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Developing Countries: Rural Areas

Volume 458: debated on Thursday 22 March 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development how much he has allocated to rural livelihoods in developing countries for 2007-08; and if he will make a statement. (128472)

DFID’s budget for 2007-08 does not make a separate allocation for rural livelihoods. However, in its recent study on tackling poverty in rural areas, the National Audit Office noted DFID’s estimate that two-thirds of its bilateral spending directly benefits the rural poor.

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development which local communities his Department has consulted on the design and operation of country programmes to reach the rural poor. (128792)

DFID does not maintain central records of our interaction with rural communities in developing countries. But we are committed to broad country ownership of national development plans and policy making. This includes poor and excluded communities. In many countries we encourage and support mechanisms that enable poor men and women to have a say in national and local planning and to monitor the services that government are providing.

In Ghana, for example, we are supporting the disability movement so that they can influence national poverty reduction plans and budget decisions. In Uganda, the Kabarole Research Centre, with DFID support, monitors the quality of government service provision in rural areas and feeds that information back to local government.

In Tanzania, in the development of poverty reduction plans for the mainland and Zanzibar, we supported consultations with rural communities, including vulnerable groups such as the elderly, on policies to improve service delivery in rural areas. Now, through a grant-making foundation, we are building the capacity of rural organisations such as ageing and disability groups to monitor the quality of service provision. We are funding a ‘Views of the People’ survey through the Government’s poverty monitoring system that will shed light on rural people’s views of government performance in tackling rural poverty.

In Nepal, the rural roads programme involves structured consultation with communities to ensure that the needs of everyone—rather than just a vocal few—are taken into account. Communities also identify the poorest families amongst them to take part in road construction. Similarly in Ghana, the Department of Feeder Roads uses a road prioritisation methodology that gives rural communities an opportunity to identify and prioritise their need for rural roads. This approach, developed with DFID support, is being adopted in Ghana to prioritise funding from other development agencies.

In Ethiopia, numerous rural communities from 286 districts were consulted on implementation of the productive safety nets programme. Communities helped identify people who would be eligible for assistance as well as public works programmes that they would engage in.

And in India, the design team for phase 2 of the Madhya Pradesh Rural Livelihoods Project has consulted communities and field staff who work with them about the effectiveness and impact of the first phase.