Posts Tagged ‘Endogenous development in Africa’

Steve Brescia, Groundswell’s International Coordinator, recently returned from a three-week trip to Burkina Faso, Ghana and Mali. He visited our programs there and met with key local partners and many West African farmers. This slide show captures some of what he learned.

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Methodological Guide to Strengthening Endogenous Development in Africa

Methodological Guide to Strengthening Endogenous Development in Africa

Rural communities in developing countries of Africa, Asia and Latin America have pursued their local processes of development and survived, indeed often thrived, since time immemorial. They achieved this without the advice of outside experts and without depending on major flows of external inputs.  Rural people acquired sophisticated indigenous knowledge and created vibrant cultures. Over centuries, these cultures have been dynamic, subject to continuous change. There is ample evidence that rural people are capable of leading and managing their own community development. They are highly effective problem-solvers and effective social organizers. Their very cultural survival in challenging environments and circumstances demonstrates the ability of rural people for “endogenous development”.

Endogenous Development can be understood as localized change that is essentially initiated from within communities, and that mobilizes and harnesses local resources. The benefits of this change is retained within the locality. Endogenous development consists of a set of collective capacities to undertake local initiatives that are determined, led, and controlled by local people and communities, to improve well-being. It draws from both internal and external resourcesand is based on local peoples’ own criteria of development. It takes into account not just the material, but also the social, cultural and spiritual well-being of peoples.

The ability of communities to undertake endogenous development, while still resilient, has been greatly undermined in recent decades. While capacity for endogenous development is present at some level in all communities, there is overwhelming evidence that the power of initiative, and overall local capacity of communities for endogenous development, (and control their food system) has been in steep decline.

Groundswell’s aim is to contribute to a wider social movement that will reverse this decline.  Groundswell’ vision is to contribute to a world where communities learn from and support each other locally and globally and strengthen their capacity for “endogenous development”. This entails revitalizing the often latent capacity of communities to take action to protect their rights and resources, build local economies that generate physical, spiritual and environmental wellbeing for all, and to have a voice in decisions that impact their lives.

Endogenous development or “development from within” does not mean that local communities are isolated from the outside world and the opportunities that may be available there. It also entails people drawing knowledge (and resources) from external sources, but only when it supports local knowledge, institutions, initiatives, priorities, culture and worldview.

Drawing from Groundswell’s own program and staff experience, and also from the practical field work of an Africa wide network called COMPAS (Comparing and Supporting Endogenous Development), Groundswell recently led a process to develop a methodological guide for promoting endogenous development. This guide synthesizes the compatible methods and experience of a diversity of like-minded organisations, throughout Africa, into a consolidated systematic framework.

Designed for field workers, this methodological guide presents a comprehensive understanding of what endogenous development is, how it is currently being undermined in many contexts, how it is different than “participatory development”, and what the implications are for external agencies interested in supporting communities to develop lasting solutions to improve their well being.

This methodological guide outlines a 5 stage process to strengthen endogenous development. It describes strategies, methods, tools, and the lessons of good practice for each stage. Taken together, this guide enables a field worker to systematically and progressively strengthen the capacity of communities to plan and implement their own initiatives, taking into account not just the economic aspects of well being, but also the inter-related gender, social, environmental, cultural and spiritual dimensions.

A key part of the guide is to help field staff and NGOs critically examine how their project cycle, funding requirements, and personal attitudes affect how they work with communities, particularly their ability to build on indigenous knowledge, local world views and cultural values, and local assets.   The guide enables field staff to assess whether their interventions enhance, (rather than unintentionally undermine) endogenous capacity, local institutions, and initiative.

In a rapidly globalizing world, in which the responses to the recent food crisis threatens to further undermine endogenous development, and the ability of rural people to retain control of their seeds and local food systems, this practical methodological guide developed by Groundswell International and its COMPAS partners is relevant and a valuable resource.

Read the full Methodological Guide to Strengthening Endogenous Development.

– Peter Gubbels, Groundswell Co-Coordinator for West Africa

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