the excel workbook sheets is shown in the PDF file here on the left. The last pages of the PDF file show examples on how the changing in weights has an effect on the priority ranking of the fields to be demined. To open this PDF file, click on the button at the left. A click on the "Movie ON" buton shows in a movie the Exel sheets and the effects of weighing. The Excel file also can be obtained. A click on the button opens a secured "PayPal site" where after having paid €10 for the file with Paypal or a credit card, it will be possible in a "Click2Pay site" to download the file.In ConclusionEven though the data shown are used for this example and are not real but fictitious, they demonstrate that the process of selecting regional development projects in a participatory manner can be done transparently. Moreover the data required are easy to collect and to understand, their accuracy and reliability not difficult to check and covering most of the regional development aspects that are important. When there are cases in which relatively more weight will be given to one or more of the five goals then this can be explained. It also shows that, to a larger or lesser extent, all goals are taken into account.This example is of a short list of projects at a village level. It would not be much more effort to accumulate all the village lists at Province level and at National level and to achieve a ranking using their specific settings of goal priorities. This will enable a ranking based on higher level priorities and the eventual tapping of other financing sources for some of the projects. In which case the MS Excel formulas only need to be adjusted and, as they are quite easy to understand, there will be a sufficient number of people available who are familiar with Excel and who can adjust them as necessary. Double checking is therefore feasible which reduces the chance of giving people the impression that they are being manipulated - which might arise if a black-box method of a special software packet is being used.

In 2010, many of the project financed by the Ministry and donors combined community development activities and the granting of small regional development projects. These projects varied from the construction/rehabilitation of local infrastructure facilities - e.g. bridges, villages road, water supply system and irrigation canals to public gathering places, sports grounds, village clubs, cultural centres, bus-stops and graveyard fences. Even though this regional development projects in general were positively appreciated, an often overheard observation was that many of the decisions on what project to finance with the available project resources was to a large extend top-down influenced.

The decision structureRegional development is a complex process that is covering a wide range of subjects like participation, economic growth, sustainability, bottom-up planning, emancipation, local empowerment. In this example of a decision structure it is possible to address these subjects. It offers the possibility of ranking alternative projects in a transparent manner, reducing the chance that they meet the needs of only a few by assessing how they are able to answer the following five goals:

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