UON-Self Help and Rural Devt in Kenya Discussion Paper 1976

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Institute for Development Studies
The Special Rural Development Programme (S.R.D.P.) in Kenya was established with the intention of finding ways to improve the effectiveness of programmes designed to raise rural living standards. Descriptions and evaluations of the Programme are available from a variety of sources (e.g. 4; 13; 14; 17) and there is no need to give a detailed account here of the S.R.D.P. as a whole. The Programme is supposed to operate on the principles of experimentation, replicability and the maximum use of existing resources. As pointed out in the first I.D.S. evaluation of the S.R.D.P. (4), a fourth principle, that of research and evaluation, is implicit in the first three, if they are to be put in practice. Briefly, experimentation refers to the need to test the feasibility and effectiveness of novel development strategies in comparison with usual approaches. Thus, to start a livestock development project in an area is not in itself experimental, but to do so with credit arrangements or extension techniques different from those which normally apply, and to follow up the effects of such innovation, can be deemed experimental. Replicability simply means that S.R.D.P. projects, although initiated in only a few relatively small 'pilot' areas, should be carried out with a view towards their potential for duplication in other suitable parts of the country. Therefore, a project which depends on highly specialised -- and hence not readily available on a large scale -- technical expertise would not be replicable (unless only the experimental aspect requires this expertise). On the other hand, a project whose requirements, in terms of labour, capital equipment and so on, would easily be available elsewhere would be appropriate in terms of its replicability. The third principle, making maximum use of existing resources, is really an extension of the replicability principle, highlighting as it does the importance of using what is readily available and avoiding excessive dependence upon external technical or material assistance. As stated in the 1970-1974 Development Plan, the Programme "is to utilize existing resources of staff and finance as far as possible, and to seek external assistance to support what will, in effect, be a large scale self-help effort".