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Can Bottoms Up Participatory Approaches Bring Better Outcomes in Regional Development? Profesor Dato’ Dr Abdul Rahman Embong Institute of Malaysian & International.

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Presentation on theme: "Can Bottoms Up Participatory Approaches Bring Better Outcomes in Regional Development? Profesor Dato’ Dr Abdul Rahman Embong Institute of Malaysian & International."— Presentation transcript:

1 Can Bottoms Up Participatory Approaches Bring Better Outcomes in Regional Development? Profesor Dato’ Dr Abdul Rahman Embong Institute of Malaysian & International Studies (IKMAS), UKM Cum President, Malaysian Social Science Association Presentation at the Seminar on “Balanced Development in Malaysia: Bringing the Poorer States into the Mainstream” organised by ASLI & YKSM at Crown Princess Hotel, Kuala Lumpur, 13 July 2006.

2 Malaysia has since independence embarked on regional development as part of the overall strategy of national development. Regional development approach in the main has been top-down Federal Govt’s Perspective Plans & 5-year plans -- allocating budget Ministries – National & Regional Development; Agriculture; regional agencies to oversee regional development

3 State govts identify areas & projects District officers provide info & input Also input from party organisations & community leaders Communities are targets, not actors/participants of develoment planning & process

4 Main Mechanisms – regional development authorities, e.g. - MADA in Kedah - KETENGAH in Terengganu - KESEDAR in Kelantan - Other agencies – Felda, Felcra & RISDA are in some ways have also been involved in regional development Other mechanisms - 10 Skim Pembangunan Kesejahteraan Rakyat (SPKR) - State-based Yayasan Basmi Kemiskinan (YBK)

5 What is the score card? Effective in specific cases: - Overall poverty reduced from 50% in 1970 to about 5.7% today - Job creation - Modernisation of rural areas: schools, roads, health, piped water, electricity, phones

6 But balanced development between regions, between income groups & between ethnic groups not achieved Uneven benefits -- poorer states not able to catch up with more developed states. Investment esp. FDI concentrated in developed states Regional disparity thus still very pronounced. It not only has regional dimension, but also ethnic dimension. In short, poorer states not in mainstream development

7 Evidence?

8 Malaysia: Incidence of Poverty – Regional Comparison, 2004 Hsehld size Poverty incidence (%) Hard core poverty (%) P. Pinang <0.05 Selangor <0.05 N. Sembilan Kuala Lumpur Johor Perak Sabah Terengganu Kelantan Sarawak Kedah Perlis (2005 methodology) Source: Ninth Malaysia Plan ( ), p. 329

9 Why? Complex of factors: capital, politics, culture, development planning & implementation, etc.. For this purpose, our focus is on approach. Are there other approaches? - One possible approach: “Bottoms up participatory development”

10 What is participatory development? Catchphrase in development studies & in policy & planning esp. in last two decades Views from international agencies:

11 1. The Peasants’ Charter, UN Food & Agriculture Oganisation (FAO): -People’s participation in institutions & systems that govern their lives is basic human right - Rural development strategies can realise full potential only through motivation, active involvement & organisation at grass roots level of rural people - Special emphasis on the least advantaged to be involved in: - conceptualising & designing policies & programmes; - creating administrative, social and economic institutions including cooperative and other voluntary forms of organisation for implementing and evaluating them

12 2. - United Nations Research Institute for Social Development (UNRISD) Participation involves organised efforts to increase control over resources and regulative institutions in given social situations, on the part of groups and movements of those hitherto excluded from such control

13 Participation: Both - a means to an end (development) - also end of development Why?

14 Importance of participation Human-centred development Essential for human growth – development of self- confidence, pride, initiative, creativity, responsibility, cooperation, People learn to take charge of own lives & solve their own problems; sense of ownership. Learning by doing –> conscientisation -> self- transformation -> release of creative energies, enthusiasm.

15 Benefits of participation: Increased income & standard of living thru own efforts (economic) Political - Empowerment Unity, bonding, cooperation (enhancement of social capital) Sense of fulfillment & happiness There’ll be mistakes, even setbacks; but people learn thru own experience (learning curve).

16 Example of participatory development in Malaysia: Amanah Ikhtiar Malaysia (AIM) - Idea based on Grameen Bank, Bangladesh - AIM formed in 1987; focus on rural poor - Informal, participants called “sahabat”; - self-reliance; provision of interest-free micro- credit to start small business.

17 Today: AIM has 69 branches & 3962 service centres throughout Malaysia - Provides micro-credit: RM1.02 b ,544 “sahabat” or participants (mostly female & single mothers in rural areas) - Close monitoring by AIM - Project successful; loan repaid; out of poverty; small business viable

18 Important role of - Development agencies - Development workers - NGOs as partners Golden rule: Don’t do anything for people that they can do for themselves

19 Limitations of bottoms up participatory approach: -Small scale, micro; outreach limited -Has difficulties operating in diverse conditions; requires certain degree of homogeneity -But communities not necessarily homogeneous, sometimes divided along political, ethnic, religious lines, sometimes divisive. Distrust -Differences can be used as obstacle to build trust. This is esp true of poorer states in Malaysia

20 -But problems not insurmountable -Participation complements, not alternative. Not polar opposite of top-down development (i.e. development planned from the centre) -But top-down approach & state planning must more & more take cognizance of importance of participation -Must allow people to participate, shouldn’t be influenced by political, ethnic & bureaucratic considerations

21 THANK YOU!


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